With Tu B’Shvat approaching, there’s no better time to bake a traditional fruitcake. The following recipe is taken from my website, unofficialharrypottercookbook.com (in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, the recipe substitutes apple juice for brandy so kids can eat it too). This cake hails from Scotland, so it doesn’t call for fruit from the shivas haminim, except, coincidentally, raisins. Feel free to substitute chopped dates and figs for any of the dried fruit.
Makes one 9-inch cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1½ half sticks (12 tablespoons) butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Juice and zest of 1 orange
¼ cup marmalade
1/4 cup brandy
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup currants or dried sweetened cranberries
¼ cup chopped candied cherries, optional
Whole raw almonds for covering the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep and set aside. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated. Add the almond extract and beat until combined. Add the orange zest and juice and the marmalade and beat until combined. Add the brandy and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture at the lowest speed until combined, scraping down the sides. Stir in the dark raisins, golden raisins, currants or cranberries, and candied cherries, if using.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the whole almonds in concentric circles on top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour; then reduce the temperature to 275°F and bake for another hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. When completely cool, invert the cake onto a cardboard round and immediately reinvert the cake onto a serving platter or another cardboard round. Store the cake at room temperature tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two weeks, but it is best eaten when fresh.
Copyright 2010 Adams Media
About the Book
If you are a Harry Potter fan who’s been wondering what the delicious-sounding foods Harry eats look and taste like, then The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook is for you. The book contains recipes for every food mentioned in Harry Potter, from simple everyday foods like scrambled eggs to fancy desserts like treacle tart. British cuisine is very different from American cuisine, and though it has a bad reputation, the Harry Potter books prove otherwise. You can’t read about the Hogwarts feasts or Mrs. Weasley’s sumptuous meals without feeling hungry or wondering if the food is as wonderful as it sounds.
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook will not only satisfy that hunger, it will also answer the question with a resounding yes. The more than 150 recipes were thoroughly researched and developed to please the modern American palate. Each recipe also is preceded by a short, colorful description of that dish in British culinary history. This book is an absolute must for two types of Harry Potter fans: the fans who are interested in trying the foods that Harry Potter and his friends ate and the fans who will never step into the kitchen but want to understand the culture that shaped Harry Potter’s life.
Happy cooking and hearty appetite!