Let Them Eat Fruitcake!
I have been flooded with email requests for my fruitcake recipe after my article printed today in The Tennessean. I’m just thrilled that so many people continue to be fans of this traditional holiday food. Here is the recipe I use every year. Mine has been sitting in a piece of cheesecloth soaked in cherry brandy for a month. I’m cutting the first piece this weekend and I can hardly wait! Cheers and Merry Christmas to you all!
Note: If you can’t find candied citron, substitute candied pineapple.
Yield: 1 cake
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure lemon extract
7 eggs, separated
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1-1/2 pounds diced yellow, green and red candied pineapple (about 3 cups)
1 pound red and green candied cherries (about 2 cups)
1/ 2 pound golden raisins (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 pound diced candied citron (about 1/2 cup)
3 cups pecan halves
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Additional candied fruit and nuts for garnish
1/2 cup brandy plus more for soaking, divided
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Heavily grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy at medium speed. Gradually add the sugar, beating well. Stir in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Beat the egg yolks and alternately add the yolks to the butter mixture with 3 cups of the flour. Mix at low speed after each addition until well blended.
Combine the candied pineapple, candied cherries, raisins, citron, pecans, and walnuts with the remaining flour. Toss gently to coat well. Stir into the batter.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange additional candied fruit and nuts on top of the batter. Cover the pan with a 10-inch piece of brown paper or parchment paper that has been lightly greased. Place the greased side down.
Bake for 4 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Take off the paper cover and slowly pour 1/ 4 cup of the brandy evenly over the cake. Cool completely on a wire rack. Loosen the cake from the pan and invert onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper and invert again onto a wire rack. Wrap the cake in a piece of cheesecloth soaked with the remaining brandy. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Pour a small amount of brandy evenly over the cake each week for at least a month.