Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fruit Cake

Fruit cake has a poor reputation and is the butt of many holiday jokes, from the fruit cake used as a door stop to stories told about people mailing the same stale fruit cake from friend to friend year after year. Unfortunately, I have tasted fruit cake that would fit in the category "inedible". Nuts and coconut go stale and rancid quickly and can ruin a recipe, so I leave these ingredients out completely. I find that store-bought fruit cake is too sweet and sticky, the smallest piece causing me to look quickly for something to drink. Grandma D. made a simple, light (as opposed to dark) fruit cake that is a family favourite. We make it the first week of November, wrap it well and freeze it for at least a month. It is still delicious after six months in the freezer. Eldest daughter came home on her days off this week to make the cake, so I pulled out Grandma's old recipe box and the stained card she had written on so I could buy the ingredients. Grandma always said you should eat twelve pieces of fruit cake during the holiday season in order to have twelve happy months the next year. I don't need any excuse to eat this cake!

Christmas Cake

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs

Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, almost colourless. Add well beaten eggs.

12-16 oz raisins
1/2 lb glazed cherries
2 cups mixed peel

Pour boiling water over the raisins, drain and pat them dry with a towel. Place them in a second bowl with the cherries and the mixed peel. sift over the fruit:

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Add the floured fruit mixture to the egg mixture along with
1/4 c of juice
1 tsp flavouring (vanilla or almond)

Bake for 3 hours at 275 degrees F, or until done. Place a pan of water in the oven under the cake. This recipe makes a standard loaf pan, plus a smaller pan. Grandma had special fruit cake tins that she used. It must be well wrapped and kept in a cool place for a while before slicing. Serve in slices the size of dominoes.


  1. Rancid, stale, or fresh, I'm still not a fan of fruit cake. BLECH!!!!

  2. Anonymous6:38 am GMT-5

    Goodie, all the more for me!

  3. Why the pan of water? I only have one rack in my apartment oven which is why I ask... Sounds tasty though i love fruitcake!

  4. The cake bakes for a long time at a low temperature. The water keeps the top of the cake from drying out. You could put a pan of water on the same rack as the fruitcake. Baked custards should also have extra oven humidity.

  5. Fruitcake has been treated badly. Thanks for writing the up side. I sent you a comment and it disappeared. Where do they go?
    On the coast of Labrador everyone went visiting to get 12 pieces so they would have 12 months of good luck. And it created freedom and reason for everyone to visit even more than they usually would. And women prepared for it months in advance. I love fruit cake.

  6. I have had trouble posting comments on other blogger blogs this week too?! I am glad to hear from another fruitcake fan. If you had 12 friends in the community to visit, you would be well on your way to having a happy year!

  7. I'd like to try your cake recipe but I'm not sure what you mean by "mixed peel". Help me out?

  8. I don't know where you live, KyBoone. Here in Canada, mixed peel is sold along side the candied cherries and other candied fruit. The peel of citrus fruit is finely diced and candied. Often there a tiny pieces of red or green cherries mixed in as well. You could likely substitute 2 cups of other candied fruit, but I would chop it up.


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