This recipe was featured in Cuisine Magazine December 1979. It won the 2017 Kitchen Arts and Letters “Fruitcake Redemption Contest” in New York City.
It is a New England version of the holiday favorite is moist and fresh-flavored, with a creative fruit and nut mixture. The homemade Candied Cranberries and Cranberry Syrup lend color and zest to the fruitcake. It is served with a dollop of the creamy Rich Christmas Sauce.
- 1 ½ cups chopped Candied Cranberries*
- ½ cup Cranberry Syrup*
- 4 cups golden raisins
- 2 cups chopped blanched almonds
- 1 ½ cups chopped white or golden dried figs**
- 1 ½ cups chopped candied citron
- 1 ½ cups chopped candied orange peel
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
- ½ cup chopped dried apricots
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 7 eggs
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground mace
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ cup brandy
- Melted cherry jelly
- Whole pecans
- Sugared cranberries
- Make Candied Cranberries and Cranberry Syrup; reserve ½ cup syrup.
- Chop enough Candied Cranberries to measure 1 ½ cups; reserve remaining berries for another use. Combine chopped berries, raisins, almonds, figs, citron, orange peel, chopped pecans and apricots in a large bowl; add 1 cup flour; toss.
- Heat oven to 275 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, mix 3 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, mace and salt. Add flour mixture a third at a time to egg mixture, alternating with the ½ cup Cranberry Syrup and beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lemon extracts.
- Fold batter into fruit mixture. Spoon batter into well-greased 10-inch tube pan, filling three-fourths of pan; spoon remaining batter into well-greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake until tops are brown and wooden pick inserted in center is withdrawn clean, about 3 ½ hours for loaf pan and 4 hours for tube pan.
- Cool in pans on wire racks 35 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Soak 2 pieces cheesecloth in brandy and wrap around cakes; then wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 48 hours before serving.***
- Make Rich Christmas Sauce
- To serve, brush cakes with jelly. Garnish with pecans and sugared cranberries. Slice while cold, but serve at room temperature with Rich Christmas Sauce.
*Chopped red candied cherries can be substituted for Candied Cranberries; cranberry juice can be substituted for Cranberry Syrup.
**Chopped dried figlets can be substituted.
***Cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in refrigerator up to 2 months.
Candied Cranberries and Cranberry Syrup:
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup cranberry juice cocktail
- 1 quart fresh cranberries
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Heat sugar, water and cranberry juice to boiling. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
- Combine cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and hot syrup in ovenproof bowl. Place bowl on steamer rack in steamer over simmering water. Steam covered 45 minutes.
- Remove bowl from steamer; cool on wire rack without stirring. Let stand uncovered at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until syrup is very thick, about 3 days.
- Remove cranberries with slotted spoon to waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Store syrup in tightly covered container. Let cranberries stand uncovered at room temperature, turning occasionally, until dry, about 3 days. (Fruit will be slightly sticky.) Store cranberries in tightly covered container.
TIP: Cranberries and syrup can be stored in containers at room temperature up to 3 months. They can be used in other recipes calling for candied fruit or sweet syrup. Syrup also can be used to glaze baked ham or roast pork; garnish with candied cranberries.
Rich Christmas Sauce:
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 Tablespoons brandy
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Stir sugar into egg yolks. Beat in butter and vanilla (or brandy). Fold in whipped cream.