The much maligned fruitcake is actually quite a holiday treasure, symbolic in so many cultures, versions as plentiful as the varied ingredients comprising each recipe. From my research, it seems like you really can’t make a fruitcake wrong, although true connoisseurs may argue the point.
My actual only hesitation in making my first fruitcake was not in making it gluten-free, but rather that I knew myself well enough to know I could never wait weeks or months for the cake to be ready! You see, most traditional fruitcakes are made using fruits soaked in liqueur/liquor over a period of months, culminating in the final baking step at this time of year. In stark contrast to this sort of advanced ingredient planning, I am a notoriously last minute baker. So how does one make a fruitcake last minute?, you might ask. Judging by the fruits of my labor, deliciously!
Follow along with the recipe as written, or choose your own fruity additions and liqueurs/liquors or fruit juices. My father actually commented that he wished I’d used some pineapple and perhaps some candied cherries as well – more of an Americanized version of the fruitcake. Next year, dad, I’ll do it your way!
Another variation on the theme is to actually grind or process the fruits before mixing them in, to create a richer batter without any chunks which can be disconcerting to the un-fruitcake-initiated. Try my recipe for candied citrus peels, or if you lack the time or enthusiasm for that ingredient, simply use freshly grated citrus peels.
On the off chance that you and your guests don’t finish the entire cake right off, it can be eaten well into the New Year, by simply pouring a bit more liqueur/liquor onto the top of the cake once and awhile to preserve it. Cheers!
- 1 cup butter or non-dairy alternative (e.g. Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks)
- 2 cups granulated cane sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup rum
- 1 Tbs. lime juice
- 1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. almond extract (optional)
- 1 tsp. grated lime zest (approximately 1 lime)
- 2 3/4 cup dried/candied fruit*
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup molasses or dark agave nectar
- 3 cups Jules Gluten Free™ All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Tbs. gluten-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup Cointreau, Grand Marnier or other citrus flavored (preferably) liqueur/liquor plus additional liqueur/liquor for brushing on finished cakes
*Dried/Candied fruit should ideally contain a mixture of several fruits such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, sultanas, dates, figs, pineapple, citrus peel (see my recipe).
In a small saucepan, gently heat the 1/2 cup of liqueur/liquor and add the dried (but not the candied) fruit, like raisins and cranberries. Heat and stir occasionally until the liquid is nearly absorbed.
Preheat oven to 350º F. Oil and dust two 9-inch round cake pans or 1 large bundt pan plus 4-6 small loaf pans with Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and beat until well mixed. Add in the rum, lime juice, extracts, wine, zest and molasses. Stir in the dried/candied fruits.
In another bowl, whisk together the dried ingredients: Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Fold into the wet batter just until integrated. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 45 minutes in the small loaf pans or 60 minutes in larger pans, checking to be sure the cakes are not burning at the edges though. A knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Brush the tops of each cake with citrus flavored liqueur/liquor. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Wrap cooled cakes in plastic wrap and then foil, if freezing.