I love fruitcake with a passion. Others are a little more ambivalent. But even I recognize that when you’re looking for a pick-me-up, mid-afternoon work snack, an alcohol-laced fat bomb of a regular fruitcake isn’t going to fly. We discovered this healthy, hearty recipe several weeks ago, and have been making a loaf every week to take to work. Naturally, we had to share it with you.
This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Baking. The beauty of this recipe is, you can use basically any 3 cups of dried fruit and 3 cups of dried, toasted, chopped nuts you have on hand, getting as creative as you’d like. And this fantastic whole wheat flour is from Glen Willow Farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Preheat the oven to 300. Put the rack in the middle of the oven, and line an 8 cup loaf pan with parchment paper.
Mix the Dry In a large bowl, stir together 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour); 1/4 tsp baking soda; 1/4 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed; 3 cups coarsely chopped and toasted nuts (a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans is smashing); 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries; 2 cups dates and/or figs, chopped; and 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped.
Beat the Eggs In a separate bowl, beat 3 eggs and a tsp of vanilla extract until the mixture is light-colored and thick. This will take a few minutes, so use an electric beater of some sort. Then fold the egg mixture thoroughly into the dry mixture. (Full disclosure: I did this the first time. Every time subsequent, I just thoroughly mixed the eggs into the dry mixture and noticed no difference. You choose the path you’ll take here, and we’ll keep it just between us.)
Spread the mix into the parchment paper-lined loaf pan and press it all around to even things out. Bake for 60-75 minutes until the loaf is golden and the sides start to pull away from the pan. Let cool on a wire rack (you can easily lift the loaf out, using the parchment paper has flap handles).
Cover with plastic wrap when cool. This will keep for about 2 weeks at room temperature or a couple months (!) in the fridge. We defy you to keep it around for more than a few days.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 cups coarsely chopped and toasted nuts (a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans is smashing)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
- 2 cups dates and/or figs, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a tsp or 2 cinnamon, to taste
- a tsp or 2 nutmeg, to taste