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Fruitcake extraordinaire prepared from Philippe Rochat's own recipe.

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You have to hand it to them, when it comes to fruitcakes, the English have no equals. But I made this one following a recipe by Philippe Rochat, my favorite chef who also makes this delicious Strawberry Sorbet. For Christmas he sells these cakes through Globus, our local luxury food mart. They are as serious as a fruitcake can get, rich, juicy and soaked in alcohol.

Serious Fruitcake
200gr 1/2lbs butter
200gr 1/2lbs cake flour
200gr 1/2lbs fine sugar
3 egs
8gr/ 1tbsp baking powder
30gr / 1oz almond powder
30gr / 1oz walnuts
350gr / 10oz candied fruit
60gr rhum
For the syrup:
100gr sugar
100gr water
150gr rhum

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I will use this jar of candied fruits I bought at G. Detout in Paris. If you make your own candied fruits or know a confectioner who does, use it. Is there something to these fruits' garish colors? We'll see in a minute.

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Weight about 350gr/ 11 oz of fruits.

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Chop them into cubes but keep the cherries intact.

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We want to soak our fruits with rhum, so let's macerate them for a couple hours. Sorry for the rhum I used, I know it is one of the most prized rhums in the world and usually not seen as cake fodder, but it's the only one I could find. People who know how much this bottle cost will think I'm nutty as a fruitcake.

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In a nutshell, the secret of a good cake is a combination of candied fruits and nuts. Break the walnuts open and measure 60 grams / 2 oz.

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Our ingredients on my moroccan gsâa. Clockwise from the top: candied fruit having their last glass of rhum, walnuts fresh off the shell, almond powder from the fridge, butter, sugar, flour in the three eggs in the center. Ready to roll.

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Work the butter until it is soft but not melted. You can take it out of the fridge an hour before, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds or give your forearms a workout, but whatever you do, do not use melted butter. We need butter in the precise consistency French pastry chefs call beurre pommade or 'butter in ointment consistency'.

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Add the sugar ...

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... and work it into the butter.

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Our supporting cast is lined up behind the stage door.

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Let the eggs join in ...

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... then the flour, baking and almond powders. Work everything to a smooth mixture with a paddle.

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Mix the rhum the rhum you have used to soak the candied fruits in. Damned fruits, they show their duplicity now. The green coloring used on the Angelica stems has leaked into the rhum.

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After the candied fruits had one for the road, drain them.

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They are ready for their last drop.

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Time to work the paddle again ...

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... until you get a smooth mixture.

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Start filling your cake pan with the dough. If you use a metal pan, line it up with baking paper or at least grease and flour to ensure a smooth future for your cake. You can make three small cakes or a large one with these proportions.

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My pan is filled. In it goes in the oven preheated to 200°C/400°F. How long? For a small cake about 30 minutes, for a large cake up to 60 minutes. The only way to make sure is to dip a skewer or sharp knife into the cake after 30 minute and every 10 minutes after that. Remove the cake only when the knife exits the fruitcake with a dry blade. That means the fruitcake's goose is cooked and he's ready to exit the oven and be eaten. If you see the top become very dark, wrap it in foil and continue baking until the inside is no longer sticky.

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Remove to a cooling rack and unmold as soon as the cake is hard enough to hold together. If you like the idea of a cooking rack but fear it might be too expensive for you, you can buy one at Ikea, a Swedish furniture retailer, for less than 10$.

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We will now prepare a syrup to soak the baked cake in spiritual sweetness. Melt 100grams/3 oz sugar in 100grams/30z water and heat to make was French confectioners call a '30 degrees syrup'.

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Wait until it is cold so as not to break the rhum's spirit, then pour the syrup into a bowl.

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Add the rhum you have used to soak the candied fruits in. Damned fruits, they show their lies now. The green coloring used on the Angelica stems has colored my rhum.

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Soak the cake in the rich rhum syrup. Readers should not be alarmed to see the cake darken as it sucks up the rhum, this is quite normal and the serious gourmet should have nothing against fruitcakes of a darker complexion.

