(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.
- 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
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