Sunday, July 30, 2023

Monet's Fruit Cake

Last week I had the idea to start baking cakes again for coffee hour. It has been too long since I have done that!

Yesterday I made a cake and I had so much fun doing it that I am planning on making something next week as well. I am off to such a good start!

For which I thank Claude Monet. It was his recipe that I used.

A few weeks ago I scored this coffee table book, "Monet's Table," at Amvets. That was 79 cents well spent! Unlike many coffee table books, this one actually does sit on the coffee table. People love to gawk at it. My brother George and I spent quite a while discussing it. It tells all about this idyllic life Monet lived at his home in Giverny, which George and I have visited, hence our conversation. Then there are all these great-looking recipes.

I had dried cranberries I wanted to bake with and so I made "Rich Fruit Cake."

I would not call this cake rich. Perhaps our standards have risen since Monet's day. Perhaps we are used to more sugar and fat and whatever. It was very simple to my way of thinking.


Monet's Fruit Cake

Grease an 8-inch cake pan. (I used a 9-inch.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take 3 tablespoons butter. Soften in a bain-marie or double boiler. (I just took it out of the fridge early and let it soften. The weather has been very hot -- otherwise, you know me, I would not be turning on the oven. And that butter softened right up.)

Remove the butter from the heat and beat in 3 tablespoons sugar.

Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add 2 tablespoons rum and 1 cup chopped dried fruit, any kind. (I used raisins and dried cranberries, so I didn't have to chop them.)

Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for at least 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (I baked for a little bit less because my pan was bigger.)


Friday night had been torpid and I had not slept in the heat. Howard and I live the Giverny life -- no air conditioner. So I was a total zombie on Saturday after dinner when I made this cake. At first I did not think I had it in me, that was how zonked I was. I was amazed when I saw myself  taking the first steps, beating the sugar into the butter -- by hand, again, living the Giverny life. After that, though, it was fun! And easy, even when I diligently followed all the instructions.

It took about 15 minutes of work and then I put it in the oven. Immediately, I mean within two minutes, this wonderful aroma filled the kitchen. I have never had a cake become so fragrant so fast!

Above is the cake when it came out of the oven. It looks unprepossessing, I admit that. However I wrapped it prettily in parchment paper, and when I got it to church this morning I unwrapped it and shook powdered sugar on it, then wrapped it up again. By that time it looked like something purchased at a fine Parisian patisserie.

Powdered sugar -- I prefer the term "confectioners' sugar" -- will dress anything up!

After Mass I ran over to coffee hour with a little sign reading: "Gateau (Cake) With Raisins and Dried Cranberries. Claude Monet's Recipe From Giverny." I had prepared that sign up in the choir loft.

Betsy, our coffee hour czarina, was cutting the cake into tiny squares. People at our coffee hour love that because we love to try everything, and there is a lot to try. I never did get to try the cake because it was gone in 60 seconds. It was a small pan. I should have moved faster.

I will just have to make this cake again!


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