Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time for Fruitcake

Oh that much maligned symbol of the Christmas season, butt of jokes, harbinger of doom when someone is presented with a commercial or dry fruitcake.   But for me, the start of the holiday season is when I bake my fruitcake so that it has time to ripen.   And even though, by my internal clock, I'm a little late, at least I'm done before Thanksgiving, which is a plus.

Last year, in the interests of expediency I elected to bake my fruitcake in the crockpot.  Well, either I'm not as good at using as crockpot as I thought I was or it was a stupendously bad idea, or I just didn't do the math.   Either way, I ended up with something that wasn't even edible, even with the addition of a bottle of rum.   And this was after cutting off the outside where it had been really burnt.

So after the Christmas season, I bought up my preserved fruit, the 'neon green' cherries, the 'smack you in the face red' cherries, and the mixture of cherries and pineapple.    They were on clearance and at less than half price, and with a sell by date of 2011, how could I miss.

I put them to use today.    I'm new to this business of taking pictures while I'm creating something in the kitchen, so these pictures were taken on the fly.    At least they will show you some of the process and hopefully the finished, (almost finished product).

Mixed fruit and nuts in bowl, with some of the batter on top.
 I always start my fruitcake by roasting whatever nuts I'm going to use a day or so beforehand, I've found that the richness of the roasted nuts adds a nice nuance to the finished fruitcake.   Today I used a mixture of pecans and walnuts, but in the past I've used walnuts and almonds and had a lovely result.

I forgot to take a picture of the fruitcakes before they went into the oven, so had to hurry up and take this just after they'd been in a few minutes.   As you can see the heat of the oven has already started to melt the butter in the batter, and it is glistening. 

Fruitcake in the oven
 One thing to remember, baking fruitcakes is a long slow process, you bake them in a low, slow oven.   I baked these for almost 3 1/2 hours at 275-300 deg.   My oven isn't calibrated very well.   But then again, I am baking everything I post here in an RV gas oven and I have to make allowances all the time.   One of which is to have an insulated baking pan underneath anything I bake, otherwise the bottom gets burnt and the top is raw.  
After baking, this was how many I got. 
 Here are the finished fruitcakes.   I had a regular loaf pan, a casserole dish, and a small (very small) loaf pan.
I did take the small loaf pan out about an hour or so into the baking process.    I use the very scientific method of poking a toothpick into the dish, and pulling it out.  If it comes out clean, then the dish is done, if there are any crumbs, then I keep baking.  
Close up of the loaf pan.
 As you can see on the last picture, there is a slight cracking in the top, which was my signal this one was also done.

I did cheat and taste the smallest loaf, and it was yummy, and that was before I started the marinating process.
Here is the recipe;

Sid's Fruit Cake
8 oz brown sugar
¾ lb butter
2 oz brandy (I only had a couple of ounces of brandy or I would have added more)
3 oz marzipan   (this was a last minute idea and addition to the recipe, and adds a nice nuance)
6 eggs
12 oz flour + 1 tsp. Baking powder sifted together with
1 tsp. (approx) ground cardamon  ( I decided to try Cardamon this year as I had a bunch on hand)
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp salt

Put all the nuts, fruit and mixed peel in a large bowl.
Toss all together with a couple tablespoons of flour.
This helps to keep the fruit and nuts from sinking to the
bottom of the pan.

8 oz pecans (toasted)
8 oz walnuts (toasted)
5 oz chopped pecans
8 oz candied red cherries
8 oz candied green cherries
8 oz mixed cherries, pineapples
8 oz candied mixed peel
6 oz craisins
8 oz dates
8 oz golden raisins
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the brandy and the marzipan, beating well.
then add the eggs,one at a time, beating well after each egg.

Add half the flour mix, mix well, then add the second half.
Pour batter over nuts and fruit and mix together.

Place in greased and parchment paper lined pans and bake in a 275-300 deg. Oven for 3-4 hours
until a toothpick inserted in pan comes out clean.   Start checking for done-ness at the 2 1/2 hour mark. 

After taking them out of the oven, pour a couple ounces of bourbon over the top to start the marinating process.     I like to let them cool a little but do want to pour the alcohol over them while they are still warm.
Wrap them well in cheesecloth and then again in aluminum foil.    After that, place them in a cool, dark place and just 'feed' them every week with another ounce or so of bourbon once a week.    Not only does this add flavour, but it also helps to preserve them.   And in the unlikely event you have some fruitcake left over after Christmas, you can continue to 'feed' them every month or so until you've eaten them all up.
* I usually add currants as well, but didn't have any. 
This recipe made one loaf pan, a 2 qt. Casserole and a small loaf pan.

For more recipes please check out   

All about food. *giggle*


  1. I have a confession. I have never even tasted a Fruit cake. I know, shame on me. I promise to taste one this season because yours look so wonderful.

  2. Thank you, I like them, but have learned not every fruit cake is good. If you have a friend who makes them every year, try a piece of theirs.