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Cherry Apricot Christmas Cake

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Cherry Apricot Christmas Cake is as tasty as it looks. Filled with dried cherries and apricots it gives you a burst of bright flavor. Serve it after Christmas dinner or as a treat on Christmas Eve. Be sure to have extra for when guests arrive.

Cherry Apricot Christmas Cake Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

CAKE:

3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

8 large egg whites

FILLING:

3/4 cup bourbon

3/4 cup dried tart cherries

3/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots

8 large egg yolks

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

FROSTING:

1 1/2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons bourbon

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

CAKE:

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Butter and flour the bottom and sides of four 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2 inch high sides.

Next line cake pans with waxed paper.

Sift together the first five ingredients into medium size mixing bowl.

In a large size mixing bowl beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in the vanilla and beat until fully combined.

Beat in the flour mixture in 3 separate additions alternately with the milk.

In another large mixing bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.

Continue to beat the egg whites until they are are stiff but not dry.

Gently fold 1/3 of beaten whites into butter mixture. Continue with the remaining whites in 2 additions. Remember to be gentle. You want the batter to be light.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans carefully spreading it out to the sides and leveling it. The batter will be about 1/2 inch deep in each cake pan.

Place the cake pans in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and turn them out onto cooling racks. Peel the paper off of the cakes and allow them to cool completely.

FILLING:

Mix the bourbon, the dry sour cherries, and the dried apricots in small mixing bowl. Cover the bowl and allow it to stand at room temperature until most of bourbon has been absorbed and the fruit softens, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Using an electric mixer, in a medium size mixing bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar for about 6 minutes on medium speed. Beat in the butter.

Pour the egg yolk mixture to heavy medium sized saucepan. Stir continually over medium-low heat until a thermometer registers 160°F and mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Remove the thickened egg yolk mixture from the heat and mix in the nuts, coconut and fruit mixture.

Place this mixture into the refrigerator and chill until cold. This will take at least 4 hours. Once the egg yolk mixture has cooled stir in the chocolate.

Place 1 of the cake layers on to a serving platter.

Spread with 1/3 of filling onto the top of the cake.

Repeat layering of cake and filling 2 more times pressing down slightly after the addition of each cake layer.

Top with the last cake layer. Place the cake in the refrigerator to cool.

FROSTING:

In a medium size mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth and the sugar has been absorbed.

Beat in both the bourbon and vanilla.

In a large size mixing bowl beat the chilled heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until soft peaks form.

Add the cream cheese mixture to whipped cream mixture and continue to beat until the frosting is stiff enough to spread.

Spread the frosting over top and sides of cake.

Garnish with any of the following.

Icing flowers

Tiny Christmas decorations

Flatten apricot halves cut out in leaf shapes.

A boarder of red and green candied cherries

Or anything you wish.

The Cherry Apricot Christmas Cake layers and filling can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap the cakes and store at room temperature. Cover the filling and store in the refrigerator.

The Cherry Apricot Christmas Cake can be made 2 days ahead.

Cover the finished Cherry Apricot Christmas Cake loosely with plastic wrap and  chill.

Enjoy.

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