I have no pride and, according to many, no taste. I love fruitcake. Sickeningly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple and white raisins, heavy as a brick and about four weeks old. Yum.

For some reason, fruitcake has acquired a somewhat dubious reputation. It’s been horribly maligned and the laughing stock of the season, which as a fruitcake connoisseur, I find completely offensive.

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Critics are legion. YouTube is packed with videos of people poking fun at fruitcake in creative ways. A town in Colorado has a yearly fruitcake flinging event.

Johnny Carson famously joked that there’s actually only one fruitcake in the world, which gets passed from household to household. Other comedians glommed onto the idea in such a big way, hating fruitcake has become a widely-accepted holiday tradition. 

I can only assume that these terribly misguided people are only familiar with dry-as-dust, overly spiced, mystery-fruited commercial versions (what is citron, anyway?). Just let me say that you’d be singing a different tune if you’d ever tasted my grandmother’s fruitcake. And I think you should.

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General tips:

  • Fruitcakes freeze very well. However, they must be aged at least four weeks before freezing, as they do not mellow while they are frozen.
  • If changing pan sizes, remember baking time will be altered in the recipe. Fruitcakes may be baked in muffin tins, disposable pans, etc.
  • If changing pan sizes, remember baking time will be altered in the recipe. Fruitcakes may be baked in muffin tins, disposable pans, etc.
  • Place a pan of water on rack or on the oven floor below the baking cake.
  • If cake is browning too fast, place a sheet of foil the top of the cake.
  • Test for doneness by placing a metal/wooden skewer in center of cake. If it comes out clean, cake is done. Do not over bake.
  • To store for a long period of time, wrap the fruitcake in brandy or wine-soaked towels, and then wrap in aluminum foil. For very long storage, bury the liquor-soaked cake in powdered sugar and place in a tightly covered tin in a cool place. Fruitcakes can be enjoyed as long as 25 years this way. I cannot imagine why you would want to do this, but it’s nice to know that you can.

Enjoy!

Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe, as requested.

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My Grandmother’s White Fruitcake

I love fruitcake. Incredibly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple, and white raisins, heavy as a brick and about four weeks old. Yum! Make this right after Thanksgiving and you’ll be on track for the holidays.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Holiday food gift
Servings: 40
Calories: 307kcal
Author: Mary Hunt

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butter four sticks
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 ounces lemon extract
  • 1/2 pound raisins golden
  • 3 tablespoons pickled peach juice* *NOTE: If you cannot find this in the supermarket you can make your own. Simmer a #2 size can of peaches with 5 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 teaspoon vinegar for about 20 minutes, then drain to make “pickled peach juice.” Or substitute any tart fruit juice, rum or brandy.
  • 6 egg whites
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound cherries candied
  • 1/2 pound pineapple candied
  • 4 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

Instructions

  • Generously grease four 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans with 1 teaspoon of the pound of butter, line with parchment (or brown paper cut from grocery bags) and grease the paper OR just use the paper wrappers from the butter to grease the paper.
  • In a very large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and lemon extract for about 2 minutes, until smooth an frothy (don’t be alarmed by the amount of extract, it’s a lot and it’s okay).
  • Add to large bowl mixture and continue mixing to incorporate.
  • Mix fruit and nuts with half of the flour and the salt; add to mixture. Stir in with large wooden spoon.
  • Add dissolved soda and fruit juice, then the remaining flour. Stir to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold in the beaten egg whites into the large bowl mixture with a large spoon, until completely incorporated.
  • Pour into prepared pans about 3/4 full. Place in a cold oven and bake at 250 F for 2 hours. Check for doneness. Do not over bake. Cool in pans on cake rack. When cool, remove from pan(s) and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. Store in a cool place or the refrigerator for 4 to 8 weeks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 7.3% | Vitamin C: 4.3% | Calcium: 2.2% | Iron: 7.8%

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