How To Make Homemade Fruitcake – Recipes and Tips



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Fruitcakes
(no, not your brother or your Aunt Mabel :-) )

Today’s recipes are dedicated to my sweet daughter who has for many years now tried desperately to bake herself the perfect homemade fruitcake. It has almost become a family tradition to watch and see what interesting combination she will come up with yet again this year.

I have to give her credit though. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone work with such vigor, determination and tenacity to accomplish something as she does each year with her fruitcake. I’m not sure what we will have to look forward to if one year she actually succeeds and bakes the perfect one. : ) : )

If you haven’t figured out by now, I am going to be talking about homemade fruitcake. You either love fruitcake or you hate it. There is no middle ground. If you are a fruitcake lover, then here are some tips for you (and my daughter) to help you have success in baking them.

Fruitcake Tips:

  • If you plan to make homemade fruitcake for Christmas, you need to make it now, this week, because most fruitcake has to “season” for at least a month and are even better if you can let them set longer.
  • I know some of you would love to give fruitcake as gifts, but I suggest starting small until you have some success with it. The ingredients for homemade fruitcake can be expensive. If you buy a ton of ingredients and make several batches that subsequently flop you can be out a lot of money.
  • Be sure to allow you fruitcake to age for at least a month before you put it in the freezer. Freezing stops the aging (or seasoning) process.
  • Always bake at low temperatures: 250 – 300 degrees is best, but some recipes do go a little higher depending on their ingredients.
  • Because fruitcakes take so long to bake, line the pan with 1-3 layers of brown paper (you can use a brown paper sack) to prevent them from getting too brown and drying out. Make sure the paper comes up a couple of inches past the top of the pan.
  • Fill the pan only 2/3 full with batter.
  • To help prevent the fruitcake from drying out, place a pan of hot water on a lower rack in the oven while it is baking.
  • To test whether it is done, insert a toothpick. If it comes out moist but not gooey, it is done.
  • Let fruitcake cool on a cooling rack before taking it out of the pan. When cool, dump it out of the pan and peel off the paper.
  • You can bake your homemade fruitcake in muffin pans or mini loaf pans, but be sure to adjust the baking time. It will be shorter.
  • Don’t store fruitcake in a plastic container. The fruitcake will absorb old flavors that have been left behind in the plastic. Wrap in plastic wrap; then foil. Do not wrap with the foil touching the fruitcake because in some cases it can cause a chemical reaction.
  • You can take any basic fruitcake recipe and change what you put in it as far as the fruits and nuts are concerned. Just be sure you use the same amounts. For example if it calls for one cup of dried pineapple, you can replace it with mango as long as you use one cup.
  • Always mix the fruit and nuts with some or all of the flour for the recipe before you put it in. This keeps all these things from sinking to the bottom. Do this with any recipe that calls for fruit or nuts.
  • As with any recipe, read the fruitcake recipe from start to finish before you begin!


 

Homemade Fruitcake Recipes:

Here are 4 homemade fruitcake recipes that you might try. The first is not your usual fruitcake, but I thought it was perfect for our web site (Poor Man’s Fruitcake ;-) ) and the second is a more traditional homemade fruitcake recipe. Number 3 is a no bake fruitcake and the fourth, (No Fail fruitcake) I dedicate to my daughter in hopes of her success. : ) : )

Poor Man’s Fruitcake

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
4 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each cloves, nutmeg and salt
1 1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. gum drops, no black ones
3 cups raisins
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and line two 9×5 loaf pans with brown paper. Sift flour, and spices. Cut gum drops into fourths, and mix those, the raisins and nuts with part of flour mix. Cream together butter, sugars and eggs. Alternately, add the flour mix and applesauce. Add soda to hot water and mix it into the batter. Then add the vanilla. Add gumdrops, raisins, and nuts mixture. Bake for 2 hours. If you use a tube pan instead of loaf pans bake 30-40 minutes longer.

 

Christmas Wreath Traditional Fruitcake Recipe

(Don’t forget that you can take out anything like the dates or fruits and replace them with equal amounts of something you prefer.)

1 1/2 cup raisins
1 cup red and green cherries
3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup candied pineapple, diced
1/2 cup coconut
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
4 eggs
2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 300°. Mix first 8 ingredients. In separate bowl cream butter, sugar and add lemon zest, eggs and lemon juice. Mix into flour mixture. Bake for 2 hours.

 

No Bake Fruitcake Recipe

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 cups raisins
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups candied pineapple chunks
2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup dried currants
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups almonds, chopped
1/4 cup candies cherries
1/2 tsp. each nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt
4 cups graham cracker crumbs

Grease a 9×5 loaf pan. Mix everything well and pour into the pan. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 1 week to age.

 

Never Fail Fruitcake
Daughter, dear, this one is for you. Luv, mum. : ) : )

This is a big fruitcake recipe but you can easily half it. Using half, you can make 22 cupcakes but, if you do, only bake them for 40 minutes.