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Don't forget to let the cake's sides soak up some syrup too. At first it might look like you've made way too much syrup, but after 15 minutes or so, most will have disappeared inside the fruitcake.

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Ready to eat or to wrap and offer as a gift. Although it is very traditional, this particular recipe was designed by Swiss chef Philippe Rochat as food to be taken on an expedition by Mike Horn, an adventurer and friend of the chef. It is juicy, rich and fragrant - a very serious fruitcake indeed.


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  • #1
  • Comment by Paul Mckenna
Wow what a cake !
In England the cake gets skewered to allow the syrup/alcohol easy entry to the centre of the cake.

What is the "shelf life" of this cake ?
I ask as people bake a Christmas cake months before the date and soak and mature until presentation.
This was an expedition cake so it would have to last a while.

  • #2
  • Comment by Nikki
Gee FX, you're the only one I know that can turn something dreaded at Christmas into something that looks pretty darn yummy... I'm going to have to try that recipe and blow a few over-boasting relatives away at the holidays.  :D
Just absolutely perfectagain, I can taste itbut I could never get fruit such as yours here.  never...What was the green stuff? Angelica stems? Don't know of it.I wish I could have just one thin slice with an espresso. Just ONE LITTLE PIECE... is that so much to ask?
I may be one of the rare people who get excited about fruitcake.  This version looks wonderful, especially with all that rum.  I'm intrigued by the green candied fruit.  I've never heard of angelica before -- what does it taste like?
  • #5
  • Comment by Felix
HiI am a fine dining waiter in a one star restaurant in berlin, and I came across your site a few weeks ago and since ive read every article, especially a big fan of the big pictures.I thought maybe you could make a sauce bearnaise? I've been looking for a recipe with pictures online and couldnt find one...Maybe you could also send me a couple links to sites or food blogs u find interesting.... :)Anyway, keep up the good work
  • #6
  • Comment by Luke
The last bottle of Rhum JM that I've seen ran for almost 100 USD. (Something like 60 Euros, I do believe). That must have been one hell of an amazing fruitcake.

