Buttermilk Pecan Fruitcake

4½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups dried pears; chopped
2 cups Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs; separated
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Grease and flour 4 loaf pans.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add pears and pecans; stir again. Set aside.
4. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat again. Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk, blending well after each addition.
5. With clean dry beaters, beat egg whites until they stand in firm, glossy, moist peaks. Fold ⅓ egg whites into batter to lighten it, and then fold in remaining whites. Fill each pan ⅔ of batter.
6. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF.
7. Bake in a preheated oven for 65 minutes, until tester inserted in center of each cake comes out clean. Ten minutes before cakes are done, rotate pans back to front to cakes on each rack brown evenly.
8. Let cakes cool five minutes on wire racks, then turn out and finish cooling right side up on wire racks.
9. Before serving, decorate top of fruitcakes with whole nuts and mixed candied fruit peel.
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