I am not a baker. I don’t even own an electric mixer or rolling pin. However, every once in awhile, I’ll stumble across a sweet bread or coffee cake that inspires me to break out the mixing bowls and go to work.
This past Sunday, I was called to bake by Martha Stewart’s Fruit and Stout Cake with golden raisins. After all, it is not every day that you stumble across a beautiful dessert soaked in beer with flecks of tawny fruit.
It was easy as can be, and absolutely delicious! It is not too sweet, buttery with a shortbread-like texture, and full of flavor.
There’s a final step, which I omitted both in the kitchen and in my directions below. Step number five is: Wrap in cheesecloth or muslin, douse fruitcake with remaining 1/4 cup stout, and store in a cool, dark, dry place, dousing with 1/4 cup stout once a week for at least 1 month before serving.
I was far too hungry to wait a month before devouring it! Next time I will double the recipe and make one to eat and one to keep.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) golden raisins
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) currants
1 1/4 cups stout
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed
*The recipe also calls for 8 ounces of chopped prunes, but I had neglected to pick them up at the store.
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Brush a 9-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with butter. Line pan with parchment; brush with butter. Set aside.
2. Combine the prunes, raisins, and currants in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup stout, and let stand.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, scraping down sides twice. Add dry ingredients in two additions; mix just to combine. Fold in fruit mixture.
4. Pour batter into pan. Bake until dark brown and set and a cake tester inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean, about 3 1/2 hours. (Cracks will appear on top of cake.) Remove from oven; sprinkle with 1/2 cup stout. Let stand on wire rack 30 minutes. Remove from pan; discard parchment; let cool completely.