RECIPE: holiday fruitcakes

lorna-organicSeptember 23, 2007

People make a lot of jokes about fruitcakes. I've always wondered about that. Old friends and family ask me every year, if I am going to make fruitcakes and are they going to receive one?

A couple of people have mentioned they like my cakes because I don't use very much fruitcake mix. I put in a lot of dried currants, yellow raisins, dark raisins, glace green cherries and glace pineapple. I use a generous amount of pecans, too. I mix all of the fruits together and soak them in a few tablespoons of rum to enhance their flavor.

I wrap my cakes, individually, in cheese cloth which has been soaked in rum. (I prefer the milder flavor of rum, but brandy can be used.) I make the cakes at least six weeks before Christmas, so they will have time to ripen (the flavors will meld together). I wrap them well in plastic, and store them in a dark cupboard.

It is an expensive recipe to make, and takes the better part of day to prepare, but the value of tradition amongst friends and family makes it worthwhile. I mail cakes to Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersy, Wisconsin, and Texas.

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Lorna, that sounds delicious!! I too make fruit cakes the same way with bourbon for flavor. I also put a split apple in the hole before wrapping in cheesecloth. This keeps it from being so dry and I replace the apple as needed. Thanks for posting this, I am looking forward to making one or two before Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 1:42PM
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Lorna, I just made a terrific fig fruitcake with figs, dates, pineapple, golden raisins, apricots and pecans, preserved with sherry. We've been nibbling on one of the five mini-loaves and oh yum! it's delicious. My recipe says that the cakes should be refrigerated for 2-4 weeks. Any thoughts on why refrigeration and not shelf storage for these? Leda, nice thought about the split apple.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 7:20PM
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Seattlesuze, that sounds wonderful--really flavorful. The thing about fruitcakes is that they are supposed to be able to keep without refrigeration. Not only does the liquor act as a preservative, but sugar also is a preservative. Perhaps in modern times, the recipe writer just thought that the cakes should be refrigerated. One of my friends keeps my cake (in a cabinet) for a whole year before she eats it. She has to resoak the cheesecloth in liquor a couple of times a year to keep the cake from drying out.

I, too, make a few minis when I do my cakes, so I can have a sample, or two. I've been buying my ingredients a few at a time during recent weeks, to spread out the expense.

I live in New Mexico. The first frost will be here soon. I saw that some of my basil plants had blackened tips the other day.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 2:16PM
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First frost! Yikes. We're just coming into a break of a few sunny days during a rainy fall. Basil still has a few leaves to harvest and thank goodness, cuz there are a ton of tomatoes that we still have to preserve. But I was walking the garden today and there are more than two dozen roses still in bloom. I was able to make some beautiful bouquets for the house, just grabbing for those last bits of summer, you know? I don't envy you the colder weather.

Do I dare preserve these fig fruitcakes in the cupboard rather than refrigerator? You're absolutely right about the preservation element of the alcohol. I'm a fruitcake newbie, though, and I thought perhaps the figs or some of the other fruits might change the cooling requirement. Do you think it'd be safe to move them - they're taking up an entire half-shelf in the fridge and I could use it for a million other things.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 1:51AM
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Hello, Sue! Were all of the fruits you used dried fruits? If so, I should think it would be safe to keep the cakes in a cool, dark cabinet.

Some stoves have cabinetry around their flues, I would never store food in a cabinet near a heat source. My father stored canned goods in that sort of cabinet. My sister and I found several tins of spoiled food!

Fall is the best flower garden time around here. Many of my flowers are in full bloom, including both wild and cultivated.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 3:02PM
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Hi Lorna, Yup, they're all dried fruits. Good warning about the stove flue cabinetry. I only store dried beans and pastas there. Thanks for the reassurance about storage.

Your flowers must be beautiful. Glad you have them to enjoy.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 5:06PM
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My Favorite Fruitcake

1 lb. candied cherries, cut into quarters
1 pint jar pineapple preserves
1 lb. raisins (I like the golden ones)
1 quart chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1/2 lb of Butter (not margarine)
5 eggs at room temperature
2 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 sm. (1 oz.) bottle lemon extract
1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar well add eggs, flour, the extracts and the preserves. Mixing well. Pour over the cherries, raisins and the nuts, mixing well.

