Insofar as I would ever like fruitcake, I didn’t hate this Orange Pineapple Walnut Fruitcake as much as I thought I would. And I fully expected to hate it because it was one of the recipes that I tested for Baked Occasions a few years back. The recipe was a good fruitcake recipe, assuming you find fruitcake edible at all. After testing, I had zero intention of making this ever again, but Baked Sunday Mornings has baked over ⅔ of the way through the book and I’ve done every single recipe thus far; much like the Mega Easter Pie, I was not about to let this recipe get in the way of completing 100% of the recipes. Thus, we have fruitcake.
What was more palatable this time? The first time I had used unsweetened pineapple (which was quite dry and brittle) and cheap rum; this time I used softer, sweetened pineapple and The Kraken Black Spiced Rum (my now-favorite for baking), and I believe these better-quality ingredients made a difference. I will say I’m glad there are no weird technicolor dried fruits in here, and at least it had a somewhat cake-like texture, not like the rock-hard stereotypical fruitcake that elicits groans and eyerolls. The tropical theme was fun and well-done.
The fruitcake batter calls for a rather unusual mixing method, which I presume has some effect on the density and/or structure of the finished product. You start by boiling together the diced pineapple, rum, and orange juice, then add sugar and butter, and simmer the mixture until a thick syrup forms. (Mine went longer than the recommended 5 minutes, and it was never super-thick per se, but it was fine.)
Once it has cooled, whisk in the dry ingredients (bread flour, baking soda, salt) to make very a thick batter, add the orange zest, then the eggs and egg yolk, and lastly the vanilla. I had to switch to a wooden spoon towards the end because it was too thick to whisk. Make sure you get into the corners of the pan, which is no easy feat. Finally, you’ll fold in the toasted walnuts and scrape the batter into a loaf pan.
My loaf baked up a dark golden brown in 70 minutes. After cooling slightly, I poured another ¼ cup of rum over the top after poking a bunch of holes in it– this is one boozy loaf! We are instructed to wait at least 24 hours before serving it. The only trouble I had was getting it out of the pan; this is a recipe where it would be useful to line the pan with a piece of parchment overhanging the sides for easy removal.
The rum glaze is a snap to whisk together– literally just confectioners’ sugar (shhh, I didn’t even sift it) and rum. I thought it was a touch too boozy personally, so I would cut it back a bit myself. Then again, this is meant to be a booze-tastic concoction, so I guess if you’re going in, go all the way!
While I didn’t care for it, my tasters at work enjoyed it. In fact, I was very touched that a few people who had a special affinity for fruitcake really liked it and said it brought back nostalgic Christmas memories for them. That was the best compliment I could have asked for, especially considering how not-excited I was to make this. I suppose if one likes fruitcake, it’s a great choice– not cloyingly sweet, balanced fruity flavor, and a moist cake crumb.
If you are searching for a good fruitcake recipe, I would recommend trying this Orange Pineapple Walnut Fruitcake. You can find the recipe over at Baked Sunday Mornings, and please visit my fellow fruitcakers’ blogs to see if they liked it better than this scrooge! 😉
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, and thank you for reading my BSM posts in 2016– it’s hard to believe we will finish up Baked Occasions next year!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2016.