I started - as you may have seen last week - by getting out the recipe
|I got the recipe from a friend of mine in England - via her husband, who is on social media. The notes on it are hers.|
|I don't know that I've ever really known what currants are. These are them when they're dried. I'm still not sure what they are when they're just current currants.|
|Don't worry - I bought them pitted. I'm not that crazy.|
|Yes. Still glad I didn't buy the chopped ones.|
The following photo may look like a duplicate, but it is - in fact - a photo of raisins being chopped.
|How can I be so sure? I enlarged it to verify.|
Finally, I reached for the tower o' questionable fruits that has been in the basement pantry for a few years. One of the nice things about candied fruits is that they seem to have a shelf-life which is roughly the length of an ice age.
|Biggest problem: Figuring out which ones I wanted to use.|
|Yes, they also come in green. No, I didn't have any green ones that were "pre-chipped" - and the whole ones have their own use in Spritz cookie wreaths.|
|You know how you're only supposed to use the bright yellow zest, and not the white pith in most things? That rule apparently doesn't apply, here.|
|All done atop the scale, so I could make sure I was getting decent proportions.|
And what makes a fruitcake more festive than dousing it with booze? I have no idea!
|I recommend not prepping this recipe around open flames.|
Then, when you realize that you're missing an ingredient for your cake, into a Ziploc bag so you can put it in the fridge until you're ready to use it all...
|Some of the colors have definitely melted together since I started, which wasn't a big surprise considering how the entire bag seemed to have become a solid boozy fruity mass.|
Yep. We're finally to the point of using eggs!
First, the ingredients (with stunt-double dried and candied fruit, since the rest is already prepped):
|I mentioned the mixer in the video, but I ended up doing this all by hand - it just seemed easier.|
|In case you're wondering, yes, that's actually a 9-inch springform pan. The recipe calls for a "deep" pan, and that the smallest deep pan I have. (I probably should have just gone for a normal 8-inch. Live and learn.)|
|Butter by itself is kind of boring in a bowl.|
The sugar goes in with the butter (pretty standard baking procedure)...
And then the eggs go in. (I didn't pre-beat them, I just put them in one at a time.)
|I think the choice of "large" eggs was the right way to go.|
I was a little surprised that this only takes two tablespoons of Molasses (subbing in for the Black Treacle). But it did make the kind of anemic batter...
|Molasses - the sulfur-y, tangy, sweet smell - is a Holiday scent for me, because we really only use it in cookies we make this time of year.|
|Oops. You can see lumps of butter, now. Maybe I should have used the mixer...|
The first half of the flour and nuts and such went in quite quickly, followed by the - whew - pungent - boozy fruits.
|Remarkably, out of the bag, the fruits were back to being rather vibrant. Kind of makes me wish I'd had those green cherries, after all.|
|Could have left that spoon in there for days and it wouldn't have fallen over.|
...which got a nice Edwardian collar...
...then into the oven.
|I'd like to point out that this photo - though taken while the cake was still in the oven - was taken after the full cooking time had elapsed and the oven was turned off.|
|SO glad I'd done this in the springform! Yes, it's a bit wider and flatter than it would have been, but at least it came out with no issues.|
Somewhere in the midst of all of the evening's activity (probably about an hour into the cooking time, really), I started to notice how nice it smelled. As I peeled the paper back, I got another strong whiff of the spicy, fruity, boozy, Holiday-y aroma. It's a comforting smell, really. Even though I don't truly love fruitcake.
Next up: more Brandy, because something has to preserve this cake for the next 6 weeks.
|I just realized that this photo looks a little like Neil Armstrong on the moon. Or maybe Matt Damon on Mars.|
|You can actually see the darker areas where it has been drizzled upon.|
Yes, I changed clothes between videos. After all, it was past my bedtime by this point!
I think I already warned you that this isn't being seriously cut into until... well... Christmas. So we'll be checking back in on it in a few weeks. (Question for those who've made these before: Do I really have to do almond paste and fondant and things on top of it?)
What food is the perfect ingredient in your Holidays? Is it something you want me to try out on the blog? Let me know what you're looking for, and I'll see what I can do! (Assuming, of course, that I don't keep misplacing ingredients...)