Monday, December 8, 2014
English Dried Fruitcake
"We have fruitcake!" heralded the text to my kids scattered hither and yon. Rose is solely responsible for converting my offspring to the wonders of fruitcake ever since Heavenly Cakes and they consider it a holiday requisite. This new old English fruitcake was literally a piece of cake to put together. Middle granddaughter who was almost four in this picture and is now eight years old, wants to bake along with me again. This was the perfect recipe for a child to really get into, save for the apple peeling and chopping, and possibly the rum but as I remember, Mary Poppins was quite fond of rum!
Trader Joe's had a dried fruit mix package of cranberries, blueberries, golden raisins and cherries. Sounded good to me and it is, but next time I may add more fruit and shred the apples plus up the cinnamon. I loved the flavor of this cake, just want it to sing falalalala a little bit louder.
So first off, according to granddaughter, was for her and I to don an apron. Sad to say the beloved Disney Princesses apron was demoted and she unearthed one of my grandmother's. I have a picture somewhere of her father standing on a stool stirring up something with his great grandmother who was probably wearing this very apron. We then got the ingredients mise en place, including German high fat butter which was a surprise find at the local grocery store and of course had a bit of a taste test. The slight tang didn't meet with her approval but I assured her butterfat is the name of the game in baking.
Introducing a child to the kitchen scale was loads of fun, more so for her than me. It has been awhile and wrapping my brain around a scale again took some effort. She caught on quickly and cheered excitedly when the exact measurement was scored like a soccer goal. I cracked one egg, she cracked five. I got shells in mine. She didn't and proceeded to reveal her secret for cracking eggs. Finally the batter went into the cake pans without cake strips because I forgot to call around to see who had cake strips. Off to the Google and found out foil over wet paper towels was acceptable in a pinch. So that's what we did. Into the oven it went and then came the best part....she brought her spa supplies to give me a pedicure and manicure, complete with eye mask and my choice of Hello Kitty nail polish. I chose hot pink, just in case you were wondering. And let me tell you, there is nothing more heavenly than getting a foot, hand and face massage while waiting for the timer to ring with cinnamon apple pecan aromatherapy. .
Since we baked them in two round pans, I let her paint one with rum. Patience is not a virtue when it comes to cake and we "had" to cut into the other. It was dry, it definitely needs the twenty-four hours to meld together, the apples giving the cake moisture. Still, it was good but much better today. But it didn't matter to her, she loved it. She declined to take any home out of consideration for her little sister who is seriously dairy intolerant and her mother is gluten free. The fun for her was in the baking and she even brought her camera to photograph the finished product. Her father, however, was not to be denied and will be back post haste for the rum laden fruitcake.