A modern twist on the traditional holiday confection, this recipe uses a mixture of dried fruits instead of the standard candied and glaceed fruits. Not only are dried fruits more readily available at your local market, but they also have a deeper and more natural flavor (not as sweet). Ground almonds help keep the cake moist during the long baking time, so you don’t have to keep soaking it afterwards.
- Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing
- 3/4 cup currants
- 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1/4 pound, or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 6-inch round cake pan with butter, line with parchment (a 6-inch round on the bottom, plus a collar at least 4 inches high to cover the sides), and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, combine currants, dates, apricots, and cherries. In a small saucepan, warm brandy gently over low heat.
- Add to fruit mixture and stir to coat. Let mixture cool slightly, about 10 or 15 minutes. In a clean medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In the large bowl of a standing or electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and citrus zests on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
- Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three parts, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in fruit mixture by hand, and scrape batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake 1-½ to 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool on wire rack until room temperature, about 3 hours, and serve.
YIELD: one 6-inch cake
PREPARATION TIME: 45 minutes
START TO FINISH TIME: 3 hours