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Suvir Saran

The Fruitcake Topic

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I have to dig a bit more to find the cake recipes in my files that include lard.

Meanwhile, I found this one. at Recipe Source.

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I just called my aunt and asked her about pork in cake. She says her grandmother, Meemaw, made mincemeat with ground cooked pork and used it in cakes, pies, fried pies and steamed puddings. She also made a cake with cornmeal and mincemeat. She is going to go through her recipe files and see what she can find.

She said she will call me later today and give me the ingredients for the mincemeat.

If it is what I remember my grandmother making (dad's side of the family), it is delicious mincemeat.

I make mincemeat and use beef jerky, ground of course, in it and it also makes a very nice mincemeat, not nearly as sweet as the stuff in the jars.

More to come!!!

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***thanks*** andiesenji!

I saw several recipes out on the internet for pork cakes, they seem to vary between chopped pork fat liquefied in boiling water (kind of a "lard-rendering-for-dummies") vs. ground pork sausage, either of which are in lieu of butter or shortening. I'd love to try a "Meemaw" recipe!

It was kind of interesting, all of the recipes I saw out there were listed as very old, early 1900's or late 1800's, mostly on "traditional" or "legacy" recipe web sites. I like the idea of digging up an old way of cooking and reviving it.

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Oh no, my entire post just disappeared into thin air...

Just about to order fruit for cakes (should do it earlier, but I have to wait for the first paycheck of the fall semester every year :sad: )

Which fruits/combinations do you like?

I sometimes use my mother's and grandmother's recipes, sometimes more modern recipes, but I rarely use currants, and never many of them (they taste bitter to me), and always add quite a lot of shredded fresh ginger.

One of the simplest and most successful recipes I've found on the net is this British ginger ale fruit cake

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I'm linking over to a thread on the Southern Food Culture forum on Pork Cake...here. It's a marvelous recipe that Andie shared for Pork Mincemeat Cake. It is, quite simply, one of the best fruit cakes I've ever had. Don't be put off by the pork! You don't really taste pork, but it adds a richness and flavor that's missing from a lot of other recipes. It's definitely made a fruit cake and pork fat convert out of me.

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Hello, Suvir - I wonder if you would mind sharing your recipe for Susan Auntie's fruitcake? Your desciption is most seductive to a fruitcake fan.

Thanks so much!

Rover :biggrin:

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I'm going to make the Jamaican Black Cake. If I divide the batter between smaller pans ( say, 8 inch springforms instead of 10 inch and the rest of the batter in mini loaf pans ) how long must I bake them?

The recipe says 2 hours for the 10 inch springforms, so should I reduce baking time to about 1 1/2 hours? Or just do the "jab with a skewer" test?

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This is the holiday fruitcake I've been making over the past 2 or 3 years and it gets raves every time. The name says it all! Full of the rich flavours of subtly sweet dried fruit, delicate spices and soft nuts; it is heady with the perfume of just enough bourbon. It doesn't keep as long as the traditional cakes, but will last a couple of weeks if stored in the refrigerator.

Golden New-Fashioned Dried Fruitcake with Cashews, Pistachios and Bourbon

Recipe By :Ragen Daley - "In The Sweet Kitchen"

Do make the effort to find unsulphured dried fruit, as the flavour is so much better. If this is impossible, try at least to buy organic fruit

1 1/2 cups chopped dried peaches

1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots

1 cup chopped dried pears

3/4 cup plump golden raisins

1/2 cup Muscat or Lexia raisins

3 tbsps finely chopped candied orange zest -- homemade or best quality

1 cup bourbon

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground mace

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups lightly roasted unsalted cashews

2 cups shelled unsalted pistachios

1 ripe pear

1 cup unsalted butter -- room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs -- room temperature

1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp Pure Vanilla extract

3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut -- optional

*All of the dried fruit should be chopped to about the size of large raisins.

