Posted by: Patty | December 7, 2009

Fruitcake, Hiking and the BEST Gingerbread!

OK, I’m behind schedule for Sweet Melissa’s baking group. I actually did bake the fruitcake but never found time to write up my experience. HOW do people blog everyday?  Today’s post will be longer than usual but I must catch up!

First, the last recipe for the SMS group was Golden Almond Fruitcake. You can find the recipe at Karin’s blog by clicking here. Thanks Karin for posting the recipe at such a busy time of year.

This cake is not really fruitcake. It is a pound cake with dried fruit added to the batter. The result is very tasty:

I used a small bundt pan rather than a loaf pan and it is a pretty cake. The batter is lovely, studded with the fruits that simmered in a bit of booze:

And the amount of batter was perfect for my pan:

This is not a traditional fruitcake which has much less batter and much more fruit. But this kept very well and with the fruits, it can be a good addition to festive holiday baking. The taste is wonderful and the bits of marzipan add moistness to the cake.

Besides baking I love to hike in the beautiful woods in the DC area. And I have the best commute: I drive through Rock Creek Park to my store each morning. The woods change every day and they are beautiful. Here’s a typical scene on my drive in the fall:

On weekends we love to take our insane dog  Lucy on long walks in the woods. A good dog is a tired dog and that is when Lucy is at her best: exhausted. Recently we hiked from River Road in Maryland to the cliffs overlooking the Potomac River. It was a beautiful fall day and the light filtering through the trees was lovely.

We hiked until we could see the Potomac.

Lucy really wanted to charge over the ledge and take a swim. Instead we turned around and returned to the park entrance. Along the way there were wonderful colors, even the moss at the base of a tree.And the beech tree leaves against the sky:

And mushrooms sprouting on a log:

Now it is December and we have snow in the District. It will be some time before bright colors are around us again. But, Tom and I have the Audubon Christmas Bird Count on December 19th and who knows what we will find! We will be surveying in Rock Creek Park, staring at 6:30AM!! Are we nuts?

The best reward for a long morning of birding is a slice of fantastic gingerbread. David Lebovitz’s Room for Dessert Cookbook includes the BEST recipe for gingerbread. Unfortunately the book is out of print. Thankfully David posted his recipe on Epicurious and you can click here for the recipe. The “secret” ingredient is fresh ginger. While shopping at our local farmer’s market I found locally grown ginger. It begged to be made into gingerbread.

This ginger was so fresh it had almost no skin to peel.

For the gingerbread I used two large knobs of the ginger.

The result is a dense, dark, moist gingerbread. Perfect after a hike!!

David writes a fantastic blog from Paris. Here’s a link to his Thanksgiving post. You will wish you were a resident of Paris! Just click here.

I hope my next post will include holiday baking. I just finished teaching a technique class at work that was all about cookie decorating. Now that I have baked cookies for the store, I’m ready to start my holiday cooking!

Cheers to all,




  1. Thanks for baking along with me! So glad you enjoyed it. Everytime I read your posts about DC, it makes me think about when I lived there. What a great city!

  2. Great pictures! I’ll have to take a look at the fruitcake recipe. I gave the last of the batch we made (2? 3? years ago) to Alberto!

  3. The fruitcake looks good but the gingerbread looks totally yummy. We had snow in Houston last Friday and a slice of warm gingerbread would have made that crazy weather day even more memorable.
    I thought of you when 4 “teenage” raccoons were brought to the wildlife center Friday. They had the bad luck of being in a chimney when the owner wanted to have a fire. They were relocated and will be spending the next few months with a caring rehabber.

  4. The ginger is amazing! I must admit I’ve never seen it like that. The gingerbread looks heavely.

    I didn’t bake last weeks SMS and now that I read it was more like a pound cake, I wish I would have. The name fruitcake just turns everyone off.

    I will look forward to the cookie posts!

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