1 lb. candied cherries, chopped
1 lb. dates, pitted and chopped
1 lb. candied pineapple, chopped
1 lb. pecans, chopped
4 (8oz.) pkgs. coconut
3 Tbsp. flour
2 (14 oz.) cans of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 300°. Grease two 9×5 pans and line with brown paper or parchment paper. Mix everything very well and press into pans. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Cool and remove from pan.

 

photo by: mbiet

Comments

  1. motheroflittle says

    I LOVE fruitcake. When I was a child, I always got one wrapped as a gift from “Santa”. My mom makes fruitcake cookies every year for her cookie tray. Now that I’ve moved away with a family of my own ,she sends me a care package of her fruitcake cookies. I’ve tried to make them but its just not the same….sigh…The cookies are filled with dried friut and nuts just like a big cake. They are easier to make than whole cakes and no waiting to enjoy them. I think I’ll have a try again this year. Thanks.

  2. susan says

    Hi Jill

    although I am not fond of fruitcakes, I have an old receipe that was my grandma’s I will post if anyone is interested.I know she started making those things in late October and as you said they had to “season”. I can remember family members really enjoying those cakes but for me I never cared for them.
    Love your newsletter and tips! God bless you all

    Susan

    • says

      I don’t think so it was some kind of manager’s special. She went to the new one in Andover. I get things like that at my dillons though which was and is soon to be again (their building a new store) on Edgemoor and Harry. You have to really time it right on some of these things. I now know Mon. and Thurs. morning are good days at my store. If you go too early they don’t have things marked down and to late they are all gone. For mine about 9:00 – 9:30 is a good time.

    • says

      It helps us a little Amy just because there are 2 of us. If I go to my store and find something I call her and see if she needs it and visa versa. I’m not sure how to plan my menu this week off of what she found though – 100 lbs of hamburger and 100 lbs of candy. It will make for interesting fixin’s. HA!HA! Actually that sounds like a lot but she divides it with my son, me, her grandmother and when the cashier said she needed some she gave up 10 lbs to her so it does get spread out. The same goes for the candy.

  3. Nicole says

    Jill,

    Can you replace chopped pretzels for the nuts. I would love to try the fruitcake, but I am allergic to nuts. My mother-in-law told me that you can replace pretzels for any nut, but I was wondering if they would get soggy in it?

    Any ideas? Thanks!

    • says

      Nicole you have stomped me with that one. I would think they would get soggy especially because the sit and season so long I would thing they would just keep absorbing moisture. You could give it a try and see. The worse that would happen would be they would blend in with the rest of the cake and be soft. It might not be to bad with a little salty to be in there too but I know it is the crunch you are looking for. Maybe someone else can help.

  4. says

    Nicole, I would just leave out the nuts and use more candied fruit and peels.
    I do that the opposite I can’t have the peels and citrus so I add the equivalent amount of nuts.
    The cakes are delicious and I can actually have some.
    I don’t think I would enjoy the pretzels but who knows your MIL may be right.

  5. says

    The best time to find big big savings on things is when a new grocery store is opening and wants customers and the old store is trying to keep their customers.
    This happened about 15 years ago here in town.
    Tom Boys was going to have competition so they started sending people over to see what extra’s prices were. The phones were ringing in both directions for about a week.
    I was a stay at home mom so my one son and I would walk from one store to another during that week. The best prices were on the meats.
    Hamburger started out at $1.50 a pound and by the end of day one it was $1. by the end of the week it was .25 a lb.
    Blade steaks were $2. a lb and eventually ended up at .75 a lb.
    My freezer was stuffed as well as the one above the fridge but we ate very well for about 2 months.
    I ended up going back on grocery day to check out the prices of other things and in total I spent about $100. more than normal but for the 2 months all I spent on groceries was for bread and fresh produce.
    Sometimes the sales come fast and furious but they are usually well worth the time and effort to get them.

  6. Jeanene Overholt says

    I grew up in a family that did not care for the traditional fruitcake. However, my mom would take a regular bread recipe and mix in one pound of candied cherries, for the red and one pound of another candied fruit that was green. This was baked in a regular loaf pan and sliced.

    • says

      Thank you Jeanene and thank you for the fruit cake tip too. It reminds me a little of the hot cross buns I have seen at Easter time which look like rolls with candied fruit in them so I bet it is good.

  7. says

    A baker in the town when I was a child did exactly what your mom did.
    He baked them in juice cans so they were fancier whole green and red cherries and they were his hottest sellers.
    They looked great and made wonderful french toast for boxing day morning brunch.

    Another thing he did which I have never been able to do properly was make square loaves of bread but with 3 different colours. like a checker board. They were for fancy sandwiches and more for easter since the colours were more pastel than bright.
    Does anyone know how he would have done this so the colours stay together. Last time I saw them was when I was 15 and have tried off and on since then with no success. I am 55 now so you can tell I have tried for a long time.

