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Author Notes: The first time I had fruitcake that was actually delicious, it knocked my socks off because it is everything fruitcake is not supposed to be: moist, flavorful, not too sweet and just the right amount of booze. This is that recipe. —Samantha Ardry
Makes 1 - 9 x 13" pan (cut into 12 squares)
For the fruit
- 4 ounces golden raisins
- 4 ounces currants
- 4 ounces pecans, toasted and chopped
- 3 ounces candied ginger, chopped
- 3 ounces dried apricots, chopped
- 3 ounces dried sour cherries
- 2 fl ounces bourbon, good quality
- Add all of the dried fruit, nuts and candied ginger in a bowl. Pour alcohol over mixture and stir to combine. Cover and let macerate for 24 hours.
For the cake
- 10 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 10 ounces granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ounce corn syrup, brown rice syrup or honey
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
- zest of 1 small lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 ounces bread flour
- 6 ounces cake flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 fl ounces bourbon, for the soak
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9 x 13" cake pan. Cream butter and sugar with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about three minutes. At medium low speed, add eggs one at a time. Add the syrup, bourbon, almond extract, lemon zest and juice; beat for one minute until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour to batter; mix until just combined. Gently fold in the macerated fruit.
- Pour the cake batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake on center rack for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or when a tester comes out nearly clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- For the soak, either put the alcohol in a spray bottle and spritz cakes, or use a pastry brush to apply the alcohol. Over the course of a few hours or up to two days, gradually apply the bourbon to the cake, making sure the liquid doesn’t pool. Between soakings, keep the cake covered in a container or seal it in a bag. Leave the cake in the pan for convenience. Please note, you don't have to add an entire cup of bourbon to the cake, but it really does help lock in moisture.
- After the cake has absorbed all of the bourbon, make a simple glaze if desired by whisking together 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 tsp almond extract. Pour over the cake, let it harden and then cut the cake into 12 squares.