Guys, it’s not as if I was not perfectly aware of the sad life of fruit cake: It just looks like everybody makes it and gives it away, but nobody ever eats it.
Why does fruit cake get a bad rap?
It always seems to contain a list of ingredients a mile long; it has those diced fruit in artificial syrup that look garish and taste rather objectionable; it is heavy as a brick; it is cloyingly sweet. Yes, that’s why it travels in endless loops until some charitable recipient at the end of the recycling chain finally puts, virtually untouched, out of its misery.
I was determined to change fruit cake’s destiny: I lightened it up. I gave it a decidedly tropical twist. Shorter ingredient list. None of that tutti frutti nonsense. Orange and lemon, skin and all. Dark rum, golden raisins, banana. Yes! That’s more like it! It is amazingly spicy and tangy. Citrus zest and peel do wonders for it, and the ginger is delightful. Sometimes I take my playing with food a drop further than even I myself dare. I tinkered and tinkered, and sure enough the reward is delicious. Thank you family and friends for always being my willing guinea pigs! They all work for food. I subject them to constantly evolving batches, yeah, right, poor guys. And if a batch was just way too wacky, I just ask them to please forget they ever tasted it.
This Fruit Cake is for Keeps!
That was the unanimous verdict on the last try.
- 1/2 cup preserved ginger (health food stores), packed
- 1 large navel orange, quartered, skin and all, seeded
- 1 lemon, quartered, skin and all, seeded
- 1 cup oil
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups all purpose, whole wheat pastry, or spelt flour
- 1 cup all fashioned oats
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pineapple juice (or 1 cup canned unsweetened crushed pineapple, juice and all)
- 1 ripe banana, diced small
- 1 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Finely grind the ginger in a food processor, pulsing. Do not allow it to get mushy.
Add the citrus and pulse until finely ground but not mushy. Set the mixture aside.
In the same food processor bowl, cream the oil, rum, sugar and eggs. Mix the flour and the oats with the baking soda and salt in a bowl.
Add the flour mixture alternatively with the juice, pulsing only until well combined. Add the reserved citrus mixture, the banana and raisins, and pulse just until combined, 1-2 times.
Pour the batter into a greased 10 inch tube pan. Bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Unmold and invert to cool.