Winter Solstice Cake

In my household, we celebrate both the Winter Solsitce and Christmas, though the latter is predominantly celebrated with my partner’s family. One of the traditions in the US is holiday fruitcake, this brick of alcohol-soaked dried fruit stuck together in wheat glue that people fob off more as a gag gift (emphasis on “gag”) than with any intention of actually consuming it. Ostensibly, this tradition must have started with something that was actually not only edible, but enjoyable – else how would it have become ubiquitous?

Since I’m one of those odd ducks who likes mincemeat pie (when done properly, as wee, single-serving pies, anyway), I thought I would try my hand at a fruitcake. Below is a wheat-free (not gluten free, however!!) recipe for a dense, moist, and flavourful fruitcake that we actually enjoyed.

Winter Solstice Cake

6 c. mixed dried fruit (since the Reverend and I dislike raisins, we used dried cherries, apples, apricots, cranberries, and a bit of blueberries.)
2 T madeira
1 c. brown sugar
½ t. nutmeg
½ t. ground ginger
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
½ t. baking soda
1 oz chopped walnuts
1 c. butter
½ c. milk
3 eggs
½ t. vanilla essence
½ t. lemon essence
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
½ c. coconut flour
½ c. amaranth flour

Combine fruit, madeira, and sugar in non-reactive bowl and cover. Stand 2 hours or till whenever you feel up to making it. (Truly, though you should stick it in the refrigerator if you’re going to leave it more than a few hours.) Add spices, salt, soda, and nuts, mix well. Combine butter and milk and heat until butter is melted. Add to fruit mixture. Add beaten eggs, essences, and sifted flour. Combine thoroughly. Place into buttered cake tin lined with parchment. Bake in slow oven – about 275° F for about 1 ½ hours, or until toothpick comes out clean (check after 1 hour).

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