There's one thing I must ask: on the spectrum of syrup-doused cake hardness, 1 - 10 scale, 1 being as tender as spongecake in treacle and 10 being a granite cudgel (like American fruitcake), what would you rate this this fruitcake's hardness as? The reason I ask is that I've never had fruitcake in Europe, and the American variety is so hard you'd think it were just some bread used as a matrix to crystallize sugar in.
  • #7
  • Comment by iztok
Great cake. It is just like my grandma used to make for xmas. The only difference is that she used whiskey instead of rum. I will make this cake tomorrow. I bet it will bring some memories back. Btw love your site and have two questions for you:- Where did you get this superb mixing bowl you use in this recipe? I would sell my soul... ;)- How do you keep your gaggenau burnes so clean? mine are totaly black after a week of cooking? this refers to other posts on this site where one can see gaggenau stovetop...
I am a fruitcake fanatic and greatly impressed that you are making it now. Is there any particular reason that you use the gsaa and paddle vs. a mixer?
  • #9
  • Comment by Krish
Just to mention that absolutely love your site.
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
Paul, you ask very good questions I can't unfortunately answer! Fruitcakes on a spit-roast, the height of decadence. I should try this, but all of my syrup was soaked up within minutes. True, the cake's core did not get any and had to make do with what I had put in the dough. I don't think this cake will last more than a day in a kitchen unless you keep it under lock and key!
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Nikki, thanks for your comment, for us Swiss an English fruitcake is somewhat exotic, and if you use good quality ingredients it's quite tasty. Good luck if you try it!
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
Claudia, these are the stems of Angelica Archangelica, a large member of the umbelliferae family and one of the few you can actually eat. See my Angelica Archangelica Pie article for more details.
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Allen, thanks for visiting and read my Angelica Archangelica Pie article for more details on this fine woodland plant.
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
Felix, thanks for your email and appreciation! Actually I have a béarnaise-from-scratch article ready to publish and it will come in the next 10 days. Watch out!
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
Luke, the JM bottle you saw as a real bargain! The cake was not very soft, I would say 7 to 8 on your hardness scale. I think juicy is more important than soft. Some of these bought fruitcakes are so dry you'd think you just bit a piece of wood. But here with the candied fruits gorged in rhum the cake is rather juicy. However, it holds together fine and you don't need any laser beam to slice it by fear of having the whole thing collapse!
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Iztok, thank you for visiting! Whiskey sounds like a a sound alternative to rhum. The mixing bowl is called a gsaa, and I bought it from an artisan in Marakech where they use it to wet couscous grains. It's a great buy and I have decided to bet buried with it as I'm sure I won't find a better one in the afterlife! Yes them gas burners can get dirty but you just put them in the washing machine. Otherwise, you can wrap parts of your stove in foil to help with the cleaning. I hope this helps!
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
Callipygia, I did use the gsaa because it's more fun  and way more photogenic than looking down in the stainless steel bucket of my Kenwood Major. Also, many people don't have such a mixer in their kitchen, so it shows that you could do this on any surface. But of course you can use your mixer to the same effect faster!
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Krish, thank you for your visit!
  • #19
  • Comment by Dean
Brilliant article as always.
I have really fond memories of my grandma's fruitcake that she used to bake every Saturday. If i was lucky enough to be there when it came out of the oven she would cut me off a piece and i would eat it warm with a generous helping of butter. I think i will try baking this at the weekend along with the Ragu Finto recipe.
Fantastic recipe. It doesn't has to be christmas to bake and to eat this cake. I have a recipe too and mine is seriously good but I still try yours.
  • #21
  • Comment by Agatha
OH MY GOD, this fruit cake looks delicious, nothing like my usual dry stuff hehehe... I will HAVE to try it this weekend :-)
  • #22
  • Comment by jiyin
Francois, I'm confused.  It seems that you add the fruit-soaking rum twice -- once into the batter, and then again into the syrup which saturates ths cake.  Are we to drain the fruits, reserve the rum, divide it in half and use one half for each purpose?  

I hope this mystery is resolved -- the cake looks enchantingly beautiful and I would love to try to make it!
  • #23
  • Answered by fx
Dean, thanks for your comment! This and the ragù finto and you'll be set for a whole week of fasting!  Fruitcake straight out of your grandma's oven with a piece of butter sounds like heaven.
  • #24
  • Answered by fx
Titania, thanks for visiting and good luck with your fruitcake!
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
Agatha, if it's dry, drown it in rhum!
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
Jiyin, I first used the rhum to soak the fruits, as the recipes calls for rhum-soaked candied fruits. My candied fruits did not drink all the rhum I soaked them in, so, as more rhum was needed, I used what remained from the fruit soaking first in the batter according to the quantities specified, then in the syrup. I hope that's clear. If not clear, just follow the proportions rather than the pictures.
I love the fruitcake.  I especially love the candied fruit the way it's done and would love to find a recipe for creating this.  I haven't seen a combination like this in Canada.  It's wonderful
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
Gizmar, I've always wanted to candy my own fruits but never found a precise recipe. All I know is that the fruits are first boiled, then simmered in sugar solutions of increasing concentration.
  • #29
  • Comment by Molin

Wow. yummy cake. Don't we have to use any flour raiser like baking powder etc?
  • #30
  • Answered by fx
Molin, nope, no baking powder in this cake.
  • #31
  • Comment by sqjam
Oh my

Fx, this is one of the best site i ever visited. Love your writing style with all this enthusiasm. And look of this site is just amazing; it's clean and logical. And I believe that we all just love these big pictures.
Keep up the good work.