    • says

      I know what you are talking about but don’t know how they did it. For some reason your post reminded me of the regular white bread we use to could buy but they were made in round loaves. I even had a special glass cylinder pan you could make round loaves in. They tasted sooo good you wouldn’t think baking the bread in a round loaf would make it taste better but it sure did. I’m not talking round like a circle but shaped like a big hot dog. Anyone remember those?

  8. says

    Mr. Pinnel the baker was a family friend and my dad had worked for him for a few years and my brother worked for him as a summer job when he turned 13. We always got a call Saturday afternoon and would go down and pick up a huge box of the baked things that hadn’t sold and he couldn’t keep until Monday when the stores opened again.
    There were usually a couple of those hot dog loaves and since Sunday night was International show time and walt disney night that was our night to eat in front of the tv. Mom would empty the fridge onto the table and we would go out and get what we wanted for supper.
    Those loaves when split down the middle made great dagwood sandwiches.
    Sub buns just don’t taste the same.
    Those Sunday nights were dagwoods and honey dip donuts where the air pockets were full of honey. Now TV doesn’t even hold the same appeal.
    oh well nice memories anyway.

  9. JoyAnn Holsten says

    I once ate a fruitcake cookie and would like a recipe for them. They had the candies fruit and nuts. Or, how can I use that recipe and make cookies with it instesd?
    Help, please.
    Thank you.

    • says

      JoyAnn you can take these fruitcake recipes and make them into cookies by dropping them by teaspoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and baking at 350 degrees for 15 or some people do them for 300 degrees for 20 mins. until golden brown.

  10. Karen says

    I found a recipe in Prevention magazine 20 odd years ago that uses alot of nuts, raisins, golden raisins, dates, figs, juice dried pineapple. For people who don’t like all the citron and candied fruit, it is a really nice alternative. When ever I can find all the stuff for it, our family eats it all, it never makes it to being gifts.

  11. says

    my mother always made some form of drop cookie batter then added all the fruit, peel and nuts she had left over from baking before Christmas.
    I always preferred those since I wasn’t stuffed with all the other good stuff that came before the desserts at christmas.
    I asked her for the recipe once and she said what recipe. She said she just made drop cookies could be sugar ones or even molasses ones just whatever she had the ingredients for.

  12. says

    I love to make some no bake fruitcakes. You have good recipes. Thanks for sharing. This Christmas, I will be crocheting and donating some crocheted items.Sure, I will be making nice cookies and cakes too.
    Bindu

  13. says

    These sound really yummy! My husband loves fruitcake, so I’m going to try the Christmas wreath recipe for him. The recipe calls for one cup of red and green cherries. Is that one cup each or one cup of both mixed together? Thanks!

    • says

      One cup total but with fruitcakes you usually can add a little more or less if you want. It is some what like making raisin cookies, you can add a bunch of raisins or a few. Hope you enjoy it.

  14. barb~ says

    What is the name of the dark English bread baked in cans? Is it plum pudding? I recall my grandma baking something like that in cans. It was sweet, moist, dark and pretty dense. I think maybe she served it with a warm sauce over it…gosh, i haven’t thought about it in years.

    • Veronica Tidd says

      That was a Christmas or more commonly called a plum pudding in the US. I make one each year and we put a little hot brandy over it and turn the lights out and watch it burn. You can make it in cans but it is most commonly made in a round heatproof basin as it is a boiled pudding. The sauce can be a custart as in Bird’s Desert mix just known as custard in the UK or traditionally brandy butter which is a mixture of butter brandy and sugar

  15. says

    Sounds like plum pudding.
    bakes in a juice can. Served either in slices or by the spoonful.
    served with a hot lemon sauce.
    It can have rum poured over it and then be lighted at the table before cutting it.
    Very spectacular looking.
    It was modified over on this side of the pond to a carrot pudding. Carrots were much cheaper than plums and easier to get from the root cellar at Christmas.
    It was pride of place at family Christmas during my child hood.
    Can give a recipe if anyone would like. both plum and carrot are great.

  16. says

    Here is the story of how a plum pudding saved a ship.
    I have heard it many times but now I found a copy of it.
    I hope you enjoy it.

    Enjoy the sailor’s story and try the plum pudding recipe. This traditional Christmas pudding will make a great topic of conversation at your festive dinner table.

    To show the real value of the old English plum pudding, I take my Christmas plum pudding recipe from the New York Times, as related by a sailor — the second mate on a ship from New York to Liverpool — in which case, of course, even the half of the plum pudding saved (?) the ship and quickly brought all safely to their desired haven.

    Note well the instructions given in the receipt part of the item, as they will all be found correct and worthy to be followed, on land as well as on the sea. I take the item from the Detroit Free Press, but it originated with the Times, as credited above. It is as follows:

    The Sailor’s Plum Pudding Recipe, Christmas 1839
    It was about the stormiest voyage I ever see. We left the Hook on November 5, 1839, in a regular blow, and struck worse weather off the Banks (Newfoundland), and it grew dirtier every mile we made. The old man was kind of gruff and anxious like, and wasn’t easy to manage.

