Holiday fruit cakes have gotten a lot of slack over time, and in all honesty, some of them don’t hold a candle to Christmas cookies (ahem the ones with neon green and pink fake fruits that don’t taste like fruit at all.) We’re proud this season to be selling exquisite fruit cakes hand-made by award winning cookbook author and chef Robert Lambert.
The White Fruit Cake is Robert’s grandmother’s original recipe. Although he removed most of the glacéed fruit and added his own, the cherries and pineapple are still there. To those he’s added Brazil nuts, local pecans and whole blanched toasted almonds. The walnuts are doused with boiling water before toasting to reduce their bitterness. Deeply ripe oranges from DeSantis Farms are squeezed for juice just before it’s added; their golden raisins are also there.. Lambert’s own candied young ginger, candied bergamot, Rangpur lime, Meyer lemon and blood orange peels are all included. Each cake is soaked in the finest French cognac, topped with a California bay leaf and candied white grapefruit peel star.
But there’s more! Cooks traditionally made both a light and a dark cake, so named by the tone of their fruit and batter. Lambert’s Dark Fruit Cake, with molasses, brown sugar, port wine and spices, is darker in flavor as well. Since Robert’s grandmother’s recipe was lost, he worked from many old sources to forge a unique take on this classic. He mixes in cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, 10-year-old Ficklin port, local hazelnuts and pecans, plus the walnuts and fresh squeezed OJ from DeSantis Farms. He uses their dark raisins in this one, plus prunes, and their black figs soaked in Pear William eau de vie. Kadrawi dates, an ancient variety, come from Flying Disc Ranch in Thermal, California. The recipe isn’t complete without his own rare candied Texas lemon and Buddha’s hand citron, bergamot, blood orange and white grapefruit peels, and candied young ginger. Each cake is soaked in Jack Daniels bourbon whiskey, topped with California bay leaf and candied blood orange peel star. Whew!