The day before you plan to bake the cakes, combine the chopped peaches, apricots, pears, both types of raisins and the candied zest in a non-reactive jug or bowl. Add the bourbon and stir to coat the fruit. Cover tightly and leave for 7-8 hours, tossing occasionally to distribute the alcohol.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease two (9 ½ x 5 ½ inches) metal loaf pans and line the bottoms and up the two long sides with pieces of parchment paper. Let the paper overhang the edges of the sides by an inch or so. Lightly grease the paper, then set the pans aside. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and spices into a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, finely grind 1 ½ cups of the cashews; add to the sifted flour mixture. Coarsely chop the remaining ½ cup cashews and the pistachios. Set these aside. Peel, core and coarsely grate the pear, then add it to the macerating fruit and bourbon mixture.

In the bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. The batter may seem to curdle at this point, but it will come together beautifully as the dry ingredients are added. Fold in the flour and ground cashew mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl often, making sure you reach the very bottom. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.

If your stand mixer or other mixing bowl is too small to accommodate the batter as well as the macerating fruit and the chopped nuts, transfer to a larger bowl. Fold in the fruit and nuts, including the coconut, if using, in several stages, evenly distributing the goodies. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and smooth the tops.

Set the pans in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, rotating the pans several times during the baking so the cakes bake evenly. The tops of the finished cakes should be firm and slightly springy, and a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of each cake should come out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes then turn them out and cool completely before wrapping and storing. The cakes are beset when aged for 2 days in the refrigerator before being cut and served. Well-wrapped and chilled, this light cake will last up to 2 ½ weeks. For the very best flavour, let it come to room temperature before serving.


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I made the Jamaican Spiced Rum Cake from the New York Times Cookbook this year, and judging from the mini muffins that I made, it's my favorite recipe so far. I used brandy instead of rum, and I cut WAY down on citron -- substituting 1/2 c. candied lemon peel and about 1/3 c. citron instead, and I left out the glace cherries altogether. It has figs, dates, prunes, raisins, currants, candied orange peel and toasted almonds in it, and it makes two loaf cakes (plus 6 mini muffins). Another "variation" on fruitcake is Panforte, which is another favorite of mine.

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I abhor typical fruitcake with the whole pieces of fruits like candied cherries (red & green), citron and other fruits. I find them dry and typically lacking in any flavor.

Last December, my boss made a southern style fruit cake and she didn't even add any whiskey to it. It was just awful.

However I am a big fan of the Jamaican/West Indian style fruitcake which many of you have mentioned here. I have a large plastic bucket filled to the brim with pounds and pounds of ground up prunes, raisins, glacee cherries, dried mixed peel and currants, along with brown sugar, rum and port wine just waiting for late November to arrive (which is when I'll start baking).

Last year black cakes were my biggest selling cakes during the holiday season. I actually ran out of them before I had time to make more for Christmas. The fruit needs time to macerate (I've been soaking some of the fruit since last December and I added more to it yesterday) and the baked cakes need a few weeks to "mellow" after the rum & wine is poured into them.

To answer a couple of questions posted earlier in the thread:

1. Burnt sugar is used give black cake its color. It's also known as "browning" and is merely caramel color. It produces a darker colored cake than homemade burnt sugar (which is made by literally caramelizing white sugar in a saucepan with a little water over the stove). I prefer the commercial preparations since the homemade one imparts a burned taste to the cake that I don't like. Plus I like the darker color of a black cake made with commercial browning.

Here are some sources to order commercial "burnt sugar" and/or "browning" for those who don't have access to West Indian markets: http://www.sams247.com, http://www.buygracefoods.com/site/p...Browning_bottle

2. Overproof rum is stronger than regular rum. For last years batch of black cakes, I macerated my fruits in port wine & J. Wray and Nephew overproof Jamaican rum. That rum is enough to knock your socks off! I also used this rum to liberally "bathe" the finished cakes. They were a bit too strong for my taste. *whew* It took several weeks before they mellowed to a taste that I could actually enjoy. J. Wray and Nephew is expensive to find here in NYC (it's about $26 for a liter). But my sister brought me back several bottles from her trip to Jamaica last year, which cut my costs considerably. I'm going to Jamaica in October and will bring back a few bottles myself. But my use of it will be very limited this time around!

