Dark Christmas Cake
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 month
Makes: 6 cakes, each 14 slices
For a nostalgic holiday throwback, add this boozy fruitcake to your must-bake list. It’s a super make-ahead dessert.
2 cups dried currants
2 cups candied mixed peel
1½ cups coarsely chopped candied pineapple
1½ cups red glacé cherries, halved
1½ cups seeded Muscat raisins or lexia raisins 1 cup amber or dark rum or brandy
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp each ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg pinch salt
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup strawberry jam
2 tbsp fancy molasses
1½ cups chopped walnut halves
In large bowl, combine currants, mixed peel, pineapple, cherries, raisins and
¾ cup of the rum; cover and let stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. In bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; toss ½ cup into currant mixture. In separate bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, jam and molasses until fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in remaining flour mixture in 1 addition just until combined. Stir in currant mixture and walnuts. Scrape into 13- x 9-inch (3.5 L) double-thickness parchment paper– lined cake pan, smoothing top.
Set shallow pan on bottom rack of 300°F oven; pour in enough water to come halfway up sides. Bake cake on centre rack for 1 hour. Lay foil loosely over cake; bake until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean but a little sticky, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Remove cake from pan; peel off parchment paper. Soak double-thickness 16-inch square of cheesecloth in remaining rum; wrap around cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and overwrap in foil. Refrigerate for 1 month. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 months.) Cut crosswise into 6 bars.
PER SLICE: about 113 cal, 1 g pro, 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 20 g carb (1 g dietary fibre), 16 mg chol, 40 mg sodium. % RDI : 2% calcium, 4% iron, 2% vit A, 7% vit C, 4% folate.