No scary fluorescent-colored candied cherries for me! I prefer this fruitcake, made with real dried fruit and nuts. It's reminiscent of a holiday cake that someone's Eastern European grandma might make, with flavors that only improve with time. The cake keeps in the fridge for two weeks, and can be frozen for several months. Inspired by a cake from Susan Purdy's "A Piece of Cake." —Windischgirl
8 mini loaves or about 3 standard loaves
Fruit-Nut Mixture--make in advance
mixed unsalted nuts; I prefer almonds, filberts, and walnuts
Turkish apricots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups
Dried fruits, including raisins, golden raisins, currants, prunes, pears, or apples are lovely, all cut into raisin size
In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine nuts, dried fruits, wine, and juice. Stir well, cover, and store at room temperature for at least 2 days, stirring occasionally.
Batter--Make on Baking Day
Grease and flour the mini loaf pans and set aside; preheat oven to 325F. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spices; stir in the wheat germ or flax meal and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and doubled in volume. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla.
Add in the flour mixture, a half cup at a time, until evenly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Batter will be stiff. Stir in the shredded apple and applesauce and mix well.
Remove the mixing bowl from the stand, and using a wooden spoon, stir in the marinated fruits and nuts, along with their accumulated liquid. Blend well to make a thick batter. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake...start testing for doneness at 40 minutes, but it may take 75 minutes or longer for the loaves to be baked through. Cool pans on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove cake from pans and allow to cool completely on racks. Wrap well in plastic before storing.