My friend Christine Blaine gave me this recipe many years ago when she was the retail director of my dessert company. Chock-full of crunchy nuts and moist dried fruit, it was especially appealing for having no artificially colored (and universally reviled) bits of candied fruit. This is an even more treasured recipe now that there are so many more dried fruits with which to create variations. (For the cake in the photograph, I used dates, dried Angelino plums, and dried pears.) And now, why not add some homemade (and really delicious) Candied Citrus Peel? Please be inventive with this fantastic recipe. Add slices to the cheese tray, or serve with after-dinner liqueurs. Or keep some in your desk for an emergency burst of energy.–Alice Medrich
Dried Fruit and Nut Cake Recipe
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, not including cooling | Makes 1 large loaf
- 3/4 cup (3.4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar or raw sugar, such as light muscovado or grated piloncillo
- 1 cup dried apricots, plums, pluots, pears, or peaches, or a mixture (to measure, leave apricots or similar-size fruit whole and cut larger fruit in halves or thirds)
- 2 cups quartered moist dates, or any other favorite dried fruits
- 3 cups (12 ounces) walnut halves
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Spray the loaf pans (either one 9-by-5-inch 8-cup loaf pan or two 8-by-4-inch 4-cup loaf pans) with vegetable oil spray or line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- 2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to combine. Add the brown sugar, all the dried fruit, and the nuts and mix thoroughly with your fingers. Set aside.
- 3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla until light. Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands until all the fruits and nuts are coated with batter. Scrape into the prepared pans.
- 4. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and the batter clinging to the fruit seems set, about 1 hour for smaller loaves, 10 to 15 minutes longer for a large loaf. Tent loosely with foil if the cake appears to be browning too much. Cool completely in the pans on a rack.
- 5. When completely cool, remove the cake from the pans. The cake keeps, wrapped airtight in foil or plastic wrap, for several weeks at room temperature or at least 3 months in the refrigerator. It. can also be frozen for at least 6 months.
- 6. To serve, cut into thin slices with a sharp heavy knife.
Dried Fruit and Nut Cake Recipe © 2007 Alice Medrich. Photo © 2007 Leigh Beisch. All rights reserved.