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White House Fruitcake

I dislike fruitcake. I always have. It's just not for me, but there are a number of people in my life who enjoy this fruit and nut filled, alcohol basted holiday treat, so for them I participate in an annual cake ritual.

This recipe comes to you from a 1977 article on Christmas cake. It's call White House Fruitcake because it was made for Presidents Nixon and Carter's annual holiday party by the White House pastry chef.

This is the kind of recipe you need to think about way ahead of time. The recipe says the cakes slice better if aged in the refrigerator and, if kept cold, will last a year. Ideally, they should age for two months. But a month will do nicely.

A glaze recipe and instructions are included below, but we usually skip the glaze and instead wrap the cakes in brandy or cassis liqueur soaked cheese cloth, checking in on them every week or so leading up to Christmas to see if we need to moisten the cloth with more booze.

White House Fruitcake

15 oz seedless raisins

2 cups golden raisins

1 cup currants

16 oz mixed candied fruits

1/3 cup chopped candied pineapple

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup dry sherry

¼ cup dark rum

1 cup butter

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

2 Tbsp honey

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

¼ tsp lemon extract

¼ tsp almond extract

¼ tsp vanilla pure extract

5 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 cup cake flour, sifted

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cinnamon

Combine raisins, currants, candied fruits, candied pineapple, pecans, and almonds with sherry and rum in a large bowl. Refrigerate over night, or is possible for two days.

Grease 3, 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch pans. Line bottoms and sides with aluminum foil; grease foil.

Beat butter, brown sugar, white sugar, honey and 1/3 cup flour with the three extracts in a very large bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Sift flour, cake flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon onto wax paper. Add to batter and beat until well mixed. Combine batter with fruit and nut mixture, mixing well. Spoon into prepared pans, smoothing surface.

Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour, or until cake centers spring back when lightly pressed with fingertip. If tops are browning too fast, cover lightly with foil.

Cool cakes in pans on racks about 15 minutes or until cakes are cool enough to handle. Remove from pans and remove paper. Cool completely. Then store in tightly covered containers in the refrigerator. Before refrigerating, brush tops with bourbon glaze.

GLAZE: Combine 6 ounces bourbon with 3 ounces rum and 2 ounces simple syrup made by cooking equal parts of sugar and water until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved.

Reserve remaining glaze and use to bursh fruit cakers again about a week before using. The cakes can be brushed with the glaze as often as you like or they can be wrapped in a cheesecloth which has been soaked in the glaze, the cheesecloth remoistened as it dries out.

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