Teacake

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Maybe it’s all the British TV and films we’ve been watching, or maybe it’s because I want “stay at home” to feel cozy, but I’ve been craving a poundcake-fruitcake hybrid, a buttery cake, moist and not too sweet, interesting yet somehow simple. I looked at recipes for both fruitcake and poundcake and couldn’t find one I wanted to follow, so this is my hybrid; Rose Levy Beranbaum’s pound cake is an influence, yes, but the almond flour, whipped egg whites, and alcohol-soaked fruit are mine. I keep a container of golden raisins and zante currants steeped in brandy, for use in stollen, the yeast-raised German Christmas cake, but you can use any dried fruit, as long as the pieces are small and they have been soaked as long as possible. You could “rush soak” by heating the fruit and alcohol together if you don’t want to wait.

Teacake (makes two 8 1/2 x 4  inch loaves)  Use room temperature ingredients.

2 cups dried fruit (apricots, figs, raisins, prunes, currants, etc.) cut into raisin-size pieces or smaller, soaked in (covered with) brandy or rum for as long as possible but at least three days, drained very well

2 cups almond flour

3 cups AP flour

3 sticks unsalted butter

1 ½ cups sugar

6 eggs, separated

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp salt

½ cup milk

1 tsp each almond and vanilla extract

Prepare loaf pans with parchment paper sling and spray with Baker’s Joy. Or butter and flour.

Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy—sugar needs to be thoroughly dissolved into the butter. Add the egg yolks one at a time and keep beating until smooth. Beat in extracts and salt. Beat in almond flour.  In another bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder, and mix into the batter alternately with milk. Stir in drained, macerated fruit. Scrape batter into a large bowl.  Clean mixing bowl well, and beat egg whites with 1 tsp. cream of tartar until stiff but not dry.  Start with one-quarter of the egg whites,  mixing into the batter, then continue with rest of egg whites until well blended.

Bake in 315-325 oven for 80-90 minutes. Check for doneness after 70 minutes: If a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, the cake is done. Let cool in pan for about five minutes, then use paper sling to lift out of pan. Continue cooling on a rack for at least two hours. Slice with a very sharp knife.

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