Recipe titles can be hard. I couldn’t think of any other way to describe this recipe, because I wanted to emphasize that there are options on how you bake it. I was in the mood to experiment, wanting to see what would work best. I’ve made this recipe as regular fruitcake in the past, but for many, fruitcake seems to have become a dirty word… there’s just too many jokes about it. Besides that, I am not sure that this really is a fruitcake. It has plenty of fruit, nuts and rum, but it also has plenty of cake, and the cake is nice and soft. Such a dilemma…what to call it? First, let me show you what I ended up with:
There are mini cupcakes, cookies and small loaves. The loaves make good Christmas gifts and the cookies will be great on a cookie plate. My favorite though, are the mini cupcakes..aren’t they cute? I tried to not get carried away with sprinkles but I do think they make everything look more festive.
If you make this batter for cookies, keep the dough mounded, they spread. They end up a nice soft cookie and the taste is deep chocolate with the hint of rum. The dried cherries and dates add the fruit flavors and of course they had to have chocolate chips and nuts. There is also a little brandy or rum, your choice. I used dark rum because that is what I had. Very holiday-ish…that may not be a proper word but they definitely have a holiday flavor as far as I’m concerned.
Chocolate Fruitcake with Dried Fruit and Baked Multiple Ways
Yield and baking times:
4-3×5 small loaves, Baked 45 min.
18 cookies (using a #24 cookie scoop which is 3 Tbsp of dough, do not flatten), Baked 14 min.
24 mini cupcakes, Baked 10 min.
You can also bake in 2-9 inch loaf pans for 65-70 min.
Your times may vary, as not all ovens bake the same.
For the batter
1 1/2 cups dried cherries (or cranberries)
1 1/2 cups dates, chopped
1/4 cup brandy or dark rum (I used rum)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup 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 (I used mini chips)
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the dried cherries, dates and rum or brandy. Set aside for 1 hour.
Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Prepare pans by spraying with baking spray or lining with parchment paper.
Either by hand, or with an electric mixer, 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 dates (and any un-absorbed liquor), chocolate chips and the nuts.
If you make mini loaves, while they are still warm, pour 1 tablespoon of rum or brandy over each cake. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack.
If you’re not going to serve within a few days, you can freeze them, well wrapped in plastic wrap.
I frosted the cookies (18) and the mini cupcakes (24) with the following frosting:
Chocolate Rum Buttercream
1 stick butter, room temperature
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp dark rum (or brandy)
3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup milk
Blend butter and cocoa powder in a large bowl until soft and well combined. Add the rum, confectioner’s sugar and milk and beat on low until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add more milk or rum if the mixture is too thick, or more sugar if it’s too thin.