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White Christmas Fruitcake with Sandra Reynolds

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    A couple of years ago when I first mentioned this on my blog, the response was immediate: My readers LOVE fruitcake, and if they make it at all, it will be at this time of year. Perhaps it’s the combination of fruit, brandy and warming spices, but on reflection, I think the reason we love it so is because the secret ingredient is nostalgia. We get very sentimental this time of year, referring to the way it’s always been done rather than trying something new.

    But if by chance there is someone reading this who wants to try something new, consider my white christmas fruitcake. I made it with the sensational new Kambrook Powermix planetary bench mixer. With three attachments for cutting through and whisking or beating all your mixtures from bread dough to lighter-than-air meringues, with a large bowl and motor that will manage your largest recipes and you are bound to use it for much more than a traditional fruitcake. It looks beautiful enough to keep on your benchtop permanently, but is light enough to carry or move around if you keep it tucked away In a cupboard.

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    I put it through the great kitchen test, my once a year fruitcake and it worked splendidly.

    This recipe is a little different – with white chocolate and lots of delicately coloured dried and local fruit such as pineapple, pawpaw, golden sultanas and apricots, this cake makes a lovely and lightly-coloured cake. It will appeal to your fussiest fruitcake fanciers and it’s small enough that if it’s just you who likes fruitcake, you can halve the recipe and eat the lot without feeling guilty.

    It gives you the appearance of something traditional, while subverting your tastebuds with a new way of approaching an old favourite. Now that’s how we do an Australian Christmas.

    Makes two 38cm x 9cm cakes

    White Christmas Fruitcake 

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    INGREDIENTS

    • 100g (¾ cup) dried figs
    • 100g (¾ cup ) dried apricots
    • 150g (1 cup) sultanas
    • 50g (⅓ cup) dried pawpaw or mango strips
    • 50g dried pineapple rings or tinned pineapple, well drained
    • ½ cup (125ml) brandy;
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 125g butter at room temperature
    • 100g (½ cup).soft brown sugar, firmly packed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp mixed spice OR ½ tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg
    • 250g white cooking chocolate
    • 200g plain flour
    • 120g pecans 

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Finely chop the figs, apricots, pawpaw and pineapple into pieces the same size as the sultanas. Place all the dried fruit in a large ceramic or glass bowl and add the brandy. Stir well to coat the fruit, then cover with cling wrap and leave for at least 24 hours. From time to time stir the mixture to coat with the brandy.
    2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150°C (fan forced). Line two small bar tins (28cm x 9cm x 5cm) with baking paper and set aside. 
    3. Set aside the egg yolks in a small bowl and place the egg whites in the bowl of the Powermix™ bench mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Scrape the egg whites into a clean bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl of the food mixer and place it back. Secure the leaf beater attachment. 
    4. Add the softened butter and brown sugar to the mixing bowl and cream the mixer for several minutes on medium speed. From time to time, stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    5. Add the vanilla and spices and one egg yolk and beat well until the mixture is lightened. Scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining egg yolks one at a time and scrape down the bowl with each addition. Beat in the egg yolks until thoroughly combined.
    6. Roughly chop or break up 200g of the white chocolate and place in a small heat-proof bowl. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave until it is smooth and warmed through.
    7. With the beaters still running, slowly pour the chocolate through the hole in the splatter guard of the food mixer and beat it into the mixture. Add the sifted flour a spoonful at a time and use the pulse function on your Powermix bench mixer to quickly and thoroughly incorporate the flour between additions.
    8. Add the soaked fruit to the cake mixture and stir well. Stop the food mixer at this point, and remove the bowl with the cake mixture in it. Scrape any mixture off the beater back into the bowl. Spoon one third of the egg whites into the mixture and use a large metal spoon to gently stir the egg whites into the mixture. Add the remaining egg white to the mixture and fold it in very gently until completely absorbed.
    9. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared cake tins and smooth the surface. Arrange the pecans over the top of the cakes and gently push them down into the mixture. Cover each tin with a sheet of aluminium foil and place the tins into a large roasting dish. Pour boiling water gently into the roasting dish until it comes half way up the sides of the tins,. 
    10. Bake in the oven for two hours. Remove the foil from the tins and bake for a further 20-30 minutes until they are golden and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
    11. Allow the cakes to cool completely in their tins before you turn them out. At this point, you can store them, wrapped in foil and in an airtight container, for up to a month before eating. The longer you leave them, the better the flavours will be.
    12. To decorate the cakes, melt the remaining 50g white chocolate in a microwave or over a double boiler and pour the warm chocolate into a ziplock bag. Snip a tiny end out of one corner and gently squeeze the chocolate through the small hole. Drizzle the chocolate over the cake – accuracy is not important, just try for an even coverage.

     

    This cake really is best served at room temperature, due to the chocolate in it and will feel quite firm if you attempt to cut it straight out of the fridge, but will soften to a beautiful texture as it warms through.

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    b2ap3_thumbnail_image005.jpgRecipe created and shared by Sandra Reynolds

     

    Sandra Reynolds has written over 1000 nutritious budget-friendly recipes for her blog The $120 Food Challenge, surviving unemployment payments and Aldi checkout lines along the way and turned personal adversity into a thriving blog.

     

    Her first cookbook, The $120 Food Challenge is published by Penguin Viking and Sandra is now writing her second cookbook. She still shops at Aldi every week.

     

     


    • Sonya Nicole 16 December 2013

      It’d be great for our kitchen as we don’t have one. I’d make pureed vegies for my toddler as he’s not a good eater and survives mostly on breastmilk…I’m keen to stop buying those expensive pureed pouches!

    • dianne inwood 16 December 2013

      Any mixer can mix up a cake mix but only the great ones make the best breads and the creamiest mashed potatoes. Such a machine in my kitchen would make my cooking simply out of this world.

    • Anne Stableford 16 December 2013

      I made these white christmas fruitcakes, but they seemed a bit dry. Should I cook them for a shorter time, or are they a fairly dry cake?

    • Vicki Herman 18 December 2013

      I'd love to win a Kambrook Powermix. I was making biscuits for a special afternoon tea on the weekend and it's so slow using a hand held mixer to beat the sugar and butter together. My sons love biscuits and I had to make an extra batch of choc chips just for them to eat. Chocolate cake is another favourite of all the males in my family.:D

    • Rebecca 22 November 2014

      I would love this to bring me up to twenty -first century in cooking and create some amazing things like birthday cakes for all my family.

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