    This ain’t no Christmas story, and ain’t got no moral to it. I was second mate and knowed the captain pretty well, but he wasn’t sociable, and the nearer we got to land according to our dead reckoning (for we hadn’t been able to take an observation) the more cross-grained he got.

    I was eating my supper on the 24th, when the steward he comes in, and says he, “Captain, plum pudding tomorrow, as usual sir?”

    It wouldn’t be polite in me to give what that captain replied, but the steward he didn’t mind.

    All that night and next day, the 25th of December, it was a howling storm, and the captain he kept the deck. About 3 o’clock Christmas day dinner was ready, and a precious hard time it was to get that dinner from the galley to the cabin on account of the green seas that swept over the ship. The old man, after a bit, came down, and says he, “Where’s the puddin’?”

    The steward he come in just then as pale as a ghost, and says he showing an empty dish: “Washed overboard, sir.”

    It ain’t necessary to repeat what that there captain said. Kind of how it looked as if the old man had wanted to give himself some heart with that pudding, and now there wasn’t none.

    I disremember whether it wasn’t a passenger as said “that, providing we only reached port safe, in such a gale puddings was of no consequence.” I guess the old man most bit his head off for interfering with the ship’s regulations. Just then the cook he came into the cabin with a dish in his hand, saying: “There is another pudding. I halved ‘em,” and he set a good-sized pudding down on the table.

    Then the old man kind of unbent and went for that pudding and cut it in big hunks, helping the passenger last, with a kind of triumphant look. He hadn’t swallowed more than a single bite than the first mate he comes running down, and says he: “Lizard Light on the starboard bow, and weather brightening up.”

    “How does she head?”

    “East by north.”

    “Then give her full three points more northerly, sir, and the Lord be praised.” And the captain, he swallowed his pudding in three gulps, and was on deck, just saying, “I knowed the pudding would fetch it,” and he left us.

    We was in Liverpool three days after that, though a ship that started the day before us from New York was never heard of.

    This here is the receipt for that there Christmas pudding:

    Take six ounces of suet, mind you skin it and cut it up fine. Just you use the same quantity of raisins, taking out the stones, and the same of currants; always wash your currants and dry them in a cloth. Have a stale loaf of bread, and crumble, say three ounces of it. You will want about the same of sifted flour. Break three eggs, yolks and all, but don’t beat them much. Have a teaspoonful of ground cinnamon and grate half a nutmeg. Don’t forget a teaspoonful of salt. You will require with all this, a half-pint of milk — we kept a cow on board of ship in those days — say to that four ounces of white sugar.

    In old days angelica root candied was used; it’s gone out of fashion now. Put that in — if you have it — not a big piece, and slice it thin. You can’t do well without half an ounce of candied citron. Now mix all this up together, adding the milk last, in which you put half a glass of brandy.

    Take a piece of linen, big enough to double over, put it in boiling water, squeeze out all the water, and flour it; turn out your mixture in that cloth, and tie it up tight; good cooks sew up their pudding bags. It can’t be squeezed too much, for a loosely tied pudding is a soggy thing, because it won’t cook dry. Put in 5 quarts of boiling water, and let it boil 6 hours steady, covering it up. Watch it, and if the water gives out, add more boiling water.

    This is a real English plum pudding recipe, with no nonsense about it.

    Remarks. –Angelica grows all over the United States, as well as Europe, has a peculiar flavor, and was, at least, once believed to be a very valuable medicine, but used more, of late, merely for the agreeable flavor it imparts to other medicine. The root is of purplish color, and is to be sliced up and cooked in sugar, if “candied,” as referred to above in the plum pudding recipe, the same as citron or lemon, etc., are done. –Dr. Chase

    Remarks. –It has always appeared to the author that an occasional incident like the above sea voyage, in connection with a recipe, or receipt (recipe is the proper spelling, but receipt is much the more common manner of speaking), not only gives relief to the mind from the sameness of the receipts, or descriptions, but also helps one to remember the modus operandi (manner of operation) of the whole instructions and directions of the receipt.

    An incident like this one here given will also give a subject for conversation, and also call for the relation of other incidents known, or passed through, by some of those who may be gathered around the sideboard, when the old English plum pudding, “with no nonsense about it,” will be reproduced, if at no other time in the whole year. So I trust to be excused for the space the story part of the Christmas plum pudding recipe or receipt occupies.

