Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake

As you can see, this is not your typical fruitcake.  Normally fruitcakes are very dark in color. The difference could be that this cake is not soaked in brandy, rum or simple syrup as the recipe suggested.  Loaded with walnuts, chocolate chips and 3 differently prepared berries, it packs quite a bit of flavor as is. However, some people prefer a more chewy cake with the liqueur soaked in, so I have included that step below.

There are a lot of specialty fruit ingredients since the recipe comes from King Arthur Flour.  One is a package of raspberry "jammy bits".  These bits are small squares of sweetened fruit juice that burst into little pools when baked, as shown in the above picture.  The candied cherries were not easy to find either and were ordered from KAF.

The baking time varies on this recipe based on the variation of pans (mini loaves, regular loaf).  I baked mini loaves which took about 30 minutes. For the best flavor, wrap and let the cake rest for at least 24 hours prior to serving or soak weekly (with brandy,simple syrup or rum) for up to 2 months.

My overall opinion on this recipe is that it is packed with too many flavors for my tastes.  I do like cherry and chocolate but this is just too much in this cake.  As a matter of fact, it did not sit very well on my stomach, so I will not be making this again.

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake
adapted from King Arthur Flour

3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups of diced walnuts
1 1/2 cups (10 oz) candied red cherries (chopped or whole)   
1 1/3 cups (8 oz) raspberry jammy bits
2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips
2 cups dried cherries
1/2 cup kirsch, rum or brandy for soaking dried cherries or 1/3 cup water
3/4 simple syrup or brandy for cake soaking glaze

Fill a small bowl with dried cherries and one of the following: water, brandy or rum.  Cover and cook in microwave for 1 min and 30 seconds.  Set aside to cool.

Grease heavily the pan(s) of your choice (2 standard loaf pans, mini pans, etc).  Also line bottom and long sides with parchment and overlap some on the sides.  Then grease top side of parchment. The cake part surrounding the add ins is very light, not dense like normal fruitcake.  The parchment lining will keep your cake from crumbling when releasing from the pan. Do not use a bundt cake pan for this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take a large bowl and with an electric mixer cream sugar and butter together until smooth and fluffy.  Add the salt, baking powder and the vanilla.  Continue to beat until all is incorporated in the batter. Then add the eggs, one at a time and beat after each addition.With a wooden spoon, mix in 1 cup the flour and then 1/2 of the milk.  Continue to stir in flour and milk in increments, ending with flour.

Once all is combined, add chocolate chips, nuts, jammie bits, soaked cherries (with juice) and candied cherries.  Mix with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.  Spoon batter into pan(s), until 3/4 full. Even out the top of the batter with a wet knife. Watch closely, the baking time is between 30 minutes and 1 hr 40 minutes due to the pan variation.  When top is golden brown and tester comes out clean, the loaves are done.

Some people leave the cakes in their pan until ready to serve.  However, if you want to take them out, wait 15 minutes and run a knife along the short edges (no parchment) and pull out each loaf with the long parchment "handles". Then place on a wire rack to cool.  For glazing, brush when warm with brandy, rum or simple syrup and then cover.  Use glaze on cake once a week until ready to serve.  Cake can be served at least 24 hours from the day baked or up to 2 months later.