It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

While we’re not doing the mega-baking of years past, I do have to make a few things for the holidays – and fruitcake is really one of my favorites.

I know..  I know…  Fruitcake has a really bad rap.  Many moons ago I started making an Apricot and Macadamia Nut Fruitcake just to ease folks back into the mood.  The past couple of years I’ve abandoned all pretense and have gone for the real McCoy.

This year I made one fruitcake.  Just one.  And as soon as it is completely cooled it’s going down into the basement until Christmas.

It’s an easy cake to make – and well worth the cost of ingredients.

While there are often very traditional dried fruits used.  I chose what we had in the house already.  8 cups or so of dried and candied fruit and a hefty cup of nuts.

Mix ’em up.

Christmas Fruit Cake

  • 2 cups mixed diced glacéed fruits
  • 3 cups golden raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 3/4 cup rum
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped assorted nuts
  • 1/4 cup peach jam mixed with 1 tbsp rum

In a large bowl combine all of the fruits with the rum and let macerate overnight.

Line the bottom of a well-buttered 9 1/2-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper and butter the paper. Into a small bowl sift together the flour, the baking powder, and the spices.

Cream together the butter and the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy and beat in 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Drain the fruit mixture well and mix the juices into the batter.

Stir the flour mixture into the batter, one fourth at a time, stir in the fruit mixture, the almond meal, and the nuts, stirring until the mixture is just combined, and turn the batter out into the prepared pan.

Put 2 loaf pans, each filled with hot water, in a preheated 300°F. oven and put the springform pan between them. Bake the cake for 1 hour, brush the top with the remaining egg, beaten lightly, and bake the cake for 1 hour more. While the cake is baking, in a saucepan melt the peach jam with the remaining 1 tablespoon rum over moderate heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and strain it through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids.

Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes.  Remove from pan. Brush the top of the cake with glaze.

The cake will keep, covered, for 6 months.