    I think, generally, there is no instruction to remove the dry membrane, or skin, as the sailor calls it, from suet; but it ought to be done, as it is not only indigestible, but hard to chop, becoming more or less stringy and troublesome while chopping. –Dr. Chase

  17. says

    How to Make an English Christmas Plum Pudding with Brown Sugar Hard Sauce

    In England, a traditional Christmas dinner will be followed by the grand encore of a Christmas Plum Pudding. In the old days, Plum Pudding was first called, “Plum Soup” because it had a porridge type texture and in Old England it was named simply, “Christmas Pudding.” It was made with mutton, steak, and fruits. It’s pungent aroma is what the traditional English Christmas finale was all about. It is traditionally made in a deep 1 quart glazed pottery or china mold. NOTE: You have to start this process at least 3 weeks before Christmas so it has the time it needs to ferment in the refrigerator.
    Difficulty: Moderately Easy
    Instructions
    Things You’ll Need:

    1

    In a large mixing bowl, combine with wooden spoon, 1 C sultanas, 1 C golden raisins, 3/4 C currants, 1/2 C mixed chopped candied fruit, 1/2 C slivered almonds, 1 grated medium cooking apple, 1/4 lb. chopped minced beef suet, 1 T. grated orange peel, and 1 t. grated lemon peel.

    2

    Mix in 2 C fresh bread crumbs, 1 C all-purpose flour, 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. allspice, and 1/2 t. cinnamon.

    3

    In a separate bowl, beat 3 large eggs until foamy; add 1/4 C brandy (or apple cider), 2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice, and 2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir this liquid mixture into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.

    4

    Stir this liquid mixture into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.

    5

    Spoon batter into a well-greased 1 quart deep china or glazed pottery mold or even a round casserole dish. Cover the top of the batter with a circle buttered parchment paper next to the pudding. Cover with tin foil and fasten foil with string.

    6

    Place dish in a rack in a deep kettle or stock pot and add 1 inch of water. Heat water to boiling; reduce heat and cover kettle/pot. Steam about 4 – 5 hours. Add boiling water to kettle/pot when necessary so it doesn’t go dry.

    7

    After steaming is done, remove casserole from kettle/pot. Remove foil; cool casserole completely on a wire rack.

    8

    Wrap casserole dish in foil and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 weeks.

    9

    Before serving, steam the casserole dish again on a rack in a covered kettle/pot with 1 inch of boiling water for 1 – 2 hours or until heated through. Remove dish from kettle/pot; cool slightly and un-mold onto serving platter. Decorate and serve with whipped cream or brown sugar hard sauce (recipe in next step).

    10

    BROWN SUGAR HARD SAUCE: In a bowl, cream together 6 T. softened butter and 6 T. brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 T. at a time 2 – 3 T. cream (or 2 – 3 T. brandy) and 1/2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract. Beat until mixture is light in color and holds its shape. Spoon into a serving dish. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before spooning onto Plum Pudding.

    Read more: How to Make an English Christmas Plum Pudding with Brown Sugar Hard Sauce | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_6050993_make-brown-sugar-hard-sauce.html#ixzz14bjX3mbQ

    this isn’t what my grandmother made but it is pretty close.
    She also used a lemon sauce instead of the hard sauce called for. When I call my mom next time I will ask her how that is made. I prefer the lemon sauce as the hard sauce is soooo sweet it detracts from the pudding I think.

  18. says

    here is one I just found using a slow cooker. If anyone tries it come and say how it turned out please.

    How to Make Christmas Plum Pudding in a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker
    By rspears01, eHow Member

    User-Submitted Article

    Plum pudding is a very old English recipe that can be dated back to as early as the 1420s. Today it is still served as a traditional English food. It is also served in many other parts of the world with many different variations.

    Treat your family this holiday season with a wonderful Christmas Plum Pudding, but do it much easier than it was done back in the 1420s in England, use your crockpot or slowcooker!
    Difficulty: Easy
    Instructions

    1

    Gather and prepare the following ingredients:
    2 1/2 Cups of milk
    4 Eggs that have been slightly beaten
    10 Slices of white bread that have been cut into 2 inch cubes
    2 1/4 Cups of all-purpose flour
    2 1/4 Cups of light brown sugar, packed
    5 Teaspoons of ground cinnamon
    2 Teaspoons of baking soda
    2 Teaspoons of cloves
    2 Teaspoons of mace
    1 Teaspoon of salt
    1/2 Cup of orange juice
    3 Teaspoons of vanilla
    3 Cups of raisins
    2 Cups of dried plums
    1 Cup of dried candied fruit mix

    To make preparation faster and more efficient, premature each ingredient and place them in separate containers.

    This recipe will serve approximately 8 people.

    2

    Use a nonstick cooking spray to coat the inside of your crock pot or slow cooker. Make certain that the entire inside is coated well.

    3

    In a large bowl, combine the milk and eggs.
    Add the bread that you have cubed and set it aside to soak.

    4

    Combine the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt, mace and baking soda.
    Mix the orange juice and vanilla in and stir well until the mixture becomes nice and smooth.

    Now, add the raisins, plums and candied fruit.

    5

    Place the bread into the crock pot or slow cooker.

    Pour the fruit mixture over top of the bread.

    6

    Cover the crock pot with a lid and cook on low for about 6 hours.
    You can also cook on high for 2 to 4 hours if you are in a bit of a hurry.

