A brown butter fruitcake recipe that will make you a fruitcake fan

Brown Butter Fruitcake

Active time:35 mins

Total time:3 hours 10 mins

Servings:10 to 12 (makes one 9-by-5-inch fruitcake)

Active time:35 mins

Total time:3 hours 10 mins

Servings:10 to 12 (makes one 9-by-5-inch fruitcake)

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My journey to fruitcake appreciation has been a winding one.

By contemporary standards, fruitcakes don’t look especially delicious. Maybe because they are often dark, dense loaves studded with nuts and dried fruit, neither of which ever had a lot of appeal to me growing up. Even as a sugar-obsessed kid, I’d turn my nose up at oatmeal raisin cookies.

What I do have, however, is a lifelong passion for supporting underdogs. I have clear memories of forcing myself to like licorice jelly beans. I’d trade the kids in the cafeteria for them and cram them down even though I hated the flavor. And it worked! Today, I genuinely enjoy licorice as well as other often maligned foods.

When I learned that in the United Kingdom fruitcakes are often paired with cheese, I was smitten. My first bite of a salty, rich cheddar on a fragrant, spiced piece of fruitcake opened me up to the possibilities of this combination. And soon I realized that this infamous punching bag of holiday fare was ripe for rehabilitation.

I had already come to appreciate really beautiful dried fruit when I worked at the now-shuttered Michelin-starred restaurant Range in San Francisco. The pastry chef, Michelle Polzine, would make panforte as a little treat at the end of the meal, using only preserved fruit from the Bay Area — gorgeous apricots, prunes and raisins. There, too, I first learned of June Taylor, who up until 2020 made and sold fruitcakes every year featuring the best of California’s dried produce and nuts. Her cakes were a love letter to the seasons and a testament to a time when fruitcakes represented the very height of luxury — even serving as the traditional wedding cake of the British royal family.

I think about this arc a lot when baking — how…

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