Cheers from Slovenia ;)
  • #32
  • Answered by fx
Damir, thanks for visiting and I'm glad you enjoy the large pictures! It certainly made a big change to my monthly bandwidth bill. A picture is worth a hundred words, but words download a damned lot faster!
  • #33
  • Comment by TZ
FX--I happened upon your site while googling "miguettes" to figure out why my neighbors built a huge iron fence around their property (thanks for that answer BTW).  It's great! Since I have appointed you as my local food guide: Where do you find "cake flour" here? What is it called locally?  I have searched all the stores, including Globus and can't find it.  

I love all the Swiss topics, very educational for a wanna-be Vaudoise.  Thanks!
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
TZ thanks for visiting! Cake flour is regular white flour - not the one for bread that contains too much gluten and would make a chewy cake, but the plain 'Farine Blanche'. I hope this helps!
  • #35
  • Comment by Cecilia
Wow! That rum cost 228 Euros! O_O , I would have lick the bowl/syrup clean if I was you .... amazing recipe nonetheless, I'd be great if you posted it during Christmas :)
  • #36
  • Comment by james vaughnn
FX! my parents loved this recipe sooo much! thank you for sharing this to aspiring chefs like me! have you ever tried using brown sugar for it though? i tried making this in two batches- the first is the original recipe, the second uses muscovado sugar (i don't know if "muscovado" is a universal term, but in any case, it's a certain type of commercial sugar that has molasses added into it) and LESS rum (i'm still not allowed to drink hard liquor. haha). the latter came out really dark and especially rich, and it keeps well in the fridge (we live in a tropical country). i'll try to use my country's indigenous fruits for my next fruitcake (dried mangoes and the like), and i'll tell you what happens. :-) thank you again!
  • #37
  • Answered by fx
Cecilia, yes it's one expensive rhum! Please bookmark this recipe to cook for next Christmas.
  • #38
  • Answered by fx
James, thanks for trying this! I love muscovado sugar and we get loads of it around here, sounds like a great idea to increase the caramel flavors, and I think it must work really well with the rhum.
it does, and the results are really delicious. thank you for posting this recipe! i shall refer all of my friends to your site! :-)
Hoping to do more with sites, and will have a

> Lower Cholesterol without drugs...cookbook, sold,

Not for Profit or gain...

I like your site, but just found it too, so I'll be back to get a few recipes.

I am including my recipe for Tandoori Chicken, using a Tangine, so did a search and found you and your tandoor--didn't know there was one!

Are you a chef?

Eleanor  (oh, your fruit cake recipe looks very good..I wish I had found it last Christmas..I have had only store bought, but did lace it with Amaretto..., in a crock for 1 month...

And..who are you, anyway.

Sorry, I cannot help with French (Canadian though), but do know a very nice gal, that is in charge of the French Department in a popular high school in Truro, NS, Canada..

CEC (Cobequid Educational Centre) and they could make it a French project!!!!  She is married now, so Karen was Karen Berzowski..you may call, and/or I will check it out.

YOur site looks worthy enough!

Here in Portugal we have the known english cake, which is a fruitcake like that one.
The difference is that it's dough is darker and  more closed. More or less like the texture of cornbread, but soft like I suppose yours is.
Your blog is quite interesting.
If you havent tried the portuguese recipes, namely from convents, then you should :-)

Kind regards,

  • #42
  • Answered by fx
José, thanks for visiting! What is the most complete, authentic and detailed book about portuguese cuisine (in Portuguese or another language)?
  • #43
  • Comment by s.p.marcus
Beautiful pictures!  Thanks for the article, too.  I plan to run out and buy that scale.
  • #44
  • Answered by fx
Marcus, thanks and I am confident you won't be disappointed with your learning by-weight recipes!
  • #45
  • Comment by EMİNE
I love your site, this is most succesfull site ı've ever seen.Perfect pictures, nice recipes...Thank you  François
  • #46
  • Answered by fx
Emine, thanks for visiting and now it's time to get cooking to transform what you read on the screen into real dishes in your kitchen!
  • #47
  • Comment by isaak h
wow!  yo tengo que hacer y probar esta delicia!!! muchas gracias por la receta. eres super!
  • #48
  • Answered by fx
Isaak, gracias por tu visita, tienes razon, este es un delicio!
  • #49
  • Comment by Geoff Ball
Wow, I remember making fruitcake with both my mom and grandmother as a child.  

