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  • Mary Kay

Not your average Fruitcake - It's Bourbon-Soaked!

It. Is. De. Licious! This is definitely NOT your average fruitcake.

First off, the dried fruit is bourbon soaked for 48 hours before you even begin to make and bake the cake. Then the cake itself is brushed again and again with bourbon over the next two weeks. It. Is. De. Licious!

Plus, it features only your favorite nuts and dried fruit. If you don’t like citrus fruit, don’t put them in. If you LOVE cherries, make it an all-cherries fruitcake.

And, you control the spices, amounts and types.

If you love a mixture of dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries and golden raisins go ahead and follow my recipe. And, it you need to have chocolate in all your desserts, there’s no reason you cannot add chips here. This fruitcake is made to be your kind of deliciousness!

No, this is not Gram’s or Mom’s fruitcake recipe. They never soaked theirs in bourbon, brandy, rum or any other alcohol. Maybe I would have liked theirs better if they had. This recipe is actually a combination of their recipes and a number of tweaks…to include just the dried fruit I enjoy and to include bourbon in key areas of the process.

This is a fruitcake that will fill your kitchen with wonderful aromas as it bakes. It smells like a cross between gingerbread and a spice cake. It’s an aroma that makes me feel soft and cozy all over, especially when the weather outside has gotten so chilly.

Prep your soaked dried fruit 48 hours ahead of time:

- You’ll need to soak your fruit for 48 hours, so plan ahead a little to make this your favorite fruitcake. I add a little extra fruit for soaking so I can taste test it as everything soaks.

- Choose the fruit you enjoy. I’ve included a cup and half of mixed dried fruit – golden raisins, cranberries, cherries and blueberries. I don’t care for dried citrus fruit so I never add it. If you like dried citrus, apricot, mango, etc., go ahead and include in your cup and half of dried fruit mix. Make it your own flavors.

Nuts to the choices, quantities and flavors:

- If you feel you would like more dried fruit and/or dried nuts, go ahead and add a bit more. Just don’t add so much that the batter doesn’t stick together.

- I personally love pecans, so that’s the only nut I include. If you like others, go ahead and add or substitute your favorite – macadamia, walnuts, almonds, mixed nuts, etc.

- If you like macadamia nuts, maybe you want to include dried citrus and pineapple pieces. And, maybe substitute rum for the bourbon.

Spice it up?

- I don’t like my fruitcake too spicy, so I only have small amounts of nutmeg and cinnamon. If you like it quite a bit spicier, go ahead and add more spices such as cloves, red pepper flakes, allspice and others. Just add quarter teaspoons of each, stir in and taste.

- After you’ve stirred the batter, taste and add more if you like it super spicy.

Prep your 8-10 Cup Bundt pan:

- Before you prepare your batter, prep your pan by generously spreading soft butter all over the inside of the Bundt pan. Make sure you have all the crooks and crannies covered.

- Then sift flour all over the inside of the pan. Shake it around so the flour covers all the butter in the middle and on the sides.

- Turn the pan upside down and tap out any excess. This is the time for you to examine the job you did inside the pan. If there are any spots without any butter and flour, now you can add a little butter and flour to those areas. If you don’t, you could have a problem when you turn the pan

upside down to release the fruitcake. Any spots absent of butter and flour could allow the fruitcake to stick to the pan, breaking portions of the cake apart when you pop it out.

(I usually tap the upside-down pan against the heel of my hand allowing the excess flour to go into the trash can. I hate to tap it into the sink since it can create a problem if there’s too much flour going down the drain. I live in the country with our own private system, so I’m acutely aware of what not to put down the drain.)

- If you don’t have a Bundt pan, it’s just fine to use a tubular pan. Prepare it as you would the Bundt pan.

Preheat your oven to 275F degrees, a few minutes before you’re ready to bake. Yes, only 275F.

Gather up your Ingredients for the soaked dried fruit:

1 C Bourbon (don’t skimp on quality)

12 oz mixed dried fruit, golden raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries

Gather up your fruitcake batter Ingredients:

12 T Butter, softened

1 C Sugar

3 Egg yolks

3 Egg whites

1 C Brown sugar

1 t Nutmeg

1 t Cinnamon

½ t Baking powder

¾ C Pecans, rough chopped

Gather brushing Ingredients:

½ C Bourbon, or more

¼ C Maraschino cherry juice or liqueur

Gather up the wrapping materials:

¼-½ C Bourbon (for soaking the cheesecloth)


Plastic wrap

Aluminum foil

Soak the dried fruit for 48 hours before mixing the fruitcake batter:

- In a medium bowl, mix up your dried fruit and pour the bourbon over all.

- Cover with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature.

- Every 12 or so hours I like to taste a little to see how it’s progressing.

- At the end of the 48 hours and when you’re ready to begin mixing your batter, drain the bourbon off the fruit and set both aside.

- The bourbon will be reserved to add to the batter alternately with the flour.

Mix up your fruitcake batter:

- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, spices and baking powder together and set aside.

- In a separate bowl, beat and cream the soft butter and white sugar. Set aside.

- In another bowl, cream the egg yolks and brown sugar, beating until very light in color.

- Combine the two sugar mixtures in a larger bowl and blend well.

- Alternately add the flour mixture and reserved bourbon (from draining the fruit), in 2-3 stages, to the sugar mixture.

- Fold in the soaked/drained fruit.

- Add the nuts and fold in.

- In a separate clean medium sized bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry.

`This is definitely NOT your average fruitcake Carefully and evenly distribute the mixtures. You don't want to break the eggs, so slowly and carefully fold it in so it's well distributed. `

- Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake and cool:

- Bake on the bottom of the preheated pan for 4-5 hours. It might even take longer than 5 hours. (This is a good time to take a break, read a book or even sip on some bourbon with a good friend. NOTE: Mom never did this when she made fruitcake – she probably did some extra cleaning.)

- Check for doneness with the clean toothpick test. If after you stick a toothpick in the cake and pull it out clean, the cake is done. I usually first check it at the 3.5 hours mark.

- Allow the fruitcake to cool in the pan on a rack in for 15 minutes.

- Turn it out, upside down on a platter and let cool.

Brush it up and wrap it up for aging:

- Soak the cheesecake in a bowl of bourbon just until completely coated.

- When the fruitcake is almost cooled, brush it all over with the final half cup of bourbon using a pastry brush. Make sure the sides of the inside hole of the Bundt cake are also well brushed.

- Wrap the cake entirely with the bourbon-soaked cheesecloth.

- Wrap it again, tightly with plastic wrap.

- Refrigerate the fruitcake overnight.

- Unwrap the cake and brush again with bourbon.

- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil.

- Release the wrappers every 1-2 weeks and brush all over again with bourbon.

- Store at least two weeks in a cool, dry place. I leave it up in a cupboard where it won’t be bothered, but it’s easy for me to check on it.

Decorate it and enjoy!

- Before serving, place the fruitcake on your serving platter and decorate, with many options available.

- Using red cherry halves and green sprigs of herbs, decorate the top of the cake with a holiday flair.

- Surround the bottom of the fruitcake with unsoaked dried fruit or red maraschino cherries to help identify what’s inside the cake.

- Or, pipe (with frosting) red holly berries and green holly leaves on top of the fruitcake. Match the bottom with more frosting piped holly berries and leaves around the bottom of the cake.

- Serve with bourbon flavored homemade whipped cream or ice cream.

This is a fun fruitcake to make, especially since you’re adding the nuts and dried fruit you enjoy the most. Whatever items you add to your fruitcake, “Bake your own Memories!”

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