Pour into a greased and floured tube or bundt cake pan and bake in pre-heated oven at 250 degrees about 3 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Will keep several weeks out of refrigerator in a cake dish with tight fitting lid if it last that long. It is very moist and people that don't like most fruitcakes like this one. Glenda

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 3:08PM
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Lorna, would you share your recipe as well. How much do you use to make 6 cakes?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Old English Fruit Cake

This recipe creates a large volume of batter! It requires
4 mixing bowls, the largest being a bread bowl.

1 pound butter
1 pound light brown sugar
9 eggs
2 tblsps. milk
1 pound regular white floor (about 4 cups)
2 tsps. mace
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2 pounds dried currants
1 pound seeded dark raisins
1 pound golden (sultana) raisins
8 oz. glace fruits (fruit cake mix)
8 oz. glace pineapple
8 oz. glace green cherries
1 pound whole pecans (be careful to check for shells before adding nuts)
approx. 2 cups of rum, brandy, or sherry
2 packages of cheese cloth

First sort your dried fruits to pick out any stems. Put all dried fruits into a collander and wash fruits. Use kitchen towel to partially dry fruits. Place dried fruits into large bread bowl, mix in glaced fruits, add 3 tablespoons liquor, mix well, then set aside.

Separate the eggs. Beat egg whites until stiff, adding half of the brown sugar, set aside. Cream butter, adding half the brown sugar, mix well. Beat the egg yolks until thick. Beat yolks into butter mixture, along with the milk. Fold in egg white mixture.

Sift flour, baking soda, mace and cinnamon. Stir into butter mixture, then stir batter into fruit mixture by hand.

Grease and flour baking tins. I usually get 9-10 cakes from a recipe: 3 full loaf size cakes, 6 half loaf cakes, plus 2 minis. Place pan of hot water in 275 degree oven for the purpose of creating steam. Put your cakes into the oven, and bake for one hour. Smallest cakes should be done after one hour, continue to bake larger cakes until they test done with a toothpick. Mid size cakes will be done before largest cakes.

Thoroughly cool cakes on racks before wrapping each cake in liquor soaked cheese cloth. Wrap well in plastic and store in cool, dark cupboard. Allow cakes to ripen for at least six weeks. Cakes will keep well for several months. It is a good idea to re-wet cheesecloth with liquor every three months for long term storage.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 9:53AM
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Thanks Lorna

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 6:10PM
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beachlily z9a

I make fruitcakes every couple of years. My favorite recipe is in an old Betty Homes and Garden cookbook. Its a dark fruitcake that uses frozen orange juice in the batter. It has a really fruity taste that converts people who don't like fruitcakes. If anyone is interested, I'll post it.

Even in FL the weather is cooling off. Must be time to make these!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 4:51PM
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I would love to have your recipe for the fruitcake with orange juice, if you don't mind posting it.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 8:56PM
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beachlily z9a

Burp, hic! I've been drinking wine.... this is a wonderful recipe that I will use next week (before Thanksgiving) to make these wonderful fruitcakes.

As noted above, this recipe is from a 1976 B&G recipe book.

heat oven to 275°

1 6-oz can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup molasses
1 15-oz package (3 cups) raisins
1 lb. (2 cups) chopped mixed candied fruit and peels

Note: I use candied orange peel, candied lemon peel, chopped dates, and candied cherries to equal 1 lb.

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine orange juice concentrate, molasses, and raisins in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally till mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in fruit and peels.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Sift together flour, soda, and spices. Stir into creamed mixture. Stir in fruit and peel mixture and nuts; mix well till all fruit is coated.

Line one 11x4x3-inch pan and two 5 1/2x3x2 1/4-inch pans with heavy paper, allowing 1/2 inch to extend above all sides. Pour batter into pans, filling about 3/4 full. Bake in very slow oven (275°) about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours for large loaf and about 1 1/2 hours for smaller loaves. Cool cakes in pans; remove. Wrap in foil or clear plastic wrap and store in cool place, several weeks. Make about 3 1/2 pounds fruitcake.

My husband doesn't eat fruitcake and he love this one. Very fruity and moist. I often add small amounts of rum while it is resting. Delicious!

Thanks for asking for this recipe!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 9:38PM
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