FRESH LAYERED CHRISTMAS FRUITCAKE WITH RUM ICING
Don’t worry if you didn’t start fruitcake-making in July. The solution is to enjoy all those dried and candied fruit flavours in a Dundee fruitcake. It seemed fitting to use my Glaswegian Grandma Jarvie’s traditional batter for this nostalgia-dessert-themed recipe. It’s a cake that can be enjoyed any time of the year (and is rumoured to be a favourite of the Queen). To make it celebration-worthy I’ve frosted it with a rum-laced icing. Easily decorate it by leaving the cake sides exposed—it’s trendy and Grandma Jarvie would have approved of the fuss-free technique.
3½ cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour
1 pkg (100 g) ground almonds
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
2 tsp (10 mL) freshly grated lemon zest 1½ cups (375 mL) unsalted butter, softened 1½ cups (375 mL) lightly packed brown sugar 6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature 3 to 6 tbsp (45 to 90 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) each dried currants, raisins and chopped candied citrus peel
½ cup (125 mL) chopped glacé or candied fruit mix
1 pkg (100 g) slivered almonds
1 block (250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups (375 mL) sifted icing sugar 2 tbsp (30 mL) dark rum
1 tsp (5 mL) rum extract
Fresh fruit such as currants or raspberries and/or cinnamon sticks
1 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease three 8 or 9-inch (20 or 23-cm) cake pans.
2 Whisk flour with ground almonds and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk in lemon zest.
3 Using a stand or hand-held electric mixer, cream butter and sugar in a very large bowl. Then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Fold in flour mixture until almost mixed. Beat in enough milk to loosen batter, although it should still be thick. Beat just until mixed. Fold in currants, raisins, candied peel, glacé fruit and slivered almonds.
4 Spoon into prepared cake pans. Smooth tops as best you can. Bake in centre of preheated oven until deep golden, about 55 minutes. Remove to racks. Let cool 10 minutes. Turn onto racks and cool completely.
5 Meanwhile, prepare icing. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with butter in a large bowl over low until evenly mixed. Slowly add icing sugar until evenly mixed, scraping down sides as needed. You may need to continue beating on medium speed until smooth. Beat in rum and rum extract. Refrigerate to firm up a bit.
6 When cakes are completely cool, set 1 cake on a cake plate or serving dish. Dollop with just enough frosting to cover with a thin layer. Evenly spread to the edge. Continue with remaining cakes and frosting, spreading a thin layer around outside of cake for “naked” cake look.
7 Refrigerate for at least an hour to set icing. If making ahead, cake will keep well for at least a day or 2 in the fridge.
8 Decorate with fresh fruit and/or cinnamon sticks and dust with icing sugar. Slice just before serving. Makes 12 to 16 servings