Preserving Tradition: Part II

Guyanese Fruit Cake

I’m very excited to follow-up on this post from mid-September about a family tradition of a rich and dense Guyanese fruitcake. I decided to up the baking time by a couple weeks in case baby makes a timely appearance and I was just so excited to see how this cake would work out. While the cake recipe comes from Canadian Living I was able to nab the original recipe, which was really helpful as it turns out there is not one but two different kinds of icing!

According to the recipe, various dried fruits are pulsed in the food processor and soaked in rum for almost 2 months, stirred daily and continuously topped with rum. Life got in the way and the mixture was lucky to be stirred once a week, but I always ensured it was covered in rum.

Here is the entire recipe, mostly from Canadian Living with some family adaptations to the icing.

1 3/4 cup raisins

1 3/4 cup currants

1 1/2 cup prunes

1/2 cup candied mixed peel

2 1/2 cups rum

1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup butter

3 eggs

1/2 tsp almond extract (I used my homemade cherry pit liqueur a la What Julia Ate)

2 cups all purpose flour (I made mine Gluten Free using this flour blend mixture from Land O’ Lakes)

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup chopped red glace cherries

Roll/Tube of Marzipan

3 cups icing sugar

1/4 cup water

1/8 tsp almond extract

1. In a food processor, pulse dried fruit together until it forms a thick paste. Move to a deep bowl and stir in 2 cups of rum. Cover and let sit for up to 2 months. Stir occasionally and add more rum to keep the fruit mixture covered. This step was covered in this blog post.

2. In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Do not add water. Stir frequently and let it come to a boil for 1 minute. While it’s considered the “burnt sugar” step, I stirred frequently and moved quickly so it wouldn’t have an acrid, burnt flavour. Once it’s boiled, move fast and pour it into your dried fruit/booze mixture. It’ll harden quite quickly, which is alright. Stir to break up chunks.

Getting there…

Next, boil for 1 minute and move quickly to pour into dried fruit mixture.

3. Mix flour, baking powder, spices and chopped almonds together. Set aside.

4. In a deep mixing bowl, combine the butter and remaining brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs in one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add in extract.

Eggy, Buttery, Sugary Mixture

4. Carefully stir in half of your dried mixture, stirring until well incorporated before adding more flour mixture.

Nearly There.

5. Stir in dried fruit/burnt sugar mixture and chopped glace cherries.

6. In a double parchment paper lined, 9″ springform pan, pour your fruitcake and smooth top. My pan was non-stick, so I only lined the bottom of the pan, but if need be, line the entire cake pan with parchment paper. Nothing would be worse than waiting this long and working this hard to have your cake stuck to your pan! Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours, covering with tin foil in the last hour if your cake is getting brown too quickly.

Ready for the Oven.

7. The cake is ready when it begins to pull away from the sides and a toothpick comes out clean. Leave it to rest about 10 minutes before poking holes in the cake with a skewer and brushing more rum on the cake. Leave the cake to rest in the springform pan for a full 24 hours.

8. After the cake is rested and removed from pan, top the cake with a layer of marzipan. I cheated and bought some premade marzipan that was rolled on the top.

Marzipan Layer.

9. Fill the sink with hot water, spoon 3 cups of icing sugar into a pot and gently rest in the hot water. The heat will help cook off the flavour of the cornstarch (or so says my family recipe!). Stir in 1/4 cup warm water and a splash of almond extract. Stir until smooth and while it’s still warm, spoon over the top of the cake, not worrying whether some glaze falls on the side of the cake.

10. Cover the top with parchment paper and then tin foil. The cake can be stored at room temperature for 3 months in an air-tight container, or freezes really well.

Ice Ice Baby

So there you have it! It’s a fair amount of work, but the results are impressive and the taste is incredible. Plus, the bulk of my Christmas baking is now complete.

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One thought on “Preserving Tradition: Part II

  1. Thanks for sharing Lindsay! I haven’t tried yours but the ones my families at church make me are delicious- wonderful to know the tradition and work behind it. I look forward to trying it someday!

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