fruitcake-sliceWhy do people think they don’t like fruitcake? I believe it’s because they’ve been eating the wrong kind! My Great-Grandma’s recipe, passed down to me from my Grandma, contains no dark ingredients that give traditional dark fruitcake its too-strong flavor.  If you omit dark ingredients (molasses, dates, dark raisins and the like), you’ll create a light and delicious cake where the flavor of the fruit truly shines through.

This year I couldn’t find candied fruit at my local grocery stores, and bravely decided to try to make my own candied fruit peeling. The endeavor was time-consuming, but I got a great sense of accomplishment from the process. If you’d like to make your own candied fruit peeling, here’s how to do it. 

(You can actually make fruitcakes around Thanksgiving and they’ll keep until Christmas if you add some liquor to the cakes every few days to help preserve them and keep them moist.)

Ingredients:

8 eggs
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp mace
5 sticks of butter, softened
3-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
3/4 pounds red & green candied pineapple, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
3/4 pounds candied fruit peel
3/4 pound chopped pecans
3/4 pound white raisins

Optional: red and/or green candied cherries, whole slices of candied pineapple and whole pecans for garnishing the top of the cake

Put the fruit and nuts in a bowl and use some of the flour to coat the fruit; this helps keep the fruit from clumping together.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs, add salt, baking powder, vanilla and mace. Alternately add some flour and some butter, stirring to mix. Repeat until you’ve incorporated all the flour and sugar into the bowl.

Pour batter into buttered and floured loaf pans – this recipe makes 3 loaf cakes. (I lined the pans with brown paper this year to make them easier to remove from the pans because I was making several batches of fruitcakes and wanted to remove them from the pans a bit quicker). Garnish the tops by placing whole candied cherries and/or pineapple, and/or whole pecans on the top. Grandma liked to put 3 whole slices of pineapple, lined in the center of the cake, put a cherry in the hole in the pineapple, and placed pecans strategically around the pineapples, making them oh-so-pretty.

Bake at 275 degrees until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cakes will be VERY buttery, which helps keep them moist and helps keep them from sticking to the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely. Remove cakes from loaf pans. Pour one jigger of liquor over the cakes. Grandma used wine, I usually use bourbon. Sometimes I use triple sec. This year I used honey bourbon. The liquor preserves the cake so it will keep for weeks and weeks. In the past I’ve eaten my fruitcakes well into February.

candied-fruit-9I put each fruitcake in a large plastic freezer bag so I can open it up every couple of  days and pour another jigger of wine or liquor on it.

If you’re giving them away as gifts, take the liquored-up cakes and wrap them in fresh plastic wrap at the last minute and tie some ribbon around it.

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