Fruitcake Success

finished fruitcake

Growing up I was under the impression that the gift of a fruitcake was usually done so as a joke.  Perhaps this is true for the store bought version.  However, the homemade variety would be a sign of true friendship.  This is especially true after it is realized how expensive and how much labor is involved in creating the authentic delicacy. 

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2.5 tsp baking powder

1 ¾ cups powdered sugar

2 cups of fruit (approximately) from mulled hot apple cider

1 gallon apple cider

1 apple cored and sliced

1 orange sliced with peel

2 cinnamon sticks

1 Tbsp. whole cloves (placed in a metal spice-herb ball)

1 tsp coarsely ground nutmeg (placed in the same metal spice-herb ball)

1 cup butter

4 eggs (eggs will be separated)

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon powder

½ tsp ground clove

½ tsp cardamom powder

½ tsp ground ginger

1 cup homemade caramel

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup whole milk

4 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

4 cups assorted dried fruits & nuts soaked in a rum sauce

(example:  raisins, currants, cranberries, prunes, apricots, pineapple, mango, papaya, dates, candied ginger, orange & lemon peels, pecans, almonds, walnuts, ect…)

Rum sauce:

½ tsp nutmeg powder

¼ tsp clove powder

1 ½ cups dark rum

1 cup port red wine

Cake toppings

Powdered sugar icing

Red maraschino cherries

Green maraschino cherries

1 cake pan 10 inch in diameter or a angel food cake pan

Directions (must be followed precisely):

  1.  At least 24 hours before the cake is to be made the dried fruits should begin soaking in the rum sauce.
    1. Chop your fruit choices into small pieces, no larger than the size of a dime.
    2. Place into a container large enough for the fruits to double in size.
    3. Add rum, wine, spices and stir thoroughly.
    4. Stir frequently until ready to add to the cake batter.
    5. Used in steps 13 & 20.
    6. Create and serve mulled hot apple cider at least 24 hours before the cake is to be made.
      1. Pour apple cider into a crockpot or cooking pot.
      2. Add sliced apple, sliced orange, cinnamon sticks, and filled spice-herb ball.
      3. Cook half a day or until flavors are infused.
      4. Save back 2 cups of fruit pulp or whatever isn’t consumed during the enjoyment of the hot apple cider until step 8.
      5. When ready make the cake begin first with the caramel sauce.
        1. In a pot melt butter.
        2. Add brown sugar, milk, and vanilla.
        3. Bring to a boil and whisk gently until sauce thickens to the consistency of eggnog.
        4. Set aside until ready to add to the cake batter until step 11.
        5. Preheat oven at 325 degrees.
        6. Sieve flour and baking powder together.  Set aside until step 12.
        7. Separate egg yolks from the whites.  Whisk egg yolks and vanilla together.  Set aside until step 9.
        8. Whisk egg whites until they peak like a meringue.  Set aside until step 15.
        9. Melt butter and mix with fruit from the mulled hot apple cider and powder sugar together until smooth.
        10. Stir in egg yolk mixture.
        11. Stir in powdered spices.
        12. Stir in homemade caramel.  Reheat to a liquid if it has hardened.
        13. Stir in flour mixture.
        14. Strain the soaked fruits and nuts.  Set aside the rum sauce.
        15. Gently stir in soaked fruits and nuts.
        16. Gently stir in whipped egg whites.
        17. Grease the angel food cake pan and pour in batter.
        18. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.
        19. Turn down temperature to 225 for 45 minutes or until batter no longer sticks to a toothpick when checked.
        20. Turn up temperature to 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until rum sauce has cooked down to a glaze.
        21. Pour rum sauce over the top of the cake.  Using an ice pick poke holes into the case so the rum sauce and soak through.
        22. Flip cake upside down onto a cake plate and remove angel food cake pan.  Use a knife to remove any sticking from the sides before the cake is flipped over.
        23. Slice red and green maraschino cherries in half and decorate the top of the cake.
        24. Drizzle powder sugar frosting over the top and sides when fruitcake is cooled.
          1. Powder sugar frosting is made with 2 cups of powdered sugar and mixed with just enough water to give the frosting the consistency of white craft glue.

Enjoy!

sliced fruitcake

This recipe was obtained from mixing and modifying several recipes.

eCurry’s Rich Rum Fruitcake

foodnetwork.com’s Easy Caramel Sauce

Fort Mifflin’s mulled hot apple cider recipe obtained during a 2001 Halloween ghost tour.

Unfettered American Pie

I had to make a last minute run out to the church to get some paperwork signed for our scout unit during a late Wednesday evening. While there the church band was practicing. They took a break just to jam out to American Pie. At that moment nothing was more beautiful than those 7 men letting it all loose while drinking Lost Trail Root Beers as though nobody was watching…..and they had no idea I was watching until I cheered and proclaimed the need for a lighter.

As I got into my vehicle I could see them through the windows smiling and high-fiving each another.
Beautiful

 

NaNoWriMo’s Successful Dismal Attempt

NaNoWriMo

The National Novel Writing Month known as NaNoWriMo is quickly coming to an end.  For some this was the year of your novel.  You finished your life’s dream.  Congratulations!

However, for others this could be the end of yet another failed attempt to do something.  Perhaps this is your first year, or this was a multiple attempt year to beat the 50,000 word deadline by the end of November.  Regardless of how many attempts, the feeling of defeat can paralyzing.  Unless you look at it as a sign that you are uniquely special.  After all, how many other people do you know are crazy enough to publically say they will write a novel in a month?  Not many I bet, and that makes you pretty special.

This was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and I failed successfully well.  I could create the excuse that there was a lot going on this month.  Actually there really was too much going on this month.  My kids had activities, the husband was traveling a lot and when he was home there was this sense of urgency to spend time with him before he left for work again, oh and there were all those social media outlets I needed to keep up with especially the groups I help manage, and let’s not forget Thanksgiving preparations.  Plus I can’t overlook do blah, blah, blah.

Isn’t there a 12 step goal in which we are supposed to admit that we are powerless over something?  Well sometimes I feel pretty powerless over my own time.  I have a feeling there are a lot of mothers and fathers who feel pretty powerless when it comes to making time for self.  Actually, I know of several unmarried people and young people who feel that same tug of war between self-ambition and family, work, or community responsibilities.

However, NaNoWriMo taught me something about myself.  I learned some of these tips in NaNo workshops and some from the participation in the yearly event.

1)      I really do have an hour a day to do something for myself, such as write.

2)      The world will not fall apart if I give myself time to do what I love.

3)      The family, and I’m sure others, think I am a more pleasant person to be around when I am happy, and honestly I’m happy when I feel a sense of self-achievement.

4)      It is okay to fail while writing.  That is why the editing process exists.

5)      Do not edit while writing the first draft.  Especially do not edit during NaNoWriMo!

6)      Join a writer’s group for support and sanity.  It’s just nice to not feel alone.

7)      Read, observe, and write as often as possible.

Even though I did not meet the NaNoWriMo goal I still feel like I succeeded.  I learned something about myself.  There have been new friends met and new writing tools gathered for future writing events.  Plus, I’ve connected with authors, Indie and traditionally published.  Oh and I’ve learned one other thing:

8)      There will always be another NaNoWriMo next year.