I developed this recipe in collaboration with Ninja for their new Ninja Foodi, which is a pressure cooker and convection oven in one (plus a lot of other cool stuff).
Updating the age-old fruit cake was a challenge in itself, which you can read about here, but I was shocked at how well this cake baked in the pressure cooker. It turns out that dense, moist cakes such as fruit cake work particularly well in the moist environment. When done right, it bakes even faster than the oven and locks in the moisture. If you have a pressure cooker, give it a try! Using real dried fruit, rather than the neon-colored bits of overly sweet “fruit”, makes this a cake you’ll actually want to eat, at the holidays and all year-round.
Fruit cake in the Pressure Cooker
Yield: 12 servings
Note: An 8-inch round aluminum foil baking pan works particularly well for this cake. The extended lip is helpful for sealing the aluminum foil so moisture doesn’t reach the cake while it’s pressure cooking. Whatever pan you use, make sure it fits in your pressure cooker before beginning.
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 1/3 cup diced candied pineapple
- 1/3 cup diced dried apricots
- 1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon bourbon or apple juice, divided
- 1 1/4 cups water, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons dark molasses
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/3 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
- 1/4 cup apricot jam
1. Combine the raisins, dates, pineapple, apricots, ginger, 1/3 cup bourbon or apple juice, and 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until liquid simmers, about 1 minute. Keep covered and let sit until cool and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the fruit, about 2 hours, shaking occasionally. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can also bring the mixture to a brief simmer on the stove top, cover and let cool.)
2. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan; set aside. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then molasses, scraping the bowl after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, allspice, and nutmeg. Using a rubber spatula, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in the nuts, maraschino cherries, and the soaked fruit with all of its liquid, until well combined (but don’t over mix). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, making sure that no foil is tucked under the pan.
4. Pour the remaining 1 cup water into the bottom of a pressure cooking pot. Place the cake pan on a rack in the pot. Assemble the pressure cooker lid, making sure the Pressure Release valve is in the seal position. Set unit to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure. Carefully remove lid when the unit has finished releasing pressure. Remove the cake from the pot and remove the foil. (Fruit cake can remain in the pan for storage, if desired, or carefully remove the cake from the pan after about 15 minutes, loosening the edges first.)
5. Combine apricot jam and remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon or apple juice and microwave until warm, 20 to 30 seconds. Spread evenly on top of the warm cake and let cool. When the cake is completely cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store at room temperature.