Mini Creole Christmas Fruitcakes with Whiskey Sauce

Total Time:
1 hr 50 min
1 hr
50 min

12 mini fruitcakes

  • For the simple syrup:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • About 3 tablespoons lemon zest, cut into strips, not minced (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 lemons, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
  • For the cake:
  • 1 pound of a combination of dried fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, cherries, raisins and chopped apricots
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces almond paste
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup orange-flavored liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
  • 4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • Whiskey Sauce, recipe follows
For the cake:
  • Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the lemon zest and juice and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from the heat. Remove the strips of lemon zest and discard the zest. Set syrup aside.

  • Combine the dried fruits together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the simple syrup over them, toss to coat, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain and reserve the syrup.

  • Cream the butter, sugar, and almond paste together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at low speed, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat until the mixture is fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing in between each addition on low speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1/2 cup of the orange liqueur and mix to incorporate.

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium-size mixing bowl and blend well. Add this mixture 1/2 cup at a time to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed, each time mixing until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The batter will be thick.

  • Add the warm fruit and all the nuts a little at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Lightly grease 12 mini disposable loaf pans (about 3 1/2 inches by 5 3/4 inches). Divide the batter evenly between the pans, about 1 cup each. Bake until golden and the tops spring back when touched, 35 to 40 minutes (rearranging them after 25 minutes if necessary to brown evenly).

  • Cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove cakes from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

  • Wrap each cake in a layer of cheesecloth. Store in plastic storage bags until they are slightly stale, 3 to 4 days.

  • Combine the reserved simple syrup with the remaining 1/2 cup Grand Marnier and the bourbon. Without removing the cheesecloth, make tiny holes with a toothpick randomly on the top of each cake. Pour 2 tablespoons of the syrup over the top of each cake once every 2 to 3 days until all of the syrup is used. Let the cakes age for up to 3 weeks before eating. Wrap cakes well in a decorative manner if giving as gifts.

  • Serve the cakes with the Whiskey Sauce.

Whiskey Sauce:
  • 3 cups heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup bourbon

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • Combine 2 1/4 cups of the cream with the bourbon and sugar in a medium-size nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

  • In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/4 cup cream. Add this to the cream-and-bourbon mixture and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve warm with the fruitcake.

  • The sauce may be stored, after it has cooled, in an airtight container for 24 hours. When ready to serve, warm over low heat.

  • Yield: about 3 cups

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    This recipe is featured in:

    The Best Christmas Recipes