She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Nuttier than a Fruitcake

Posted: September 20th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 1 Comment »

BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes

Yoda once said that “there is no try, there is only do.”  What he did not mention is that there is also fail.  I have been reading BakeWise by Shirley Corriher, which is a great book and full of amazing information about baking, when I came across her recipe for a French fruitcake.  Fruitcake is the butt of a lot of jokes, and not particularly popular any longer, and the recipe looked kind of tough, so I figured I’d challenge myself and make one.  What I’ve learned is that there is a good reason why fruitcake is the butt of jokes.  And that is because it’s gross.

To start with, you need to buy candied fruit, Corriher recommends a mixture of fruit peels and cherries.  I found this type of mix at a grocery store, in a container that said “Old English Fruit and Peel Mix.”  This should have tipped me off immediately, as any English foodstuff is bound to be horrific.  And this wound up being the grossest part – it’s weird tasting and hard.  You can’t eat the cake without getting a bite of nasty, bitter, British orange peel.

Another mistake I made was that when I was filling up my loaf pan, I thought there was too much dough.  But I figured that the recipe had to be written in a way that it didn’t rise too much.  I should have trusted my instincts, because it overflowed and made a mess of my oven.  Here’s a tip: if your loaf/cake/muffin tin is more than 2/3 full, you gotta take some of that dough out of there.

However, there were some good points to this.  Firstly, included in the recipe were a cup of pecans, that you roast for 10 minutes at 350, and then mix them with two tablespoons of butter and a teaspoon of salt.  They were delicious.  Too bad most of them went into the cake, because the couple I ate alone were amazing.  Try this as a snack.

Another good thing was that this recipe reminded me of the importance of using parchment paper.  If I teach you anything about baking, it’s that you should always butter the pan, and then line it with parchment paper.  Try it.  Nothing you make will ever stick again.

Lastly, remember it’s okay to fail.  I made a dry, weird-tasting fruitcake that weighs about a million pounds.  But, I learned some lessons about what works and doesn’t.  And why some foods should go down in the history books and be the butt of jokes.  The cake itself is dry, which my mom says is how fruitcake is supposed to be.  Some people like dry baked goods.  Like scones.  Incidentally, those people are also British.  I think that says it’s all.  Next time, I’ll take these lessons and make something spectacular.

One Comment on “Nuttier than a Fruitcake”

  1. 1 Alyssa said at 10:21 pm on September 20th, 2009:

    I’m so glad you did this…I’ve been trying to see if there is a way to make fruitcake so that no one could make fun of it, but the more I find out about it, the more I think that there is no way to make it good.

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