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Call for Recipes (CFR): Give me your best fruit cake recipes, ideas, innovations and ingredient sources!

I admit I've never been a huge traditional fruit cake fan. When pressed, I'd personally much rather have a small piece of one of the "light" versions, preferably studded with a good pineapple and nuts. However, I do like baking and I believe it's time to think about starting some fruit cakes if I want them to be able to season/ripen for gift-giving at the holidays.

If you have a great fruit cake recipe, lay it on me. Light or dark cake doesn't really matter -- I'm open to being convinced a rich, dark and spiced fruit cake can be delicious, too. Less-conventional recipes are welcome here, too. For example, to me, the idea of a rich, chocolate-y fruit cake made with a high-fat cocoa and maybe heavier on the cinnamon (still with a mix of dried fruits and nuts) sounds like it would be a recipe worth playing with.

And haters gonna hate. Let's keep the fruit cake complaining to a minimum here; this thread is about love of fruit cake (or love of its potential). Thank you!

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  1. For nontraditional, here are two I like a lot.

    Golden Fruitcake, studded with chunks of marzipan as well as fruit. I use dried cranberries instead of dates, and pecans instead of pine nuts.
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    David Lebovitz's Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake.
    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/11/...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      Wow! I adore marzipan and pine nuts -- that sounds like a contender in my book. Also interested to look at the Lebovitz recipe, although I've personally had mixed results with his stuff in the past. I do like the idea of Chocolate Cherry anything, though....

      Thanks for the ideas!

      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        2nd the Golden Fruitcake from Epi. It's very swet from the marzipan but I love it.

      2. This one is approved by me, but I *do* like fruitcake. Worth a look, for sure!
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

        5 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          Thanks! Curious if you (or anyone else) has tried doubling or tripling this recipe? I don't see why not. It's odd (to me) the yield is listed as "ten slices," which I assume is written that way for nutritional breakdown. Is that baked in a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan, as the recipe stands?

          This recipe sure got great reviews on the FN site. :)

          1. re: team_cake

            No, I've never doubled it, I'm a home cook, but I do indeed bake it in a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan.

            Ten slices from a 9" loaf would make the slices almost an inch thick -- too thick for fruitcake!

          2. re: blue room

            This Free Range Fruitcake recipe is the only one I will use, I love it that much. I have to sub apple cider for the rum because I can't have alcohol, and I glaze the top with bitter orange marmalade to moisten it before wrapping, instead of the brandy spritz.
            I change up some of the fruits, depending on what I find at the CSA store. I haven't tried blueberries because I am afraid they could overwhelm the other dried fruits.

            1. re: jmcarthur8

              I've had this WITH the blueberries and it is superb!

            2. I have had two really great fruitcakes. One was a gift. It was kind of a blonde fruitcake, nothing red or dark or green in it ... apricot based, maybe pineapple, with nuts. The other was my grandmother's, which had candied cherries and pecans only, and mashed bananas in the batter, which were not detectable. (I do not like candied citrus peel.)

              I don't have recipes for these, but have found that if you know what you want to make, finding a recipe is always possible ;)

              1 Reply
              1. re: foiegras

                Thank you! The banana one sounds interesting. I'll give it a Google.

              2. This is Black Cake. Laurie Colwin says " this is to fruitcake as Muzak is to fruitcake" and I agree.

                http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                2 Replies
                1. re: magiesmom

                  "There is fruitcake and there is black cake, which is to fruitcake what Brahms' piano quartets are to Muzak. Its closest relatives are plum pudding and black bun, but they are mere third cousins twice removed. Black cake, like truffles and vintage Burgundy, is deep, complicated, and intense. It is light and dense at the same time and demands to be eaten in a slow, meditative way." -- Laurie Colwin, Gourmet (Nov 88)

                  This sounds good, too. The recipe linked above is a little more ornate than common fruit cakes; this black cake calls for rolled marzipan, icing and dragee decorations. I wanted to find an image, and this one has the rolled marzipan cover -- the cake slice does look black from all the prunes and raisins. Link to an image (and article) here, too: http://www.boston.com/ae/food/article...

                  1. re: team_cake

                    I forgot there was marzipan because I love it I have not made it for this cake. it is wonderful without it also.

                2. Jacqueline Kennedy's Whitehouse recipe for French fruitcake was published years ago in I think the Ladies's Home Journal. It is a white fruitcake, rich in butter. My Mom used to make this each year and it is excellent served with sweet sherry I do have my recipe in my tin recipe box but if you do a web search for french fruitcake you will find it. I entered link below by hand as I am on a Mac computer and can't seem to find the copy and paste option. The ingredients listed are exactly the same ones I have on my very old page cut out from that magazine.
                  recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/3980/french-fruitcake.html

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    I have a fondness for these types of recipes associated with bits of history -- the fact Jackie O endorsed the cake as one she enjoyed enough to make it a White House standard is a kick. Thank you for the link!

                    1. re: team_cake

                      You are welcome, it is a lovely fruitcake and not quite so labour intensive as some of the darker ones.

                      1. re: team_cake

                        Since you like historical recipes, you might try to hold of Darren McGrady's book, "Eating Royally." He was head pastry chef at Buckingham Palace until he left to work for Princess Diana as one of her personal chefs after the divorce. The book includes the recipe for the fruitcakes he made for the royal family every year. It's very involved, storing the cakes for three months and soaking with sugar syrup every few weeks, with a final finish of marzipan frosting. He also includes a great recipe for cottage pie.

                        1. re: pasuga

                          Thank you! I will check that out online right now. :)

                      2. re: Ruthie789

                        There is an instruction in the French fruitcake recipe that I don't understand --
                        "Halfway through the baking use a knife to make a slit in the middle of the cake."

                        Does this mean a shallow slit, lengthwise, mostly for looks, to keep the top from cracking ?

                        1. re: blue room

                          It is a shallow lengthwise slit, I am not sure why. It could be because the cake has some beaten egg whites in it so perhaps managing the air and rising, giving a controlled end result as opposed to a makeshift one. Without the slit you might have a mountain top as a result. My Mom made the slit.