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Course: Sweets
Keyword: Baking, Christmas, Desserts, Free Range Fruitcake, Holidays

Free Range Fruitcake

Free range fruitcake sliced on a white plate.
Yield: 10 servings
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  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • zest 1 lemon, chopped coarsely
  • zest 1 orange, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1 cup gold rum
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
  • 4 whole cloves, ground
  • 6 whole allspice berries, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken
  • Brandy for basting and/or spritzing
Free range fruitcake sliced on a white plate.
Yield: 10 servings


  • Combine the dried fruits, both zests, and the candied ginger. Add the rum and macerate overnight, or microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate fruit.
  • Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice, and spices. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. (Batter can be completed up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.)
  • Heat oven to 325ºF.
  • Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon. Stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in pecans. Spoon into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.
  • Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.
  • When the cake is completely cooled, seal in an air-tight, food-safe container. Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy. The cake's flavor will enhance considerably over the next 2 weeks. If you decide to give the cake as a gift, be sure to tell the recipient that they are very lucky indeed.
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