1 pound 2 ounces candied fruit/golden raisins (See Recipe Notes)
16 tablespoons (224 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons (228 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 1/2 tablespoon dry sherry, plus more for curing (See Recipe Notes)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces chopped nuts (See Recipe Notes)
About the fruit
I like to use 1 pound candied fruits, and 2 ounces golden raisins. I used Paradise brand candied fruits, and found them on Amazon.
About the nuts
In place of nuts, you can use more fruit. If I do use nuts, I alternate between chopped raw almonds and chopped pecans. Walnuts are also good. Soft nuts like pecans and walnuts will soften further over time. Almonds generally won’t.
About the spirits
Dry sherry really gives a nice fruity flavor. If you must avoid alcohol, you can use alcohol-free vanilla extract (imitation vanilla extract is probably your best bet).
Instructions for curing the baked fruit cake with dry sherry, brandy, rum, or your favorite gluten free spirit are in the recipe below.
To make simple syrup
Cook 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1/2 cup of water (or another amount in that proportion) over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture just begins to thicken.
To flavor the syrup, add some citrus rind to the mixture while it cooks. Allow the mixture to cool completely and store in a container at room temperature.
Grease a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan, and line in with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
First prepare the fruit. If you’re using any larger fruit, like pineapple pieces or cherries, cut them into smaller pieces. Slice the cherries in half and chop the pineapple pieces into a 1/4-inch dice. Place all of the fruits (including dried fruits, like raisins) in a colander and rinse with cold water, and set them aside to drain.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a very large bowl with a hand mixer and beat it until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the granulated sugar, and beat again until fluffy.
With the mixer on low speed, beating continuously to combine, add 2 of the eggs, then half the flour, the remaining eggs and the sherry, then the remaining flour, the salt, and the lemon zest. Continue to beat the batter on medium speed until well-combined.
Add the prepared fruit and chopped nuts, and mix until the pieces are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a moistened spatula.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180° and continue to bake until the cake is firm to the touch all the way to the center, about another 30 minutes. The cake will be very moist, and since you’re baking at such a low temperature, the outside is very unlikely to burn. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack, still in the pan, for about 10 minutes.
If you plan to douse the cake in spirits or simple syrup, pour about 1 tablespoon of the liquid on the top, another tablespoon on the bottom, and wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap. Return it to the pan, and allow it to cool completely as is. Once cool, store the cake in a cool, dry, dark location (not in the sun), removing it from the plastic every other day for a week, and then once a week and dousing it with more spirits or simple syrup, then wrapping it tightly again and storing it in the pan until ready to serve.
If you don’t plan to cure the cake, remove it from the pan and place it directly on the wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Even if you’re not planning to cure the cake, you can wrap it tightly once it’s cool and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks before serving.
Adapted heavily from Jeffrey Steingarten’s The Smith Family White Fruitcake from The Man Who Ate Everything (Vintage Books 1998).