This Buttermilk Fruit Cake
is one of those cakes that is perfect any time of the day. It's moist
and buttery, it's loaded with dried and candied fruits (which is the
way fruit cakes must be) and it's nicely spiced with ground cinnamon,
nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. But take note,
this fruit cakes does not contain eggs. This recipe is loosely based
on one I found in Jeffrey Alford
and Naomi Duguid's excellent book called
Home Baking. Like all
of their books, it is full of wonderful stories, recipes, and
photographs. There are recipes from all over the world covering
pastries, breads, cakes and cookies. A great book to have in your
A few notes on
ingredients. As I said above this fruit cake is eggless. The batter
does contain buttermilk which makes the cake tender and moist. You can
buy buttermilk or buttermilk powder, or you can make a good
substitute. Just stir 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup
(240 ml/grams) milk and let it stand at room temperature for about 10
minutes and then it's ready to use.
For this fruit cake I
like to use a variety of dried and candied fruits. But the
choice of fruits is up to you. You can use just one dried fruit like
raisins (dark, golden, or even currants), or you can use a variety
like dates, figs, dried cranberries or cherries, dried apricots, etc.
You can also add some candied mixed peel and/or candied cherries. You
can macerate the fruits in alcohol before making the batter and
you can do this step up to a day before. Some good alcohol choices are Grand Marnier, rum, brandy, or even
Raisins, like dates,
have a high sugar content which helps retain moisture so the cake will
stay fresher longer. Raisins, like currants, are simply
dried grapes. Both dark and golden seedless raisins come from Thompson
seedless grapes. The difference is that dark raisins are sun dried
which gives them that dark shriveled appearance. Golden raisins are
treated with sulfur dioxide first to prevent them from turning dark
and then air dried to keep them a lovely golden yellow color, plump,
and moist. Currants, on the other hand, are dried Zante grapes and are
dark, tiny, and very sweet. Candied fruit is actually preserved fruit that has been dipped
several times in a concentrated sugar syrup. This process preserves
the fruit's original color and shape, while giving it a smooth and
shiny coating, a very sweet taste, with a firm and slightly chewy
Cake: Preheat your oven to 350
degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the
oven. Butter and flour, or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour
spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk the
flour with the salt, baking soda, and ground spices. Add the dried and/or
candied fruits and toss to coat all the fruit.
In another bowl,
whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract, and
sugar. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing
well. Immediately pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with
an offset spatula or with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 -
until the cake is golden brown and just starting to pull away from the
sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake
will come out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to
cool. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. This
cake is excellent warm from the oven or at room temperature. Can be
covered and stored at room temperature, or in the refrigerator, for about a week. Or it can be frozen.
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