With a family dinner approaching, I left my annual fruitcake baking to the last minute. Without a lot of time to buy ingredients, macerate fruit, and bake the loaves, I ended up making a basic light version. Along the way, I learned about the importance of aging.
The recipe I used is from King Arthur Flour. At first, I thought it would be “interesting” to use those bright red candied cherries as called for, but I talked some sense into myself, and soaked dried Bing cherries in Amaretto instead.
The fruitcake is a pretty standard one, with a mix of raisins, other dried tart and sweet fruits, some candied citrus peel, and a generous quantity of nuts. I made it in two 8.5 x 4.5” loaf pans. After baking, I forgot to do the alcohol bath, and ended up serving it less than 24 hours later.
The slices were crumbly and dry, and not all that tasty. I gave most of it to my parents, with instructions to brush with alcohol weekly. I did save a few slices for myself, stored in a tightly sealed container. The extra week of sitting around helped the cake’s moisture redistribute, and the texture and flavour improved considerably. This article recommends aging fruitcake for at least a month. This is a step I won’t skip in the future, but I’ll have to get motivated to start the process in November.