Fruitcake: Guests will love these recipes - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Fruitcake: Guests will love these recipes

The American Fruitcake: Make it light with lots of candied cherries.

It seems every recipe box has at least one version of the American fruitcake.  I’ve found dark fruitcake recipes made with raisins, brown sugar and spices or light ones with candied fruits and nuts. Solid and heavy, there is definitely an art to making this classic. The following recipe is a good one to start with because you can adjust the variety and amounts of fruit.

Oh, yes! Try and ignore all those fruitcake jokes. Too many for too long. It’s time to reinvent the American fruitcake. Give it a try. These cakes have a place on that cookie plate; the tiny loaves can be easily sliced for individual tasting. Besides, Santa might enjoy something new on Christmas Eve.

fruitcake 010Light Fruitcake: from my California Box, 1970s

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. coarsely chopped candied pineapple
  • 1 lb. candied cherries, left whole
  • 1 ½ lbs. coarsely chopped pitted dates
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1\2 lbs. pecan halves (8 cups)

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add fruits and mix well to coast with flour. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add fruit-flour mixture and nuts; mix well. Grease pan. Line pan with greased brown paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Bake at 275 degrees about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cake stand in pan about 10 minutes; turn out on rack and remove brown paper. Cool well before wrapping for storage.

fruitcake 005Adjusted Light Fruitcake

After working through this recipe, I adjusted a few ingredients and placed the dough in an eight, 2 ½ x 4 inch mold cake pan, but there was enough dough left over to fill a 4 x 6 inch disposable (recyclable)  aluminum pan.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz.  coarsely chopped candied pineapple
  • 8 oz. candied cherries, left whole
  • 8 oz. coarsely chopped pitted dates (if you don’t care for dates, add more candied fruit or nuts)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups pecan halves or pieces. Other recipes call for almonds, black walnuts and raisins.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add fruits and mix well to coast with flour. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add fruit-flour mixture and nuts; mix well. Grease pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Press the dough mixture firmly into pan. Don’t be afraid to pack it down. Bake at 275 degrees about 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If the batter is still moist, return to oven and check in 10 minute intervals. Let cake stand in pan about 10 minutes; turn out on rack and remove parchment paper. Cool before wrapping for storage.

Some Ideas for creating your own version:

*For a fantastic variety of candied fruits for my recipe or your own fruitcake recipe, check out the Paradise Fruit Company site. Here are just a few of their offerings.

  • Mixed Fruit
  • Cherry-pineapple
  • Green Cherries
  • Orange
  • Citron
  • Pineapple and not just yellow

*One recipe called for a light sprinkling of Bourbon over the top of the cooled cakes. Others suggest storing the cakes in liqueur or brandy soaked linens. Fruitcakes containing alcohol can remain edible for years. Anyone have a 1970s vintage fruitcake they’d like to share?

Fruitcake on a Personal Note:

Each country seems to have a unique interpretation of the fruitcake. As a child I was introduced to panettone, an Italian, Milanese version (The American version is similar). About a week after Thanksgiving, my grandparents received an oversized box with panettone inside. It was a gift from their families and was ordered from the local baker in the village where they grew up. I remember tasting it and being rather disappointed. It seemed so dry. I do remember the sweet chewy raisins, but didn’t understand citron at all. I liked the candied red and green cherries but they were far and few between. For many years I thought candied green cherries were picked off the tree. One year I even confused uncured green olives with the sweet green cherries. I didn’t do that again! My great-grandparents, grandparents and their cousins have passed on, as has the bakery in the village. It closed its doors many years ago. The owner’s children and great-grandchildren have moved into the larger cities for jobs, and they order their panettone through the internet. During December, I like to buy a panettone or make a version of an American style fruitcake just for the memory. I like the smell, the aroma and admire the sweet colors of the candied fruits. I even like its taste, still a little dry for my taste buds, but I always pick one full of those sweet candied cherries.

Don’t’ Forget the Dessert Contest

Recycled Recipes from Vintage Boxes: Holiday Dessert Contest.

I’m looking for a tasty, unique, I-can’t-put-my-fork-down, holiday dessert recipe from your own recipe box. Choose a recipe from seasons past, one of your own or from your mom, dad, your great-aunt, your grandma, grandpa or that neighbor down the street. Gourmet fusion or packaged mix, some recipes are simple, others more complicated. It doesn’t matter, because they tastes so good.

How to Enter: Email me the ingredients, instructions, and a sentence about the recipe (i.e., why it keeps you going back for seconds or thirds). Don’t forget to let me know who gave you the recipe or where you found it (First name only, upon request). I will pick one winner, make the recipe, and feature it in my blog Recycled Recipes from Vintage Boxes in December and you’ll receive a free Baltimore Post Examiner T-Shirt besides! Send your entries to:

recycledrecipe@gmail.com

Subject: Holiday Dessert Contest.

Deadline for entries: December 15, 2014

 

Ann Marie


About the author

Ann Marie Bezayiff

Ann Marie Bezayiff received her BA and MEd from the University of Washington in Seattle. She is an author, blogger, columnist and speaker. Her columns, “From the Olive Orchard” and “Recycled Recipes from Vintage Boxes”, appear in newspapers, newsletters and on Internet sites. Ann Marie has also demonstrated her recipes on local television. Currently she divides her time between Western Maryland and Texas. Contact the author.
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