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A close up of a slice of pizza on a plate, with Fruitcake
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5 from 1 vote

My Grandmother’s White Fruitcake

I love fruitcake. Incredibly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple, and golden 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
Servings: 40
Calories: 307kcal
Author: Mary Hunt

Ingredients

  • 1 pound salted butter, softened four sticks
  • 3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 ounces lemon extract
  • ½ pound golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons pickled peach juice (See NOTE 1)
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound candied cherries
  • ½ pound candied pineapple
  • 4 cups pecans, chopped coarsely (see NOTE 2)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water

Instructions

  • Generously grease four 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the pound of butter then line the pans with parchment paper, or brown paper cut from grocery bags.
  • In a very large mixing bowl, cream the soft butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  • Separate the eggs so the yolks are in one bowl, the whites in another.
  • Beat the egg YOLKS and lemon extract for about 2 minutes, until smooth and frothy (don’t be alarmed by the amount of extract, it’s a lot and it’s okay).
  • Add the egg yolk and lemon mixture to the large bowl mixture of butter and sugar. Continue mixing to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix fruit and nuts with half of the flour and the salt; add this to the mixture in the big bowl. Stir in with a large wooden spoon.
  • Add dissolved soda and pickled fruit juice (or your choice of substitutes see NOTE 1, then the remaining flour. Stir to incorporate. The batter will be stiff.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the large bowl mixture with a large spoon, until well incorporated.
  • Divide between prepared pans until each is about 3/4 full. Place pans in a COLD oven set to 250 F. Bake for about 2 hours or until golden brown. Test for doneness (see NOTE 4). Do not overbake! Cool in pans on a cooling rack.
  • Once cool, remove from pan(s) and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. Store in a cool place or the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. See NOTE 3.

Notes

Note 1
If you can't find this in the supermarket, you can make your own. Simmer the contents of a can of "peaches in heavy syrup" with 5 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 teaspoon vinegar for about 20 mintes. Drain, reserving the "pickled peach juice." OR substitute rum or brandy for the pickled peach juice.
Note 2
Substitute with walnuts or nuts of choice. 
Note 3 
Place a pan of water on oven rack, or on the oven floor below the baking cakes, to create a steam oven which is ideal for this recipe.
Note 4
If cake is browning too fast, place a sheet of foil the top of the cake.
Note 5
Test for doneness by placing a wooden skewer or toothpick in center of cake. If it comes out clean, cake is done. Do not over bake. 
Note 6
This fruitcake can be enjoyed right away. However, such a thing would have horrified my grandmother who insisted on wrapping the cooled fruitcakes in brandy-soaked cheesecloth or towels, then wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil to age for a few weeks. 
Note 7
For very long-term 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 provided the cloth wraps are refreshed with more booze from time to time. I cannot imagine why you would want to do this, but it’s nice to know that you can.

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: 365IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1.4mg