Last Month I made mention of joining in The Badger Girl Fruit Cake Exchange. That very day I modified a successful recipe my parents had made into a vegan version. I decorated them up in a Winter Solstice theme and aged them with rum over the past few weeks.
I have to say I am very pleased with the resulting flavors. Unlike a lot of fruit cakes, this one is more enjoyable in your mouth than it is to look at on the plate. The texture is good for eating but just doesn’t hold together well for beautiful plating or serving.
My ingredients all took on a tropical theme with the hopes of bringing sunny flavors into the home at the time of year, in this hemisphere, when daylight is at a premium. The original recipe called for orange juice, I chose an orange/mango juice. The original had dates which are fine but I don’t like dates so chose mango and pineapple. Instead of red candied cherries, I used tart dried cherries (this was probably my best flavor modification). I also kept the colors light by keeping the suggestion of golden raisins and used macadamia nuts instead of brazil nut.
I was making this a vegan fruit cake so swapped out the 3-4 eggs for mashed banana. This stayed with the overall flavor I was hoping to achieve. It is also where I sacrificed how it holds together when serving, the beauty of uniform pieces on a plate.
The final flourish of the snowy coconut and sunburst on top didn’t work as well as I had hoped when the coconut browned. I added more white coconut to the top after baking for the white effect I was trying to achieve.
3 Cups all-purpose Flour
1 1/3 Cups Light Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
3/4 Cup Orange Mango Juice
1/4 Cup 10 Cane Rum (more for the weeks to follow)
1 Cup Canola Oil
2 Ripe Bananas – mashed
1/4 Cup Black Strap or Dark Molasses
1 package (15 oz) Golden Raisins (about 3 Cups)
1 Cup Dried Mango, chopped (reserve a few for topping)
1/3 Cup Green Candied Cherries (reserve 2 for topping)
1/2 Dried Tart Cherries
1 Cup Dried Candied Pineapple (reserve a few for topping)
1 2/3 Cups Macadamia Nuts
Shredded Coconut for topping
Heat oven to 275° Line 2 loaf pan with aluminum foil; grease. Measure all ingredients except fruits and nuts into a large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in fruits and nuts. Spread mixture evenly in pans. Decorate tops with reserved fruits and coconut with a snow/sun theme.
Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. If necessary, cover with aluminum foil the last hour of baking to prevent excessive browning. Remove from pans; cool. Sprinkle with 1/8 Cup 10 Cane Rum and wrap loosely in in plastic wrap or aluminum foil; store in a cool place. Every 7 – 10 days, unwrap, sprinkle with another 1/8 Cup rum and loosely rewrap until a week before serving.