On the inaugural season of Top Chef: Just Desserts, NYC-based Zac Young won the judges (and viewers) over with his whimsy in the kitchen and snappy one-liners on camera.

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No matter what's baking in the kitchen, Young says the most important thing is to have fun.

"Don't be afraid to mess up," he tells UsMagazine.com. "Your family will still love you even if your souffle falls. If not, get a new family."

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Just in time for the holiday season, the finalist shares his fruitcake recipe with Us.

Manhattan Fruitcake


2 cups dried cranberries2 cups dried cherries1 cup dried strawberries1 ½ cups Maker’s Mark Bourbon1 cup sugar5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)1 cup orange juice3 cinnamon sticks1 3/4 cups all purpose flour2 teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon baking powder2 eggs large eggs lightly beatenExtra Makers Mark for basting


Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pour bourbon over fruits and microwave for 5 minutes to re-hydrate.

In a non-reactive pot combine re-hydrated fruit-bourbon mixture with sugar, butter, orange juice and cinnamon sticks. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool till mixture reaches room temperature.

Combine dry ingredients and sift on top of fruit mixture. Stir together with a rubber spatula. Stir in beaten eggs. Pour into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. The cake is done when a tooth pick comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and brush with about a ¼ cup of Makers Mark.

When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing, food safe container. Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, brush with more bourbon. Continue to baste for two weeks for maximum flavor, or eat whenever you want.

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