Wait! Before you stop reading right here, because you hate fruitcake – your mother’s, and everyone else’s, you need to know this is not really a fruitcake! At least not in the sense of a Christmas time, doorstop, re-gift type of fruitcake. This is more of a banana bread, meets carrot cake, meets applesauce spice cake, baked in a loaf pan, kind of cake. The result is nothing short of pure deliciousness, topped with a rich creamy frosting. One slice of this sweet, moist, delicious bread (cake), and you will be hooked! So gather up your ingredients, and let’s get baking!
What you will need for the bread:
2 loaf pans
1 cup butter – melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
3 ripe bananas – mashed
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1/2 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup diced pineapple
1/4 cup coconut
1/3 cup walnuts and pecans
What you will need for the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup walnuts and pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 loaf pans with non stick spray (I actually line my pans with wax paper before spraying them. It makes turning the bread out easier and cleanup quicker). Set pans aside.
Cut 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter into squares and place in a microwave bowl. Microwave just until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
While the butter is cooling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 cup brown sugar. Whisk until well mixed and any lumps from brown sugar are gone. When mixed well, add in 4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk until all ingredients are mixed well. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, slightly beat 4 large eggs. Add 1/2 cup milk to the beaten eggs (I used Cashew milk – it adds a slightly nutty, sweet taste, but, you can use any type of milk). Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix well.
By now, the butter should be slightly cooled. Pour the butter into the flour mix. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mix as well. Mix with a wooden spoon just until combined.
Add 1/2 cup applesauce (I used cinnamon applesauce, but you can use any variety you like ( I bet chunky would be good!). Mix until well combined, but do not over mix. Set aside while you prepare your add-ins.
This step could actually be done ahead of time if you prefer. If you are preparing the add-ins at the time you are baking this, you could also place all of the add-ins in a single medium bowl. For the sake of this post, I have used separate bowls.
In a small bowl, mash 3 ripe bananas. Next, shred 1 cup of carrot (that’s about 2 large carrots), and 1/2 cup zucchini (about 1 small zucchini), place in bowl. Measure out 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/4 cup diced pineapple (I used fresh, but canned will work also), 1/4 cup of coconut, and 1/3 cup of the walnuts and pecans which have been chopped into small pieces. Add all of your prepared add-ins to the batter mix. Mix until well combined.
Once you have mixed all ingredients together, pour the batter into your prepared pans. Divide the batter as evenly as you can just by eyeing it. Batter should come up to right about the halfway mark in the pans. If you have also lined your pans with wax paper, trim the paper to pan level.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Bread is done when a toothpick (or even better, a wooden skewer), inserted in the center, comes out clean. When done, cool by turning bread out of the pans while it is still hot. If you used wax paper, now is the time to peel the paper from the bread. Let sit until cool.
At this point, you could, in fact be done! As it sits, this bread would be absolutely delicious, served warm, with a little bit of butter on it (as Julia said, “With enough butter, anything is good,”). And that is definitely true of Not Your Mother’s Fruitcake. With or without butter, served warm, it is sure to please!
However! If it is more of a “cake” you are looking for, continue on for the frosting! This is not just any frosting. This frosting “makes” the cake!! It is a Burnt Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. It is melt-in-your-mouth good!
Burnt Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
In a heavy frying pan, over medium heat, add 1/3 cup walnut and pecan pieces. Stir occasionally until browned and aromatic. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from heat. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
In the same frying pan, melt 1/2 cup butter (1 stick). Continue melting until butter turns a deep caramel brown. The butter will begin to foam as it browns. Once it has browned significantly, pour the butter into a bowl and place in refrigerator to cool (I pour mine into a shallow tupperware container and it works well).
While the butter is cooling slightly, place 8 oz. of cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Measure out 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and set aside. Remove butter from refrigerator and pour on top of the cream cheese. Using a spoon, mix until creamy. Add powdered sugar, and mix until the sugar and butter are smooth.
When loaves are completely cool, spread the frosting on the top, using half of the frosting for each loaf. Sprinkle the nuts on top of frosting.
This is truly Not Your Mother’s Fruitcake! All that is left to do now is cut yourself a slice, pour a cup of coffee, and enjoy it! With Mother’s Day lurking right around the corner (on the 13th!!), you may even want to wrap the second loaf up, put a pretty ribbon on it, and share it with mom!
And for anyone who does enjoy traditional fruitcake, like I do (I’m sure I cannot possibly be the ONLY one who loves fruitcake), I will be posting my Fruitcake recipe in time for Christmas…look for it in early October! Yes, I start my fruitcake in October, for Christmas. A really good fruitcake needs to sit in its Brandy soaked cheesecloth for a couple of months to be truly amazing!