With apologies to Robert Frost, "something there is that doesn't love a fruitcake." For weeks, I'd been talking about making this fruitcake, and Jim always made a face and looked morose. I told him it wasn't a real fruitcake because it didn't have glaceed fruits in it, but he was unconvinced: "If it's' not a fruitcake, why is it called a fruitcake?" He almost had me there, but I countered with, "How do you feel about an apple-pecan rum cake?" He said, "I feel just fine about that." "Well, there you are," I said, "that's what it is."
Pecans, apples, and rum. How could this be objectionable, except to those few people who object to lading a dessert with fruit. I'm talking to you, Monica.
There were a few more steps, and a few more ingredients, but nothing that would cause a would-be baker to have even a moment of anxiety. This is one of the few--maybe the only--Rose dessert recipe that doesn't require some kind of electric appliance. You stir the ingredients by hand!
Besides, look at the next step--adding the apples, which have already been mixed in with eggs, butter, and two kinds of sugar, including this beauty:
Dark Muscovado sugar from Mauritius. Sugars like muscovado, demerara, and turbinado have flavor depths and aromatic heights that blow plain ol' granulated sugar out of the water. So says In the Kitchen. It also suggests that when you travel you look for local sugars. Jim would be ecstatically happy if I changed my ideal souvenir from a piece of good jewelry to a bag of sugar. I'm not sure I'm ready to make the trade.
But back to the cake. The nice thing about this cake is that you could be done making it in the time I was nattering on about sugar and jewelry. It is a most pleasant, relaxing, project. First you toast the nuts, dice the apples, and cut the dried fruit. Then you mix everything together. Seriously. It's that easy. The only thing left to do is bake the cake (or cakes).
I opted for two round pans rather than one 9 x 13" pan because I wanted to do one with and one without rum. (Yes, I understand that I can't call it a rum cake if it doesn't have rum in it).
Here's the one that's becoming rum-soaked. I like to say rum-soaked. Even without tasting them, I'm pretty sure that my vote is going to the rummy cake, but I'm keeping an open mind.
JJ reaction: "Lulu, what's that?" Me: "That's a fruitcake, JJ." "Why?" "Because it's a cake and it has fruit in it." "Oh." "Would you like some?" "Yes." "I should tell you it has pecans in it. Pecans are nuts." "Why?" "It has pecans in it because that's what the recipe said. Pecans are nuts because they are." "Oh." "Do you want some?" "No." So I would say this is not a toddler success.
But it was an adult success. Moist and flavorful, this cake is a good thing to have in your repertoire. On a cold winter night, served with a dollop of whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon, it's almost enough to make you feel good about winter.