    Serve your delicious Christmas Plum Pudding warm.

  19. says

    old fashioned carrot pudding.

    This one has the lemon sauce as well.
    similar to mine but less work to type it out. cut and paste is nice.

    Prep Time:
    20 Min
    Cook Time:
    4 Hrs
    Ready In:
    4 Hrs 20 Min

    Original Recipe Yield 12 servings

    Ingredients

    * 1/2 cup shortening
    * 1 cup white sugar
    * 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 3/4 teaspoon salt
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    * 1 cup grated carrots
    * 1 cup raisins
    * 1 cup chopped walnuts
    *
    * 3/4 cup white sugar
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    * 1 pinch salt
    * 1 1/4 cups hot water
    * 3 1/2 teaspoons butter
    * 3 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. The mixture will be dry. Stir in the carrots, raisins and chopped walnuts. Pour into a well-greased pudding mold or coffee can. Cover the top with aluminum foil.
    2. Place the pudding mold into a large kettle or Dutch oven filled with 2 inches of water. Cover the pan, and bring to a simmer. Allow the pudding to steam for 4 to 4 1/2 hours over low heat. Remove from the mold. Serve with warm lemon sauce.
    3. To make the lemon sauce, mix together 3/4 cup of sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Stir in hot water, butter, lemon juice and vanilla. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Serve warm over the pudding.

    I actually prefer the carrot pudding. Both are wonderful though. I guess personal preference.

  20. Sylvia says

    I am wondering how garbanzo beans might work as a substitute for nuts. If you cook them from dried, you can control how “crunchy” they are by cooking until done but not soft. When I cook them for other recipes, I cook a little longer than recommended because I like them softer.

  21. barb~ says

    Grandma!
    Thank you, thank you. This is all so fascinating. I am going to make at least onne of these-sure would like to try them all. I new there was great tradition behind the story of plum pudding, but this has been a wonderful history lesson for us all:) My grandma made a hard lemon sauce. I wonder if it was a lemon curd. I think the carrot pudding sounds delightful!

    BTW-do you use English crackers at your holiday? I have bought some over the years and they are great fun for all ages. Always a fun surprise inside!

  22. says

    What are garbanzo beans. have seen them in recipes just never encountered them. or are they they the same as chick peas?

    I live in Canada but when I was young I lived in Southern Ontario so met a lot of British women as they married and came to Canada as war brides. So a lot of their traditions are carried on here. Also my best friend’s mother cooked a lot of traditional British meals as her father and mother were right from England.
    Mince meat and plum puddings started out with meat in them and slowly changed from that. Also plum pudding was boiled in a pot not in a pudding bag and was served at the start of the meal.
    Lemon curd is much lighter in colour than the lemon sauce and I don’t think it would be the hard sauce. Too fluffy to be considered as hard. I think it was just lemon sauce cooked longer so it was harder.
    Like when you make candy to the hard ball stage.
    No don’t use the crackers as they are fairly expensive but they are fun. I once found out how to make them. If I can find the site I will post how to do it. Unless Jill or Tawra have the know how.

    My family rarely do traditional because it is more fun to try new things.
    My husband is Native, English, Scottish, Irish, Spanish and I am Irish and Scottish. So it seems that each year we just take from one and add it to the others.
    Makes for interesting meals and our family has new traditions to pass on. Can’t add to a Christmas tradition for our new DIL because the Chinese don’t have Christmas as a big day. But will add a
    Chinese dish or two probably.
    When people ask we just say we are Canadian.

  23. says

    thought so but I can’t see using them to replace nuts.
    maybe it is just me but I don’t think the texture would be the same.
    I would just opt to leave the nuts out.

  24. Bea says

    This is a recipe for a “fruitcake-like” bread.

    Cranberry Casserole Bread (Red and Green colors)

    2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup shortening, 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon grated orange rind, 2 eggs, well beaten, 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped candied green cherries.

    Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Combine orange juice and grated rind with eggs. Pour all at once into dry ingredients, mixing just enough to dampen. Dust chopped cranberries and cherries with a tablespoon of flour, then carefully fold into batter. Spoon into a well-greased 1-1/2 quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Frost with confectioners sugar icing.

    Confectioners Sugar Frosting

    3 tablespoons margarine, 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 tablespoons warm milk

    Cream margarine. Add salt and sugar and mix thoroughly. Add milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

  25. barb~ says

    Many thanks for all the hard work-writing out recipes is so time consuming. Grandma, I was just rereading all the history behind plum pudding and it is quite a story! I agree it’s always fun to try new things, but I like to include some traditional aspects that I carry on year to year. All the kids and grandkids in our extended family look forward to these things. I think whether it’s something cooked, sewed or purchased it can become a “love language” and reminds people that you are thinking of them especially and they are special! My own grandma passed away a few yrs. back and my father did 2 yrs. ago. By keeping the traditions alive I am keeping their memories alive-not just for me, but so we can remember how we loved them so.
    If you find a post on how to make crackers I would love it. They are costly, and I usually buy them on clearance after Christmas or at Tuesday Morning.

