Everything you love about carrot cake, re-configured in a fruitcake texture and longevity. No candied fruits but just the right balance of good things, carrot cake flavor appeal and an recipe that makes one large or several gift cakes. One more new tradition for almost any holiday that calls for a fabulous and festive cake. Wonderful for Christmas or, with its oil-based batter, a perfect Chanukah treat. You can ice this with traditional cream cheese frosting and decorate it in a gold coin motif or with a Yule garnish or holly and fresh cranberries. You can also make the cream cheese frosting more of a rolled fondant by adding less liquid and enwrapping the cake as per regular fruitcakes. A keeper, in all ways! Oh, by the way, the secret soaking syrup is optional; this cake starts and stays moist but if you want to do the cheesecloth/syrup soaking route, you certainly can. This takes a nice slow bake (2-3 hours) for the most moist cake but if you are time-short or need that oven (!), increase the temperature to 350F and bake it a bit sooner (besides the soaking syrup will re-invigorate it).
Fruit and Carrot Mixture
2 cups dark raisins
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried, California apricots
2 cups dried cranberries
4 cups grated carrots
1 Granny Smith apple, grated
1 12 ounce can, drained, pineapple chunks
2 cups walnuts (or pecans), chopped (not fine, large chop)
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon mace
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oil (or melted unsalted butter)
2 cups sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Zest of one orange, finely minced
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Icing/Mock Rolled Fondant (optional)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, or more
½ cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Water or cream, as required
1 cup water
Zest and juice of one orange
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange oil or extract
1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau (optional) or Rum or Brandy
Preheat oven to 325 F. Using nonstick cooking spray as the ‘glue’, line a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with strips of parchment paper on the sides and a circle of parchment on the bottom. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the pan on it.
In a large bowl, cover the raisins, cranberries, dates and apricots with hot water. Grate the carrots. Drain the dried fruit and mix them, with the pineapple, carrots, apple, and walnuts in a bowl. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter or oil with the sugar and orange zest well. Add in eggs, vanilla, orange extract and lemon juice. As it mixes, in another bowl, whisk to blend, the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace, baking soda and baking powder. Fold this gently, into the egg and sugar mixture, then fold in the fruit mixture to make a thick batter, stirring well, to combine evenly. Spoon into the pan.
Bake until cake tests done by touching with fingertips and cake springs back, 2 hours at 325 F and 1 hour, approximately, at 300 F.
Cool very well before icing.
For the icing, cream the confectioners’ sugar with the cream cheese and the butter, and vanilla. Add in more confectioners’ sugar (or water or cream) to achieve the frosting or fondant consistency desired. Frost on cake, or make the mixture thick as fondant, rolling on additional confectioners’ sugar to make a moldable or rolling fondant. To cover as per fruitcake, smear cake with a thin coating of warmed jam and then enrobe in fondant. Keep cake cool or chilled.
If using the soaking syrup (and/or frosting), simmer all the ingredients for the syrup and cool. Once the baked cake is cool, brush with syrup. (Refrigerate extra syrup). Wrap in a clean tea towel and store in a tin. Brush with syrup every few days until you serve cake (but it is good a day after baking!)
Serves 18-30, depending on portions
This recipe is for sole, personal use of visitors of BetterBaking.Com Online Magazine. Marcy Goldman/
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