Frosted Fruitcake with Meringue Mushrooms
A fruitcake has been reinvented: Meringue mushrooms sprout from the cake's surface, which is untraditionally covered with snowy white frosting. The mushroom gills are created with contrasting layers of white and bittersweet dark chocolate.
- 8 ounces dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/3 cups)
- 8 ounces dried figs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 8 ounces dates, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 cup Frangelico or other hazelnut-flavored liqueur
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 pound hazelnuts (about 2 cups), toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
- Seven-Minute Frosting
- Meringue Mushrooms
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, and spray parchment; set pan aside. In a medium bowl, toss apricots, figs, and dates with liqueur; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachemnet, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated. Beat in honey and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and beat until mixture is just combined. Stir in dried fruit mixture and hazelnuts.
Spread the batter in prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes our clean, about 1 1/4 hours; if cake starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Remove cake from oven; transfer to a wire rack, and let cool in pan 30 minutes. Remove ring from cake, and let cool completely.
Spread frosting over cake, smooting top and creating swirls on side. Decorate top with meringue mushrooms.