In this episode of Presidential Eats, former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses makes a holiday dessert that people love to hate: a fruit cake. But this isn't your average fruit cake; his Scottish Dundee cake is light, fluffy, and gets a boozy kick from aged rum.
Yosses first learned about this recipe from a colleague who did a stint at the American embassy in England. He decided to bake one for the Obama family, and it became one of the most beloved desserts of the administration.
At the White House, Christmas festivities have always been a staple, like the building of the annual gingerbread house. In 2013, Yosses and his team recreated the blue tiled fireplace built during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. They made the tiles from scratch with melted sugar and assembled a completely edible life-sized replica.
In the spirit of the holidays, Yosses walks us through this classic Christmas fruit cake. He builds the base by beating butter and brown sugar, and also adds honey to incorporate extra moisture. He forgoes the infamous maraschino cherries that you find in classic fruit cakes; instead he uses naturally vibrant fruits like cranberries, candied orange peel, candied papaya, and candied pineapple.
Rum finds its way into multiple stages of this baking process. First, the fruit is soaked overnight in aged rum. This step plumps up the mix-ins with more moisture and infuses a delicate smokiness. You also use the rum after the cake is baked. Yosses makes a syrup of water, honey, and rum, and soaks the fully-baked cake on all sides. Beyond hydrating the cake, this syrup acts as a preservative that allows you to store it in the fridge for months.
Previously on Presidential Eats: Former Presidential Chef Reveals The Bush Family's Go-To Dessert & The Wildest Holiday Traditions In The White House