16 December 2006
Ain’t Nothin’ like the Real Thing
My boss is from England and makes Christmas cake (fruitcake for us here Americans). I’ve heard of the wonders of home-made fruitcake, and this one leaves no doubt in my mind that care, good ingredients and a good recipe lead to a delicious cake.
The Boss macerates his fruit (cherries, lemon and orange peel, currants, yellow and black raisins) in red wine first. After making the cake, he soaks it in Kentucky bourbon. The taste is actually much like the Gethsemani Farms fruitcake; they also include wine in the recipe and soak in bourbon. His cake has a much more grapey fruit flavor because of the raisins. There are NO NUTS in his recipe, which obviously affects the flavor but doesn’t detract in any way. (By the way, his theory on turnips is that they add moisture to the finished cake, which sounds plausible to me—though we agree, we still don’t want ‘em in our cake).
So what’s the white stuff on the top? It’s a very hard icing, like a fondant, concealing beneath it a thin layer of marzipan, to gild the lily. The boss “refreshes” the cake with bourbon before serving.
This is a delicious cake (and I’m not just saying that ‘cause he’s my Boss). It’s moist and boozy, and the texture is lovely—with the fruit being relatively small, it cuts nicely. The icing adds a touch of traditional sweetness, while the marzipan a lovely almond flavor. This cake absolutely eats like a meal—one slice and you’re done. But it’s a delicious slice of decadent winter richness the whole way down.
This is the one cake on this site so far that you CAN’T purchase. But you can probably find some good recipes for Christmas cake and make your own. A slice of this cake certainly inspires me to try to make one myself next year.
. . . but then, who would review all those other fruitcakes out there?