We used to make two types of fruitcake, one light like yours and another very much darker made with raisins and currants.  The darker was always much, much, juicier.

One thing that they always did was make it a few months ahead of time. Then they covered it in tin foil and sealed them in a plastic bag and froze it. (something about allowing the rum to soak throughout the cake and the juices and flavours to mix.

Growing up I loved fruitcake. Now 99% of them are just terrible, goes to show, there are somethings that you can't make quickly or en masse.
  • FX's answer→ Geoff, are you sure the freezing is indispensible? Could we not just doze the cake with rhum, then wrap it tightly and store it for a couple weeks for the flavors to combine?

  • #51
  • Comment by sets
ooooh fruitcake. Serious business.
Only mine begins three years prior to baking when I start dumping all sorts of stuff into brandy. The product resembles the baker -- dark, dense, unpredictable and salami-like. I was looking for something very serious but on the other end of the spectrum. Thanks for this.
  • FX's answer→ Sets, this sounds like a great idea. Do you throw candied fruits in the brandy, or just dried fruits?

  • #53
  • Comment by Alex
Hi FX!
How about using dried fruit instead of candied fruit in this cake?
  • FX's answer→ No way Alex, this is totally different, you'd end up with some fruit bread. Not the same thing!

  • #55
  • Comment by sets
Thanks, FX, a reply to #51:

I use my fruits candied, dried or fresh depending on their type, availability and the desired effect. I candy my citrus peels to remove the bitterness. Fresh Ume (or windfall quince) go in first and are taken out after a few months. Part of the fruit brandy is set aside for aperitif. Apples go in fresh and stay in the cake. Most other fruits are added dry, or after they have been used to produce fruit liquor. The idea is to keep the water content low to avoid spoilage. You really don't know what you might run into during the process -- nice kidney fat or wild berries from the bush. I once added the wrong spices and the whole batch turned into curry!

I saw your video post, very nice and informative. Keep it up!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, this sounds very good indeed! Amazing how in Japan people use much less sugar - very healthy too...

  • #57
  • Comment by sets
FX: mind you, I use lots of sugar for this stuff, for flavor extraction and as preservative.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks sets!

I have been lusting after a wooden gsaa since I saw yours on here - finally, after a holiday in Morocco, I have one, bought for 22 euros from a little shop in the Central Market in Rabat that sells kitchen equipment and baskets. They are much more photogenic than moulinex that's for sure but there is also the sensual pleasure of using them, for instance mixing up the couscous with your hands.

A tiny detail - the traditional gsaa is carved out of the wood with an adze, not turned, so it has a little natural irregularity - you can feel the bumps with your fingers though the eye may not see them. (We did see some turned ones in Marrakesh.)

So thanks very much FX, because I was looking for a gsaa all the time, we managed not to buy any carpets :-)
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Andrea, please send me a picture of your gsaa!

  • #61
  • Comment by Marshall
Do you have a Web Site for purchasing a Moroccan Gsaa?
  • #62
  • Comment by passing
well, too sweetened.

you can soak your cake with a kind of apple brandied apple juice.
That doesn't need adding some sugar except some special ones.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for letting us know what needs and doesn't need to be added to cakes. I think the apple juice and brandy might work fine, I'll think about it.

  • #64
  • Comment by Krish
Serious Fruitcake
200gr 1/2lbs butter
200gr 1/2lbs cake flour
200gr 1/2lbs fine sugar
3 egs
8gr/ 1tbsp baking powder
30gr / 1oz almond powder
30gr / 1oz walnuts
225gr  glace red cherries
60gr Orange Juice

For the syrup:
100gr sugar
100gr water
100gr Orange Juice

Ok. Always meant to bake this and now did it during this holiday period. We could not get candied fruit in the shops here hence we just did it with glace red cherries. Also did not have rhum so my wife suggested Orange Juice. Measurement given above. We did not soak the red cherries. Barring that we followed your recipe as described above except we used electric beater to cream butter, sugar and eggs.  
And boy did we get a serious fruit cake here.