This year I'm macerating my fruits in regular rum. LOL

3. Many of the Caribbean islands (mainly those that have a British history) have a version of black cake. I read somewhere that it is derived from the English plum pudding but it was modified over time. That seems plausible to me. Of course each island thinks its version is the best. I've had versions from Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, St. Vincent - regardless of the island, I think black cake is delicious when it's made by a competent baker, regardless of ethnicity.

Edited by Kris (log)

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This thread is a real eye-opener. I admit to being one of those folks who think "fruitcake? eww!" because the immediate recollection is of those dry things with chunks of unnatural fruit. Why, why? I ask you, would anyone make green cherries (if that's what they are)...and maraschino cherries are an abomination. Gaah.

I do, however, like some fruits in breads. Stollen is wonderful stuff. Date cake is wonderful stuff. It's hard to go wrong with nuts. So as I read this, I think maybe, just maybe there are fruitcakes worth eating out there. I'm pretty sure they don't come in stores, though.

One of my favorite fruited cake recipes might just barely be within the realm of fruitcake, as I read this thread, because it has dried cherries, raisins, walnuts and bourbon. It's wonderful - a family favorite - and easy to boot: Liv's Mother's Kentucky Cake from the recipe collection at The Splendid Table's website.

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I am hoping to make a couple of kinds of fruit cake this yearfor the Christmas season, but I remember reading that you needed to make them about 6 months in advance in order to "cure" them by basting them with some sort of liquor every so often.

I am open to trying a variety of different kinds of cakes and comparing them when the time comes, so I would love to get some recipe suggestions (for someone who loves to bake, but doesn't have any professional experience or culinary education).

I was originally thinking of something with a dark, almost gingerbread-like spicy/molasses-y flavor - very moist and with high quality fruits. But I've been reading about some other types of fruit cakes, and am intrigued.

Also, can anyone tell me where I can order some good quality fruits, rather than buying the scarey red and green "fruit" at the grocery store?

I am also interested in the "curing" process. Do all fruit cakes share this? How often do you baste them? How do you store them? What liquor is used?

Thanks in advance!

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I am also interested in the "curing" process.  Do all fruit cakes share this?  How often do you baste them?  How do you store them?  What liquor is used?

I'm so glad you started this thread. I too, could use some help.

Many years ago I used to make fruit cakes for Christmas every year. The recipe I had was for a dark, spicy cake with lots of nuts and yes, the scary, candied fruits available at the grocery store.

I always baked them 6-8 weeks before Christmas & wrapped them in cheese cloth soaked with either brandy or bourbon (as I remember, I preferred the bourbon for this), then sealed them tightly in tin foil & stored them in a dark cupboard. Once a week, I would moisten (well, it was more like drench) the cheesecloth with more bourbon, re-wrap in the tinfoil & return to the cupboard. By Christmas they were quite lovely. Fruitcake jokes aside, people actually liked them. It was always a happy thing if they managed to outlast the holidays. A fragrant slice of fruitcake accompanied by a strong cup of coffee was a lovely breakfast on a snowy January morning.

Then life got complicated & I had to cut down on my Christmas baking. Somehow, over the years, I managed to lose the recipe. I has to be somewhere, but for the life of me I can't find it. Life is still complicated, but in the last few years I've come to miss making fruitcakes.

I too will be following this thread hoping for help.

Sigh, I also lost a really wonderful pfferneusse recipe, but I guess that would be another thread.

pat, who sorely regrets her disorganized past.

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i use a pound cake base, and use just enough batter to hold the glace cherries, raisins, pecans, golden raisins, and other stuff together. i add all teh sweet spices. it shoudl be very heavy.

wrap it in foil and douse in brandy every week or so. yum.

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Alton Brown had a lovely episode of "Good Eats" all about fruitcake, including a recipe featuring all natural dried fruit, a goodly amount of booze, plus a routine for two weeks worth of dousing with more booze: link here.

Mind you, I have not had an opportunity to make this recipe myself, but as a hardcore fan of this much-maligned baked good, I thought the recipe looked pretty darn promising.

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One source for fruit is the King Arthur Flour catalogue website. They have much better citron orange and lemon peels than you can get in the stores.