    Cheers!

  26. says

    A Great Cheap Christmas Decoration
    Do you like Christmas Crackers? Do you want to put something special in one or more of them? They are pretty easy to make if you get the needed items.

    Here’s what you need:

    Double sided crepe paper in reds and greens (you can use other colors if you prefer)

    Single color crepe paper for center outside strip

    Craft knife

    White cardboard

    Two sided tape

    Whatever gifts you want to put inside

    Ribbon

    Aluminum wrap (foil)

    Cracker snaps

    Corrugated cardboard

    fine chord

    Cut two of the crepe papers to 10 by 8 inch. Join by overlapping the edges and make a rectangle.

    Cut the white card into threes that are 4 by 9 inch pieces. Roll into a cylinder and put strips of double sided tape to attach the cardboard. Roll up and connect more double sided tape.

    Put a strip of foil around the center and whatever color crepe paper strip around that using double sided tape. You can decorate it on top with whatever you wish. Bells or stars work nicely, but decorations are not a necessity.

    Insert the snap (taping it down) and put gifts in the center. Tie each end with narrow ribbon and be sure to fold so snap pulls are sticking out.

    It is that easy. If you have the ingredients, you can do it yourself. Recommended gifts include a hat, joke, whistles, chocolate coins, jewelry or whatever you choose. Only small tiny gifts work. If you want certain people to open certain crackers, be sure to put their names on it.

    Here is one of the few. Another site made the tube part using a paper towel tube.
    The hard part would be finding the cracker piece.

  27. jackie says

    Jill, the coupon idea sounds great,except I have seen on several doors of grocery stores that they do not except internet coupons any more due to fruad. So I haven’t even printed any out for quite some time.
    I had five children and have used coupons for the 42 years of our marraige.
    Any other ideas?
    Thank you keep up the good job
    Jackie

    • says

      Jackie, I am not a big fan of coupons myself. I use to be what is now called a coupon queen and used them all of the time but I then I was in places where I couldn’t use them, get them etc. and I had to learn other ways to save without them. The funny thing is I really don’t miss them at all and do just as well.
      That being said we have lots of articles all over the web site most of which try to show people how to save on groceries without using coupons and I even wrote a whole e book called Grocery Savings E Course which goes into a lot of detail. To get you started here is one short article but there are so many others for you to check out too.

  28. barb~ says

    I’m excited to try making the English Crackers. Clearly I can make them cheaper than buying them. Thanks for the post, Grandma! I’ll have fun putting little things in each for different family members. I could even stick a $5.00 coupon slip in to McDonald’s for the little ones. The ones I have bought always have silly, family friendly jokes and riddles. We let the kids read each of theirs first, and they enjoy stumping when we don’t know the answer.-also, a paper crown in each so everyone is truly “royalty” for the day. It was pretty funny to see grown men put on a gold paper crown. The kids thought it was hysterical!

    Tawra and Jill-I’m so grateful to you both for this website. The world doesn’t seem so tough when I can log on here and be with friends. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a Living on a Dime “family reunion”???:)

    • says

      Barb I think that would be interesting to say the least. We would have quite a diverse group but all would probably be interesting and fun. HA!HA!

  29. Mary says

    We always ‘cook’ our fruitcakes in the pressure cooker. That way they never dry out! We found the recipe in a 1947 Presto pressure cooker book.

  30. Margaret says

    I don’t like graham crackers, so for no bake fruit cakes, pie crusts, etc., I use crushed vanilla wafers, Lorna Doone cookies, or some other kind of cookie. Works just great.

  31. CYNTHIANN says

    I have lived in Jamaica for 40 years and make the Christmas cake their way Unbelievably moist as the cut up prunes, sultanas, raisins and currant are soaked in a mixture or rum and prune wine for several months. any wine can be used and if anyone wants to try it then the fruit can be put in a saucepan with wine and then it will be gently absorbed. Also so we add the fruit last so it does not sink to the bottom of the cake. The pan of hot water is a must and brown sugar is used. The alcohol burns off but the flavour remains and it makes the cake so moist and rich.

  32. CYNTHIANN says

    Forgot to say that the cherries are not soaked in the wine mixture as they become discolored. The candies peels are left out as these are not popular in my family.

  33. Eureka Orr says

    your Last Two of the Fruitcake Recipes says use 9 x 13 LOAF PANS ????? This is the size of a REGULAR Cake pan?? Don’t you actually mean LOAF PANS??? Probably was just a typo..Please Clarify.. Thanks.

