It was one of those days when liqueur was needed, but not for making chocolates! Hpnotiq liqueur, pictured below, probably does have exotic fruit juices as described on the bottle, but the primary flavor for me was the taste of refreshing grapefruit. Mmmm good.
This blue concoction is the brain child of Raphael Yakoby and was first created in New York. Seven years later, he sold the brand for $50 million. Not too shabby. For those of you who are interested in the success stories of entrepreneurs, read the New York Post article, Dream Job: Raphael Yakoby. It started with a unique yet relatively simple idea–create a blue liqueur. Despite having no business background, Yakoby was able to make his idea a reality and then a very successful one at that. Very inspirational!
So while contemplating Mr. Yakoby’s success, I got my ingredients together to make a Polish fruitcake. It’s not the heavy, molasses and potentially alcohol-laden American/British Christmas fruitcake. Instead, it’s a dense white loaf cake studded here and there with dried fruit, candied orange peel, and nut meats. Very tasty, yet not too sweet.
To make this cake, the first order of business is to get ready the dried fruits (e.g., raisins, dried apricots, dates, dried cranberries), candied orange peel, and chopped nut meats. I’m not a fan of nuts in desserts unless they are ground, so I didn’t include nuts in my batch. This time around, I only used raisins, candied orange peal, and dried apricots. Mix it all with a lot of flour. Shake it in a Ziploc bag to make it easier to coat all the pieces.
Then shake out the excess flour using a sieve. Watch out because there may be a lot of excess flour. Don’t reuse it–throw it out.
Prepare the flour mixture for the cake batter by sifting together flour, salt and baking powder. Next, pull out an electric mixer and cream together butter (softened/room temperature) and powdered sugar (i.e., confectioners sugar).
Beat on medium high speed for a couple of minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg yolks (one at a time) and vanilla extract into the butter mixture. On low speed, mix in the flour. At this point, it will look like thick cake batter.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, but do not over mix because you don’t want the meringue to be dry.
Then fold in the egg whites. That’s the part that I always have trouble with. I have a tendency to over mix and deflate the egg whites. But can you get the egg whites thoroughly mixed in without deflating the egg whites?!!
Carefully fold in the dried fruit mixture.
Transfer the ultra-thick batter to loaf pans lined with greased parchment paper. Use enough parchment paper so that there is an overhang, which will be your handles for removing the cakes from the pans. By the way, the recipe makes 2 loaves.
Smooth the tops with a small spatula.
Bake the loaves at two temperatures. First, bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. The tops should begin to brown. Then lower the temperature and bake at 325°F for another 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. If the cakes brown too fast, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
Remove the cakes from the pans using the parchment paper overhang after 10 minutes of cooling time. Place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, peel away the parchment paper. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
You can slice and serve when fresh, but this is not recommended.
Refrigerate the cakes overnight and serve the next day. This way, the flavors have time to settle in and mature.
This is one tasty fruitcake!!