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I'm wondering if I should glace (is that a verb?) my own fruits and if it would be worth it. Has anyone tried it? Any technique tips?

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The Alton Brown recipe listed above is excellent. I have been baking and giving out friut cakes for years. People will remember the gift forever. I live in California and get excellent dried fruit from Peteluma; very fresh. Traditional fruits as well as pluots, several varieties of peaches, cherries, etc Mail order available with free delivery over $24 at www.oldriverfruits.com

Also you can use your fruitcake batter to make drop cookies and distribute to those who are not "worthy" of their own cake. You can probably get about 24 good sized cookies out of the Alton Brown batter.

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Also, can anyone tell me where I can order some good quality fruits, rather than buying the scarey red and green "fruit" at the grocery store?

I am feeling inspired by this thread to start thinking about chrismas cake. I make a very traditional dark english fruit cake. I can't help you with a source for fruit, but I too am looking for a good online source for dried fruit, especially whole candied orange and lemon peel (makes a world of difference), preferably in the UK, that will ship internationally. Most standard ingredients for fruit cake aren't widely available in Denmark.


If there's any interest, I'll post the recipe for the fruit cake. We have it every christmas and had it as a wedding cake as well :-)


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Also, can anyone tell me where I can order some good quality fruits, rather than buying the scarey red and green "fruit" at the grocery store?

If there's any interest, I'll post the recipe for the fruit cake. We have it every christmas and had it as a wedding cake as well :-)


Yes! Expressing interest here.... it would be lovely if you could post the recipe.

pat w

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I posted some recipes last year, including this one which is quite different:

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Posts: 3,191

Joined: 20-April 04

From: Southern California

Member No.: 17,399

This is my cocoa fruit cake.

I have recreated this from a recipe written in difficult-to-read, spidery handwriting in the journal of an ancestor with the entry dated 1690.

It is important to use Dutch process cocoa. I use King Arthur Flour's Double Dutch Cocoa and Black Cocoa Half and Half.

When glazed with the glaze at the end of the recipe, this cake will keep for several days at room temp and will stay incredibly moist with just a loose cover.

I have in the past made this cake ahead of time and wrapped it well in Aluminum foil and kept it in a cool place for 6 or more weeks. However I now live alone. When my family was still all together, I could not keep it more than a couple of days......to give you an idea of the way things used to be, the original "receipt" called for 6 pounds of twice-boulted flour and 3 full pound loaves of sugar well beaten..... 2 pounds of butter and 3 dozen eggs. I have cut it down to a manageable size.

FRUITED COCOA CAKE original recipe ca. 1690

1 cup BUTTER unsalted

1-1/2 tsp SALT kosher

1 tsp CINNAMON ground

1 tsp CLOVES, ground

1 tsp NUTMEG, ground

1 tsp ALLSPICE, ground

6 Tbsp COCOA, Dutch process

3 cups superfine SUGAR

4 large EGGS


4 cups, sifted FLOUR

1-1/2 cups CURRANTS


1-1/2 cups WALNUTS, chopped or pecans or macadamia nuts, etc.

3 cups APPLESAUCE, unsweetened chunky style if you can find it, homemade is even better.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Grease and flour a deep 11" x 15" pan or 2 10-inch square pans or 2 holiday mold pans.

In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, salt, spices, cocoa and sugar. beat until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after adding each one.

Mix baking soda with flour. reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of the flour.

Instead of sifting the flour you can simply put it in a large bowl and run a wire whisk through it which does the same as sifting, i.e. fluffing it up a bit.

Add flour to batter alternately with applesauce.

Sprinkle the fruit and nuts with the reserved flour and fold into cake batter.

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 1 hour or until cake tests done. (deeper pans will require longer baking.







Combine ingredients in saucepan, bring to simmer, stirring constantly, continue cooking until liquid is reduced by 1/2. Drizzle over cake ( I use a turkey baster and a perforated spoon as the glaze is too hot to dip my fingers into which is usually the way I drizzle icing . After the glaze has set, decorate edges of the cake and the plate edges with powdered sugar sifted thru a fine strainer.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

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