Fruitcake is perhaps the most highly contested of all holiday treats. With a reputation for being overly dense and not very tasty, it’s no wonder the humble dessert has made a name for itself as the gift no one actually wants to receive.
There is no reason to shun the cake completely, though, as it has plenty of potential to be a truly decadent and delicious holiday treat with this revamped version for the modern age.
For the cake
- 1¾ sticks butter, at room temperature plus 2 tablespoons for pans
- 8 ounces pitted dates, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
For the glaze
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup coconut rum
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Heat oven to 325˚F, and butter three 9-inch round cake pans.
- In a small pot, combine the dates, lemon juice, and ¾ cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer gently until the dates begin to soften.
- Set the mixture aside to cool, and in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and tarragon until blended. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla and cooled date mixture.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the bowl, mixing at low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans, and pour the batter into three cake pans.
- Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pans and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze by whisking together butter, powdered sugar, rum, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle the glaze between each layer, and a generous amount on top of the cake.