Cooking time differs markedly here. This is what we did. We pre-heated the oven at 200°C and put in the mix. After exactly 30 mins, we wrap the cake in foil and baked for another 20 mins.

We feel that we can reduce the glace cherries quantity to 150gms from 225gms and reduce the amount sugar in the syrup. I have to admit that the Orange juice was a very welcoming addition compared to expensive rhum. I am not even sure if this can be bought here.

This is one seriously delicious fruit cake I ever had. Thanks again for such a wonderful recipe.
  • FX's answer→ Fantastic, I am really glad it worked for you! The baking time might be off in my recipe, best insert a skewer in the cake from time to time until it exits the cake fully dry - then it's baked. Next time try with eau-de-vie or Whiskey, unless you are cooking for T-totallers. It really brings it to a whole new level.

  • #66
  • Comment by Bruce of Oz
Greetings from Oz, FX!!

"All roads lead to Rome..." And all cooking web-searches lead to FX!!  How pleasantly surprised I was today when, searching for some general hints & tips on fruitcake, I chanced on your familiar web-banner!

I'd not seen your "Serious Fruitcake" entry. I solemnly hail fruitcake as The Emperor of Cakes, there is simply NONE better!  It's been a lifelong addiction, started by an aunty who baked me one every birthday when I was young.  Anyone who doesn't enjoy fruitcake is really not quite part of Civilisation!

I will definitely try this version from you and M.Rochat. I am more used to the more conventional, darker fruit cake, usually associated with Christmas and weddings. I made one of those just today.  It needs to rest for at least 4-6 weeks before being iced and eaten..   Thus, I have a perfect excuse to make your "Serious", ready-to-eat version in the meantime!

What's more, it contains one of my other Top Five Favourite flavours - rum!  What a winner, I'm so pleased you posted this entry.

But you must try one of the darker ones someday, FX!  I can send you a great recipe if you need one.  It's worth making just for the aroma of all the fruit marinating in rum and brandy  -  a few deep breaths of that and one feels 10 years younger!

Thanks again, good sir, kindest regards

Bruce of Oz
  • #67
  • Comment by Bruce of Oz
Dear FX  :   hmm, this fruitcake has been playing on my mind lately.  I must get moving and make this soon!

What a larder your must have, FX... I loved the way you said Rhum MJ was "the only one you could find!!".  I'm envious!!

When are we going to hear from you again? I used to love popping into your site on a Friday evening and being instantly inspired to reach for higher heights in my cooking!

Still photos are fine. Personally I prefer them!  And they will save you energy!

Al the very best!   Bruce of Oz
Fantastic recipie- I sent to printer and it all printed off so I have pages of large Colour pictures and an unhappy husband, so have to cook the cake now to make up for all the ink!!!
Years ago we grew Angelica, the green stuff! An enormous plant which we tried to glaze- if memory serves me right it was definately green but not that green!!!
Luckily it can be bought, along with whole glazed fruit from our village in the Usle of Man- now that is rare. Thanks for the wonderful recipie, I will post my results. Petrina
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Petrina!
    I love the Angelica plant but have never tried to candy its stem myself, they might add some food coloring anyway I suspect.

  • #70
  • Comment by Alma
This cake is awesome! It is a firm family favorite and I bake 2 at a time as it is so quick and easy to prepare.
Even non fruit cake lovers are converted!:) ( Must be the rum!!)
Greetings from lovely Cape Town South Africa
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Alma for your praise! Glad you like it.

I'm the only one around me that loves fruitcake, but this I must make.

I can see now why you use the wide low mixing bowl, I like.
  • FX's answer→ Yes those low mixing bowls are also nice for photography and more scenic to use, they make a mini landscape in your kitchen!

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