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Nov 16, 2009 05:51 AM

Fruitcake fanciers of the world unite! It's that time of the year again...

I love homemade fruitcake. It's not Christmas without, as far as I am concerned. I spent a good bit of last weekend confecting a half portion of my mother-in-law's recipe (a dark one, with brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, mace, and cloves). It was developed over several years by my mother-in-law and her wonderful aunt, both of whom are/were excellent bakers. It calls for candied grapefruit and angelica, neither of which are easily found these days (ashamed to say I substitute more citron and orange peel). It is a lot of work (1 1/2 hrs to prepare the fruit, 1 hr roughly to prepare the pans, 2 hrs to get the batter made and the cakes in the oven, 2 1/2 hours + to bake) but makes a super fruitcake. And smells wonderful baking. The amount I made makes 3 x 4 lb + cakes (in full-sized 9" x 5" pans), how they ever managed with the full recipe I will never know (apparently they mixed it in a new clean garbage can). I would be happy to post the recipe if anyone would be interested, and would be delighted to see other family heirloom or favorite recipes.

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  1. I made the Caribbean black cake recipe from Chow last year and it delicious. I'm trying to decide if I have the energy to do it again _ and if I want to spend the money on all that booze and dried fruit. Your recipe sounds interesting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NYCkaren

      I know what you mean, ingredients were around $80.00 and man am I beat, it is a big undertaking. The last time my mother-in-law and great-aunt made it together, auntie was well over 80. God knows how they managed (an all-day session, from about 11 am to around 2 am, complete with glazing and decorating the cakes when done).

    2. Yes, please post, I am a lover of all things fruitcake, well, not ALL of them; I've been making the traditional Guiness cake for a few years now, with walnuts and sultanas, but feel I might switch up this year.
      Let's see what'cha got! Thanks.

      Here's the Guiness Cake recipe, BTW. I found it in an old Punch magazine years ago, I think it's originally a recipe from the brewery:

      Guinness Cake, makes one loaf

      8 oz. butter, unsalted
      8 oz. dark brown sugar
      4 large eggs, lightly beaten
      10 oz. AP Flour (two cups)
      2 level tsps. of mixed spice (1 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp clove, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/4 tsp nutmeg) sieved together with the flour
      8 oz. currants
      8 oz. sultanas (golden raisins)
      4 oz. chopped candied orange peel, I make it
      12 Tbs. Guinness Stout
      4 oz. walnuts, toasted and chopped

      Cream butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour and mixed spice. Then add currants, sultanas, candied peel, and walnuts. Mix well together. Stir 4 Tbs. of Guinness into the mixture. Mix into a soft consistency. Turn into a prepared loaf pan. Back in a very moderate oven, 350* and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
      Let cool. Remove from pan. Prick base of the cake with a fork or skewer and spoon the remaining Guinness over. Wrap in foil and keep cake for at least 1 week before eating, two weeks is better. Freezes nicely.
      I've adapted this a wee bit over the years, don't use molasses anymore.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        This sounds very good. I overbought fruit (thinking 8 oz ctrs were 4 oz, goodness knows only why) and will be making yet more fruitcake so am still on the lookout for more recipes!

      2. Here's my MIL's recipe for fruitcake. It weighs about 7 lbs when it comes out of the oven.

        1 lb. butter
        3 cups sugar
        10 eggs
        2 tsp. vanilla
        4 cups flour
        1 tsp baking powder
        1 tsp. mace
        1 tsp. salt
        1/2 lb each of red candied cherries, green candied cherries, red candied pineapple, green candied pineapple, all cut
        1 lb. golden raisins
        1 qt. pecans
        1 qt. walnuts

        Cream butter and sugar together, Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Sift dry ingredients together, add to creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in fruits and nuts. Pour into large tube pan that has been greased and lined with heavy paper. Bake at 275 for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until tests done. Drizzle with apple brandy. Cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in cool place in airtight container to "ripen". About 1/2 hours before cake is done, brush the top with light corn syrup. Decorate with fruits and nuts. Return to oven for final baking. This is a light-colored fruit cake.

        1 Reply
        1. re: vafarmwife

          Very appealing recipe. I like the light style as well if not better than the spiced dark.

        2. The "Thanksgiving Cake" is three weeks old..."Seasoned" it again last night...Once more before Thanksgiving...~~~~~ "Christmas Cake" will be made tonight...and "seasoned" for the first time.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Uncle Bob

            What's your "seasoning"?
            My Mom made fruitcake every year around Thanksgiving for Christmas, she used hazelnuts, back when they were called filberts, and anointed it with lots of brandy, bought only for fruitcake purposes.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Good Quality Bourbon...bought for "medicinal" purposes, but used for Fruitcake purposes too! :)

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                Armagnac is also excellent for both of the same purposes - but not traditional in my husband's family whose taste tends to the slightly abstemious.

          2. It's not a traditional long-keeping dark fruitcake, but I am also a fan of this golden fruitcake, which is much like a pound cake chock-full of dried fruits, nuts, and marzipan. I use the dried fruits and nuts that appeal to me.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              That sounds great, may use that recipe for the rest of my fruit. Combining two of the best things in the world, fruitcake and marzipan. My mom occasionally went whole hog and put almond paste on top of her fruitcakes, frosted them with royal icing, and decorated them with silver dragées. Delicious but gets a bit scruffy-looking when cut into repeatedly. Nick Malgieri has an excellent recipe for an English teacake in his Baker's Tour - has a layer of marzipan baked into a light fruitcake with predomninantly raisins and currants - made that last year and it was fantastic and very attractive with the dark fruit against the light cake (omes out exactly as depicted in the photo).