by Alison Boyd-Savage
If you are looking for one great cake to carry you through the holidays, then look no further. Even if you are not a fan of fruit cake, you will love this wonderful recipe that bears no resemblance to the typical offerings you may be familiar with, which are so dense they are more suitable as a doorstop than a delectable dessert!
The moist and buttery texture, enhanced with just the right amount of premium dried fruit and rum, makes it the perfect seasonal treat to serve over the holidays. The easy and foolproof recipe mixes up in minutes, so go ahead, bake two and gift the extra to someone you love this holiday season.
Celebration Rum Cake
The secret to success is to use the best quality ingredients — grass fed, unsalted butter from brands such as Kerrygold or Plugra, local free-range eggs and dried fruit from a premium provider. My online sources are Kalustyans.com and Nuts.com Both stock jumbo black raisins and whole slices of glazed and candied orange peel. If you cannot get the premium orange peel, then skip it.
Kalustyan’s stocks wonderful sticky Medjool dates, and you should order extra to eat as a sweet treat. Toss the dates in a little flour when you have chopped them, this prevents clumping during baking.
To prevent your cake from sticking, take extra care to thoroughly grease and flour the bundt pan. Be careful as you add the batter as it is easy to dislodge this coating.
1 cup jumbo black raisins
3/4 cup golden raisins
½ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
½ cup dried cherries
6 large Medjool dates pitted and finely chopped
4 pieces candied orange peel, finely diced (optional)
Finely grated zest of one small orange
Finely grated zest of one small lemon
½ cup dark rum
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter softened, plus 1 Tbsp. for greasing pan
1 ¾ cups flour, plus 1 Tbsp. for dusting pan
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
Combine the dried fruit, orange and lemon zest and rum in a small bowl. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Thoroughly coat the inside of a bundt pan with softened butter. Dust the pan with 1 Tbsp. of flour, rotating it until every surface is covered. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.
Place the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy. Lightly whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and add to the butter mixture in four increments, beating well after each addition.
With the mixer on slow speed, gently fold in the rum-soaked fruit and flour mixture until just combined. Gently pour the batter into pan and smooth the top.
Bake in the middle of a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, until deep golden brown on top and until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes, and if the top is browning too much, loosely cover with aluminum foil. After removing it from the oven, leave in the pan for 20 minutes (no longer or the cake will stick) before gently inverting onto a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
To serve, place on a cake plate and lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar. To store, wrap well and place in an airtight container for up to five days or freeze for up to a month.