  34. halleycomet says

    Happy to supply my family’s BRITISH FRUITCAKE RECIPE—goes back to the 1800′s. And the Brits know a few things about fruitcake. This is made with few candied fruits for a reason—they taste—eeeewy. Once upon a time candied fruits were an everyday item to preserve fruits and were made by soaking ripe REAL fruit in a super saturated sugar bath until they were full of sugar. Somehow this has evolved to the ones we see today in neon with completely un-natural colours and flavors. You CAN candy your OWN fruits—not even very hard to do—but using dried fruits and REHYDRATING them before making the cake by soaking in liquor OR juice—apple or grape is good—-will give amazing results. MAny people who HATE “fruitcake” LOVE this recipe. Also the batter is yummy all by itself.

    For baking—low temp AND a water bath is a good thing. You can set your baking pan in a hot water bath—a larger pan filled about an inch deep–place a few chop sticks or skewers in the pan under the cake pan to let the hot water circulate. Place this set up in the oven on the rack BEFORE filling with the BOILING WATER please! (Great technique for cheesecake too!)

    If you have a Food Co-Op (or a natural foods store) nearby the cost of the ingredients should come way down—and if your friends are doing holiday baking a bulk order will save you $$$. Keep in mind that the spices needed will also be MUCH cheaper and FRESHER than the stuff on your market (and maybe your kitchen!!!!) shelf.

    If you decide to soak the fruitcake AFTER baking in brandy you do NOT have to (or want to!) freeze it as long as you wrap it in CHEESECLOTH or MUSLIN (unbleached) and keep it in a closely covered tin to age. Just gets better! If you decide to NOT soak it in alcohol you can keep it moist and yummy by slipping in a slice or two of RAW apple every few days.

    To decorate the tops on these you do NOT need the neon fruits—use a few nice WHOLE pecan halves and a ring of dried pineapple or so.

    Low n slow is the way to go!

    If some one wants to tell me how to submit a recipe I would be happy to supply this one. I used to bake this for my husbands staff in muffin cups–the foil ones are very pretty!-and wrap them in colored plastic wrap. I did brandy ones in one colour and the non alcohol in another and people went crazy for them.

    • says

      The main way to submit a recipe is just to copy and paste here or type here the same way you wrote your post. I do have to agree no one knows their fruitcakes like the Brits :) so we would love to have it. Thanks for the info.
      Jill

  35. Bea says

    This is a recipe very similar to the Poor Man’s Fruitcake recipe.
    Mama’s Fruitcake
    1 stick butter
    2 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    4 cups flour
    1 tsp cloves
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 Tbsp baking soda
    1 large bottle maraschino cherries (red or green or both)
    1 box raisins (boiled 15 minutes in 5 cups water)
    1 lb walnuts
    Sift together dry ingredients. Cream eggs and butter. To this add 2 cups of the raisin water. Add dry ingredients. Mix in fruits, nuts and baking soda. Bake in large greased and floured tube pan or 2 loaf pans at 350 degrees for one hour.

  36. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    So how did the fruitcake turn out?

    Another overseas story. I was staitoned in Korea and we were having a base exercise. They locked us in and delivered packaged meals ready to eat (MREs) to us. Included in the MRE was something called fruit cake, one each. However its texture could have made it a substitute for a tire jack! (MREs are designed to be constipating because soldiers eat them during exercises in the woods where food may become contaminated and cause tummy upsets.)

    • Laurie says

      I have learned from a Navy friend- we ALWAYS drink extra water whenever using MRE’s… There was one guy who took his own cans with him on a short tour. We have used them on camping trips and have had no problems…
      PS I LOVE Fruitcake when it gets hard as a rock! No one else eats it, but its great with a mug of hot cocoa!

  37. Laurie says

    We make fruit breads at least once a month instead of cake or cookies for our Stone Soup Luncheons. It is amazing how moist they are and how little are left for leftovers!
    We sometimes take a simple quick bread mix (Sorry, sometimes we are short of time)
    and add dates, raisins, cranberries and any other dried fruits we have on hand. I love adding pumpkin instead of any shortening too! Just yummy!

    Thanks for the cool recipes!

  38. Betty from Philly says

    I’m sorry this is a dumb question. I’ve done plenty of baking but I’ve never made a fruitcake. I’d love to try it and the recipes sound great. My question is about the “aging”. What do I do after I wrap it in plastic wrap and foil. Do I put it in a metal cookie can and forget it for a month. I don’t want to put liquor on it but do I have to do anything else to check on it? I love reading your newsletters!

    • says

      You don’t have to do anything more to it. You don’t need to put it in a cookie tin or do anything to check on it. Some recipes do have you check on it but you don’t with this one. Good luck with it. Holler if you have any other questions. Jill

  39. Mary Jane says

    Thank you so much for the tips on baking fruitcake. I used to make it for family members, and you are right… there is no middle ground. Fortunately, most recipients loved it. I especially appreciate the tips about using a pan of water in the oven, and lining the bottom of pans with paper. Can a person use 2 or 3 layers of wax paper and get the same results as using brown paper? Haven’t made fruitcake in years because of the cost, but I may be tempted to give it another go around.

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