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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Cake

Fruit cakes were made as quick energy snacks for travelers in colonial times (think of them as early versions of granola bars or energy bars, neither of which I like to eat, even in emergencies.)

This is a modern version from the Cullinary Institute, featuring dried fruits, lots of whisky (all you'll get today--the bars and liquor stores close on Election Day to prevent giving drinks to buy votes, yes this kind of ACORN stuff happened in the past.)

Enjoy, and have a free cup of coffee at Starbucks with it, perhaps--as they are handing out coffee for free in honor of the election.

Election Day cake
Makes 1 large cake

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (cranberries, golden raisins, blueberries--even cherries)
1/2 cup American whisky
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 package (3/4 ounce) rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
Butter (for the pan)
All-purpose flour (for the pan)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar with the cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dried fruit, sugar mixture, and whisky; set aside.
3. In a another bowl, combine the warm water and milk. Stir in the yeast and 1 cup of whole-wheat flour. Sprinkle the remaining whole-wheat flour on top. Set aside for 30 minutes or until the yeast breaks through the surface of the flour.
4. Butter an 8-inch tube pan and dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.
5. In a bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
6. Set a strainer over a bowl. Drain the fruit mixture; reserve the syrup for the glaze.
7. In an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment, if you have one) beat the butter with the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
8. With the mixer set on low speed, beat the yeast mixture into the batter followed by the flour and spice mixture. The batter will be stiff.
9. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a large metal spoon, stir in the drained fruit. Transfer the batter to the pan. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
10. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
11. For the glaze: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons of the syrup from the fruit. Stir until smooth; set aside.
12. Transfer the cake to the oven. Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
13. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. When cool, lightly brush with the reserved syrup. Top with the glaze. Culinary Institute of America

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