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Twenty-First Century Canadian Christmas Cake

[with absolutely no candied fruit!!] Makes one 10.5-in circular cake
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season

Ingredients

Cake

  • 4 c dried fruit [we used currants cherries, chopped dried mission figs, and blueberries]
  • 1 c Canadian Whiskey [or brandy sherry or rum] plus more for "maturing" the cake
  • zest 2 oranges [or lemons]
  • 1 c strained orange juice [we used 3 oranges or substitute apple cider]
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c maple syrup [or more brown sugar]
  • 1 1/4 c butter room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour [or nut-flour substitute if gluten-free]
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs stirred
  • 1 c pecan pieces [or other nuts] lightly toasted

Day-of Maple Glaze

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 c icing sugar

Instructions

Cake

  • In a large bowl, mix fruit, whiskey and orange zest and macerate 8-24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Place fruit and remaining liquid [if there is any] in a non-reactive pot with juice, sugar, syrup and butter.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce to a low simmer and simmer for up 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, place the fruit mixture in a cool, clean bowl, and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  • While the mixture is cooling:
  • Preheat the oven to 325F.
  • Line the bottom and the inside rim of a 1o.5-in in round baking pan or the equivalent with parchment.
  • Place the pecan pieces on a parchment lined sheet and toast for 3-4 minutes, until just sweating.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  • When the mixture is cool, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula to incorporate.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the nuts and mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer pierced into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove the pan to a wire rack.
  • Cool the cake COMPLETELY IN THE PAN on the rack.
  • When the cake has cooled:
  • Dunk a large piece of clean cheesecloth into a small amount of whiskey [brandy or other alcohol] until moist but not dripping. Squeeze out if necessary.
  • Spread out a large piece of plastic wrap or two criss-crossed pieces big enough to cover the whole cake.
  • Spread the soaked cheesecloth out over top of the plastic wrap.
  • Place the cake bottom down/face up on the cloth and plastic, making sure to remove any parchment on the cake's bottom.
  • Spoon a few tablespoons [up to 1 cup] of whiskey over the top of the cake.
  • Wrap the cake fully in the cheesecloth.
  • Wrap cake in plastic so that is is completely sealed.
  • Place cloth- and plastic-wrapped cake in an airtight bag, container or foil.
  • Open the cake and "feed" it occasionally by spooning more of  your chosen alcohol over the top of the cake every 3-6 days for at least 3-4 weeks [although cake tastes just great after baking!].
  • Stop "feeding" the cake 3-6 days before serving.
  • Cake tastes better and better the longer it sits "inebriated."
  • 4 weeks or longer is best.
  • Although, it's just as fantastic baked a day or two before and soaked with warm whiskey on site.
  • Slice and serve as desired.
  • Or, go crazy and top it with a maple glaze!

Day-of Maple Glaze

  • In a small saucepan or in the microwave, melt butter and syrup together.
  • Whisk icing sugar into hot mixture.
  • Pour over cake.

Notes