Fruitcake has gotten a bad rap over the years, but we’re here to convince you that when done correctly, you might even learn to love it. This is especially true of the version made by Thomas Raquel, executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin in NYC, who shares his updated recipe for fruitcake with buckwheat flour and dried tropical fruits.
"The muscovado sugar allows for a lighter, more moist batter, while this variety of dried fruits adds a subtle tropical flavor," Raquel tells us. "Also, I prefer to infuse the fruits with rum from the beginning, rather than baste the cake post-baking, which not only saves time but helps avoid the cake from becoming too dense with liquor."
This fruitcake is delicious on its own but is also wonderful when turned into ice cream sandwiches. We slice the loaf into ½-inch slices before sandwiching them around a swirl of rum raisin and butter pecan ice cream. It's the perfect winter treat for the holidays (see the video).
Recipe adapted from Thomas Raquel, Le Bernardin, New York, NY
Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus cooling time
½ cup dark rum
¼ cup dried currants
¼ cup chopped dried mango
¼ cup chopped dried figs
3 tablespoons chopped brandied cherries
2 tablespoons chopped jarred kumquats
1 teaspoon honey
¾ cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch ground nutmeg
½ cup muscovado sugar
1½ sticks butter, softened, plus more for greasing
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a medium bowl, combine the rum, currants, mango, figs, cherries, kumquats and honey. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Let the dried fruit cool while you prepare the rest of the batter.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the pecans, walnuts and dried fruit mixture.
4. Scrape the batter into a greased 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until slightly risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the cake, 1 hour. Let cool completely, then remove from the pan and wrap in plastic. Let sit at room temperature overnight before slicing and serving the next day.
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