OK – this will never convert you if you’re a fruitcake hater, but let me tell you, you may hate fruitcake, but you will LOVE this, if you should ever be so lucky as to get some. This stuff is a tradition now, baked religiously the day after Thanksgiving, and on the occasional day in March when girlfriends from out of town arrive and they lobby hard for an off-season event.
The fruit is soaked in rum for at least a day before baking – figs, dates, raisins, currants, cherries and orange rind. Nothing fluorescent or green. The nuts are almonds and walnuts. There is enough batter to hold it together in a very low-key cakey sort of way, with cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg. This recipe is modified from the original – icky things like pineapple have been eliminated. And non-icky things that simply don’t belong in fruitcake, like macadamia nuts, have been substituted with more reasonable nuts.
It’s baked in a sheet pan, then brushed with rum syrup, and finally it is topped with a thin and lovely drape of marzipan. Rolled out by someone more patient than I am. We usually cut it into six pieces – about 6”x6” square. They’re better after a few days, assuming they last that long, and can be frozen for months without losing their quality. It’s fantastic cut into smaller squares and served with a cup of coffee or a port after dinner. Or, well, you can eat it for breakfast – fruit! Nuts! It’s healthy!!