chocolates and cakes

Fruit cakes

Ambrosia Fruitcake recipe</p>

Yields 4 1/2 pound cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup candied pineapple, chopped

1 cup candied cherries, chopped

1 cup dried apples, chopped

1/2 cup dried apricot, chopped

1/2 cup dates, chopped

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dark raisins

1 cup moist shredded coconut

2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

8 egg whites

In very large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, all the fruit and the nuts. Set aside.

Sift 2 cups flour and baking powder and set aside.

Cream butter and vanillla until fluffy. Add sugar in thirds, beating until fluffy after each addition.

Beating only until smooth after addition, alternately add dry the dry ingredients in fourths, liquids in thirds to the creamed mixture. Finally beat only until smooth. Do not over beat. Pour batter over the fruit mixture and mix thoroughly.

Beat the egg whites until rounded peaks are formed and egg whites do not slide when bowl is partially inverted.

Carefully spread the beaten egg whites over batter and fold together. Place a shallow pan containing 2 cups water on the bottom rack of the oven during baking time. Turn batter into a lightly greased 10 tube pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 275 degrees F for about 4 hours or until the cake tests done with a wooden pick.

Cool completely. Remove from the pan and store in an airtight container.

If desired, once or twice a week, using a pastry brush, paint the cake with brandy or rum and store again.

Apricot Brandy Fruitcake recipe

1 pound red glac cherries

1 pound green glac cherries

1 pound candied pineapple

2 boxes white raisins

1 (16 ounce) can peaches, minced, undrained

1 cup apricot brandy

2 cups butter

2 cups granulated sugar

11 eggs

1 pound pecans

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix cherries, pineapple, raisins, undrained peaches and

apricot brandy. Cover tightly and let stand overnight.

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add pecans, flour, vanilla extract, lemon extract and salt. Reserving juice from fruit mixture, add fruits to the other mixture. Line the bottoms of 4 bread pans with greased brown paper. Set a pan of water in the oven. Bake the bread for 2 to 4 hours at 300 degrees F.

Mix a little honey with the reserved juice mixture. When fruitcakes are cool, wrap in clean cheesecloth which has been soaked in the juice mixture. Store in refrigerator

Black Fruitcake recipe

This is an English cake. It is also known as Dark Fruitcake, English Fruitcake and Merry Christmas Cake.

1/4 pound candied citron

1/8 pound candied lemon peel

1/8 pound candid orange peel

1/2 pound candied cherries

1 pound candied pineapple

1 pound golden raisins

1/2 pound seeded raisins

1/4 pound currants

1/2 cup dark rum, cognac, sherry or Madeira

1/4 pound blanched shelled pecans

1/4 pound shelled walnuts or pecans

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

5 eggs

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

Prepare fruits and nuts a day ahead. Sliver the citron, lemon and orange peel into very thin strips; cut cherries in half and pineapple in thin wedges. Set aside.

Pick over raisins and currants to eliminate stray stems or seeds; add rum, cognac, sherry or Madeira, and soak overnight. Chop almonds and walnuts or pecans coarsely. Set them aside, also.

The following day, grease a 10-inch tube pan, four 1-pound coffee cans, or 2 bread pans measuring 9 x 5 x 3 inches. Line with brown paper.

To make the cake, mix 1/2 cup of the sifted flour with all the fruits and nuts in a large bowl. Sift remaining flour with spices and baking soda. Cream butter until soft, then work in granulated sugar and brown sugar, a little at a time, until mixture is smooth. Stir in the eggs, milk, almond extract and flour mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pour over the fruit and nuts and work together with your hands until batter is very well mixed. Lift the batter into the pan or pans and press it down firmly to make a compact cake when cooked. Bake at 275 degrees F. A tube pan that uses all the batter will take 3 1/4 hours. The bread pans, which will each hold half the batter, will take 2 1/4 hours. The coffee cans, which each hold one-fourth of the batter, will take 2 hours. Remove cakes from oven, let stand 30 minutes, then turn out onto cake racks. Peel off the brown paper very carefully. The four small, round cakes make attractive Christmas gifts.

To age fruitcakes, allow at least four weeks. Wrap each cake in several layers of cheesecloth well soaked in rum, cognac, sherry or Madeira. Place in an airtight container, such as a large crock or kettle, and cover tightly. If cheesecloth dries out, moisten it with a little of the wine or spirits. Do not overdo it. The cakes should be firm, not soft, at the end of the aging period. This will make them easy to slice in neat, compact slices. If you wish to frost fruitcakes after they have been properly aged, cover the top first with Almond Paste, then with Milk Frosting. To decorate, make a garland of candied cherries, slivered angelica, and blanched whole almonds around the edge of the cake.

Almond Paste

1 pound blanched almonds

1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted

3 egg whites

1 teaspoon almond extract or

2 teaspoons rose water

Work almonds through a food grinder or blend in an electric blender. Thoroughly mix in confectioners sugar. Beat egg whites slightly, then stir into the almond mixture. Add almond extract or rose water, using your hands to blend the heavy mixture.

Milk Frosting

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Then boil, without stirring, until a few drops tested in cold water form a soft ball. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, and beat until frosting is of spreading consistency. Spread over top of cake letting it dribble down the sides. If frosting becomes too stiff to spread, melt in top of double boiler over boiling water, then beat again.

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake recipe

Makes two 9-inch loaves

1 1/2 cups dried cherries (or cranberries)

1 1/2 cups red candied cherries (or other dried fruit)

1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons rum or brandy

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (regular or low fat)

1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Butter and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the dried cherries, candied cherries and 1/4 cup of the rum or brandy. Set aside for 1 hour.

Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated (if using an electric mixer, stop and scrape the bowl once or twice).

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, beat briefly, then add the buttermilk or yogurt, then the remaining flour. Mix just until smooth.

Stir in the cherries (and any unabsorbed liquor) and the nuts.

Pour the batter in to pans and bake for 65-70 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cakes are warm, pour 3 tablespoons of rum or brandy over each cake. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.

If you arere not going to serve the cakes within a few days, you can either freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap for 3-4 months, or brush them all over with lots of additional liquor, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place.

Gumdrop Fruitcake recipe

1 pound pitted dates

1/4 pound candied cherries

3 sliced candied pineapple

5 red gumdrops (regular size)

5 green gumdrops (regular size)

3 orange slice candies

2 cups chopped pecans

2 (4 1/2 ounce) cans moist coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cut fruit and gumdrops into small pieces. Dredge with the flour.

Add coconut and milk. Add nuts and mix well. Pour into a greased 8- or 9-inch tube pan which has been lined with wax paper. Bake at 250 degrees F for about 60 minutes.