kruizing with kikukat

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mini Cream Cheese Cherry Fruitcake

I'm finally on vacation.

It seemed like vacation would never get here!

Just a few more days until Christmas.

I hope I didn't forget any gifts.

I THINK I'm done with my Christmas shopping.

I try to bake at least 1 batch of humbug holiday cookies with the Ds, but it looks like time isn't on our side this year.  We normally have at least half a week before Christmas to bake cut-out cookies, but vacation began too late.  Maybe we'll be able to bake something for Valentine's Day.

Instead of cookies with the Ds, I had to settle for some by-myself baking.  I chose to make mini cream cheese cherry fruitcake because I knew neither of the Ds would be too disappointed about missing out on this.

Fruitcake isn't something many people are often enthused about, but everyone (adults) enjoys the local version of fruitcake.  The fruitcake we know and like is actually a pound cake with a spattering of candied fruits.  It is not the type you find at Trader Joe's. . . mostly fruit bound together with tiny bits of cake.

There are a handful of people around here who make a more traditional kind of fruitcake.  Last Christmas, one of The Helps clients gave him a fruitcake which was a deep, dark brown.  It tasted very much like prune mui, and it had a tar-like texture.  She told him it was her specialty.  My friend A's mom makes a steamed fruitcake, which is dark, although not as dark the one I previously mentioned.  Kikukat Mom makes something called "light fruitcake".  While not steamed, it has a tan color which is different from the pictures you see here.  And I'm sorry mom, but I don't like the fruitcake you make.  Like the two aforementioned varieties, it is dense and unappealing (to me!).  The cream cheese variety is much more to my liking.

And I just remembered. . .I haven't bought anything for The Rents.  I guess I'm NOT done with my Christmas shopping.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     8 oz cream cheese, softened
     1 c butter, softened
     1 1/2 c sugar
     4 eggs
     1 1/2 tsp vanilla
     2 1/4 c flour, divided
     1 1/2 tsp baking powder
     3/4 c candied cherries, cut in half
     1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

Grease and flour 5 mini loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  In a separate bowl, stir together 2 c flour and baking powder.  Gradually add to cream cheese mixture.  Toss remaining flour (1/4 c) with cherries and nuts.  Fold into batter.  Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.  Bake 45-50 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.  Cool completely.

The best fruitcake in the world is made in Hanapepe, Kauai, by Mrs. Nozaki, a retired hairdresser.  Her fruitcake is outstanding!  I have been fortunate enough to receive quantities of it over the years from her son.  Unlike this recipe, which contains nuts, Mrs. Nozaki's cake only has cherries in it, and the cake's flavor is enhanced by the whiskey-soaked cheesecloth enveloping the loaf.  I haven't received Mrs. Nozaki's cake this year yet, but I'm hoping her son bought out Safeway's supply of candied cherries so he can bake several batches.

Congratulations to D2 who received an award at her school!  I'm disappointed I wasn't able to make it to the presentation (I had a Charles Dickens function in my classroom.), and I am grateful The Help represented me.  D2 tries so hard, and it was nice that she was recognized for her effort.

Congratulations are also due to the HHS varsity boys basketball team.  The took first place in the St. Joseph School's Cardinal Classic.  They won a 67-64 nailbiter against crosstown rival Waiakea.  With hardly any time remaining in overtime, and the score tied 64-64, star guard Jalen Carvalho (nephew of my good buddy SF) hit a 3-pointer to win the game for the Viks.  It was awesome.  Jalen is beast, but the whole team worked hard for the victory.  Best wishes to them as they hit the skies this week to participate in a pre-season tourney in San Diego.

And for my weekly rant. . .where the fuck do they find the refs in this town?  Be it football or basketball, they are all horrible.  What a bunch of blind idiots in stripes!  One of the refs at the basketball game spent more time talking stories with a coach than watching the players.  Auwe!!!
While I began my vacation this weekend, The Help got busy.  Of course, I went along as "assistant". . .underpaid and overworked (me, not The Help).  The Help did a session for Maria at Short N Sweet, a local bakery.  Maria is the designer of D1's birthday cake.  The bakery was hired to do an afternoon tea for a local beauty business.  While Short N Sweet has been doing afternoon tea for a while, Maria had no pictures of past events so she asked The Help to help her capture the event (food-wise).  I think she will be happy with the images.  She was kind enough to give us some goodies. . .gougeres and a flaky mushroom turnover.  OMG!  The Empress Hotel has nothing on Short N Sweet when it comes to tea!

And for the first time in nearly a decade, I got to eat fried kole (yes, we really do eat this fish. . .much to my horror, the top hits for "kole tang" were aquaria websites, not delicacy websites).  3M texted me on Saturday morning and reminded me about the RBI concession.  Mmmmmmmmm.  The fried kole was so yummy that I sent The Help back down to the Boys & Girls Club of Hilo baseball field for another plate!  I hope they will put me on their speed dial whenever they have fried kole at their concession.

deep-fried kole

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