This fruitcake, more like a steamed pudding, is a winner with its moist crumb and intense fruit flavor. It is my husband Guy’s favorite. Make it in miniature for gift giving, or use a pretty, old-fashioned baking mold. It is necessary to make this fruitcake at least a couple of months ahead of time to allow for proper aging.
½ cup butter, plus more for greasing pans
1¼ cups sifted, unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1 16-ounce can frozen orange juice, thawed
½ cup molasses
3 cups raisins
2 cups mixed, diced candied orange and lemon rind
2/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
Port wine as needed
- Preheat the oven to 275ºF. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside. Combine the orange juice, molasses and raisins in a saucepan. Cook until the mixture begins to boil; simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the candied rinds and set aside off the heat.
- In a bowl, cream ½ cup butter, the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
- On to a piece of wax paper, sift together the 1¼ cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Transfer to the bowl with the butter mixture. Mix well. Stir in the orange juice and molasses mixture. Stir in the nuts.
- Pour the batter into the tube pan, and bake for 2—2¼ hours or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely. Loosen the cake from around the inside edges with a butter knife; invert the pan and remove the cake. Wrap the cake in cheesecloth and place it on a dish.
- Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 cup of port wine. Spray the cheesecloth with the wine; being sure to spray all around the cake. Wrap the cake in aluminum foil, and place it in a deep cookie tin or plastic container. Cover and keep the cake in a cool, dark place; every two weeks, open up the tin, open the foil and re-spray the cheesecloth with the wine. Refold cheesecloth and the aluminum foil over the cake and replace it in its container.
- After a couple of months, the cake is ready. Cut into small slices for serving.
Variation: Make the cake in mini-versions using muffin tins or small loaf pans; follow the same procedure for aging and storing. The baking time will vary depending on the size of the molds used. Use a toothpick inserted into the middle to test for doneness. A 4-ounce mold will need at least 25 minutes to bake.