Even though I adore chocolate, I leave the usual addition of chocolate and ample amount of spice out of this recipe. An absolutely divine cake brimming with fruits, nuts and spices enrobed in a honey butter batter. Yes a bit labor intensive, but it lasts a long time, is great for wine tastings or your finest dessert table. You may opt to prepare some ingredients a day or two ahead of time. Kitchen scissors coated with oil work nicely for chopping the dried fruits.

1 cup hazelnuts (toasted with skins removed by rubbing in a clean towel)
1 cup blanched almonds
2 cups pecans (lightly toasted)
1 cup tart monterey dried cherries, chopped
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, chopped fine
2 tablespoons candied lemon (see Candied Citrus recipe)
2 tablespoons candied orange (see Candied Citrus recipe)
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup honey
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

                                                                                            Preheat oven to 325º F

1. Grease a large springform pan (10”) lining the bottom with parchment paper, press the parchment and flip over ( an easy trick to coat the top). Set aside.
2. In a large bowl mix all nuts,fruits and flour together until homogeneous. Heat the honey and sugar and bring to a boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes more, remove from heat and add salt, butter and remaining spices. Add to the fruit and nut mixture, stir well.
3. Pour into prepared springform pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
4. Cool for 15 minutes then carefully loosen from the pan and cool completely. Cover generously bottom to top in confectioner’s sugar. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and then in a plastic bag.
5. Serve in small wedges. Store at room temperature, keeps for several weeks.

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