"I took one bite and knew I had found the best fruitcake of the year. It was a tumble-down-comfort-chew. I would have eaten it with a snifter of brandy or a glass of milk or a handful of snow. It was salty enough that you might have served it with cucumber, but sweet, absolutely a fine dessert, I could tell." — Tom Chiarella from Behold, the Fruitcake

The unconventional approach to the leavening and batter preparation gives this fruitcake a large crumb and a light texture while lemon zest and mascarpone icing finishes it beautifully.
Servings: Serves 12–16
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup ouzo , divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots , chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries , chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. active-dry yeast
  • 6 large eggs , separated
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter , melted
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
Mascarpone Icing:
  • 1 cup (8-ounce container) mascarpone cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. ouzo
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch springform pan; line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter.

In small saucepan, combine oil, lemon zest, and 1/3 cup ouzo. Bring to a bare simmer and cook 3 minutes; remove from heat. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda until combined. In small bowl, toss together apricots, cranberries, and currants with 1 teaspoon of the flour mixture.

In small dish, combine 1 tablespoon warm (105 to 115°) water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Place 1-inch water in medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Fit a large bowl on top so that it sits above the water. Place egg yolks in bowl and whisk off the heat, until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Place bowl in pan over simmering water; cook whisk constantly, until mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from pan and gradually whisk in melted butter, until blended and thickened. Add salt; gradually whisk in remaining 1/3 cup ouzo.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and gradually add brown sugar. Increase to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.

Fold egg whites into yolk mixture, working in 3 additions. Add lemon/ouzo mixture and stirred yeast. Fold together just until combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk together, just until combined. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread level. Scatter dried fruit evenly on top. Using back of spoon, press down fruit, just below the surface of cake. Bake until pick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. (Can be made up to 2 days in advance; wrap airtight and store refrigerated.) Invert cake onto serving plate and frost top with mascarpone icing.

To make mascarpone icing: In medium bowl, stir together mascarpone cheese, ouzo, and confectioners' sugar until blended. Refrigerate covered, until using.


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