(Isn't this photo AMAZING? By Sala Kannan for Life of Spice)
I have this thing about fruitcakes. I hate them. I mean really truly hate them: the ones I am talking about are the ones that I find in Indian grocery stores that have things in them that, I swear, would glow in the dark. They have small green, red, yellow things in there that look like jello gone bad. And then there is the the smell. Okay, you get the idea.
I was reading the fab essay collection Fits, Starts and Matters of the heart ( and I want to mention that it does feature my essay on my own obsession with Nutella) and I came across an essay and a recipe for fruitcake by author Lisa Harris. I read it. Hmm.. Read it again. Raisins? Cherries? Cranberries. I wanted to make it. As it baked, I wondered if it would be a good cake or like the ones I dread.
Happy to report that the cake is awesome. I made it without the port for the kids and they loved it. This is THE fruitcake for people who hate fruitcakes! A perfect homemade gift for the holidays (and after for yourself!)
Lisa Harris’s Fruit Cake
As featured in Fits, Starts and Matters of the Heart.
(printed with permission from the author)
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup (1/4 lb) butter at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Fruits and nut mixture:
1 cup currents
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dried blueberries
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried Bing cherries
½ cup unsalted pistachio pieces
½ cup pecan pieces
About ½ cups good quality Port
In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter with a mixer until well blended, beat
in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mace,
and cloves. Add to egg mixture; stir, beat to blend. Stir in fruit and nut
Spoon batter equally into 6 greased 2½ -by 4-inch individual loaf pan OR 1
regular sized loaf pan. Spread batter evenly and smooth top.
Bake at 300° oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and
cakes are firm when lightly pressed in center, 45 to 60 minutes for small
pans, longer for regular sized loaf pan (1 ½ hours). Cool in pans on a rack
for 10 minutes, invert onto rack to cool completely.
Set the cakes in a single layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or pan, or
set each cake on a rectangle of foil large enough to seal the cake airtight.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of Port onto each cake slowly enough to let it seep in.
Repeat until the cake is saturated. Wrap each cake airtight in foil.
Store at room temperature at least 8 hours or up to 2 weeks; freeze and
store up to 2 months.
Makes 6 mini loaves OR 1 regular size loaf.