Judge Not, Lest Ye Taste

by Stefani on 18-December-2009

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest boy said something to the affect of, "Hey mom, why would anyone give fruit cake as a present when EVERYONE knows that it's disgusting?"

A teachable moment if ever there was one.

I have wonderful memories of receiving a great big brown box in the mail each Christmas from on old family friend.  It was always stuffed full with little newspaper comic-wrapped packages for each member of the family and one perfect little foil covered homemade fruit cake. I don't remember a single gift that I ever received from those boxes, but I DO remember, oh so fondly, the fruit cake. I remember sneaking into the fridge to peel back that foil for just one more scrumptious bite. I remember trying to divide the last wee bit into infinitely smaller and smaller pieces to make it last as long as possible. 

Fruit Cake - Judge Not, Lest Ye Taste

It was, hands down, one of my all time favorite holiday treats. 

It is a crying shame really, a travesty, that fruit cake has gotten such a bad reputation when it really is so truly delectable. 

So, I spoke with my mom, we dug up the recipe, and we spent a day in the kitchen. 

Christmas Chef

54 eggs whites, 2 pounds of butter, 24 cups of fruits, nuts and coconut, and a mile high mound of dishes later,… and we are now prepared to change the way the world (or at least our friends and neighbors) think about fruit cake. 

Yes we can!

And what does the boy now say about fruit cake? 

One taste and he declared, "Oh my gosh, we should make these every year!"

Mission accomplished. 

 So, friends, if you have never had a truly delicious fruit cake, or if you remember them from long ago and agree that the world should come to know and love this tasty little treat, then you must, you simply must, make some up  and help us to spread the good news… fruit cake is delicious, and so worthy of its rightful place at the holiday table!

Here's what to do: 

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter (softened to room temp.)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

3 1/4 cups sifted flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

8 egg whites beaten to soft peaks

1 cup candied cherries (chopped)

1 cup candied pineapple (chopped) *

2 cups nuts (we use pecans… of course)

2 cups sweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 250. Cream together the butter and sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour and the milk alternately to the butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the eggs. Add the nuts, coconut and fruits. 

Poor into greased loaf pans (fill them just over half full) and bake at 250 for an hour and a half to two hours. They will get just ever so slightly golden around the edges, but should not brown. You will know they are done when you can press your finger lightly into the cakes near the edge and they pull back from the pan. 

Allow them to cool completely before wrapping them in foil. 

Now here's the hard part. Let them sit for a day, or even two or three, in the fridge, before eating. They're best cold and well rested 🙂

Each recipe makes four large (or about 7 small) loaves.

* you can substitute the 1 cup of cherries and 1 cup of pineapple for 2 cups of "fruit cake mix" dried fruit

Wrapped and Ready

Val December 18, 2009 at 9:14 am

That sounds awesome. I must try your recipe. I think fruitcake will be on our holiday baking adjenda as well. 🙂 Thanks!

Val

Cassandra December 18, 2009 at 9:28 am

I’ve never had it…and it might be because of the bad wrap…but mostly because I’ve never received one at Christmas. We may have to give this a go!

Tammy December 18, 2009 at 9:59 am

I tried one for the first time a couple of years ago… and loved it! I don’t know why they have such a bad reputation.

ali December 18, 2009 at 10:35 am

I still just do not know… 🙂

Dawn December 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

Those sound and look GOOD!!! What do I have to do to get on your Christmas list 😉

beki December 18, 2009 at 11:49 am

I am most certainly on the fruit cake train! My grandmother makes a delicious fruit cake. She uses a recipe cut out of a 1950-something Family Circle (I think). She makes them in October, then “ripens” them until Christmas. She’s become famous in her social circle for them. She gets so many requests that she has to turn people away – making them gets expensive on a fixed income. I can’t wait until I get mine this year 😉

Stefani December 18, 2009 at 11:56 am

WOW!!!! Two months of ripening! That’s awesome! I might have to try to make mine a little earlier next year to let ’em get really good and tasty!

Stefani December 18, 2009 at 11:57 am

Aw c’mon Ali… if I can make a very skeptical eight year old boy a believer, than you don’t stand a chance 😉

Amy J December 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm

make my grandmother’s recipe for Brandy Apple Cake and like to let it ripen for at least a week to get good and moist. This year we’ll also try your fruitcake. It looks “lighter” somehow, not as dark. I’ll give it a go!

Kelly December 18, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I think I can honestly say I’ve never actually had fruitcake. Yesterday during my oldest boy’s school Christmas programs one of the classes sang a song about the dreaded fruitcake and I thought about getting some just to see what my boys would think of it, as I’m sure they also haven’t ever had it. Now I’m going to pick up the candied bits and make some next week! Thanks for sharing this!

Jenny December 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm

There’s one question that begs to be asked: what on earth did you do with 54 egg yolks?

Stefani December 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Oh my goodness, I think you’d better send me that recipe!

Stefani December 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Oh yay!!! See… more anti-fruitcake propaganda. And this time it is being directed toward poor, innocent little children. I think I’ll write my congressman 🙂

Stefani December 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Ha! I’ll tell you what I did with those egg yolks… I agonized over them! It just seemed so wrong to get rid of so much food. And as a former chicken farmer I know, full well, how precious eggs are!

It just goes against my old fashioned, use it up, wear it out, nature. So I did some research and I found some pretty good uses here: http://www.squidoo.com/eggyolkuses

But still…. 54 is a WHOLE lotta egg yolks. In the end, the dog got a few of them, and I saved a few to add to a breakfast casserole for the next day, but mostly they found their way to into the trash bin 🙁

Maybe I’ll spend the next year finding better uses for next year’s fruitcake left overs!

Mad Woman December 18, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Ohh I don’t know if I’ll get it made in the next few days but I’m definitely bookmarking this for next year! Thanks for sharing…and what a wonderful teaching moment for you guys!

Valarie Budayr December 19, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Well I think we are heading to the kitchen to make a batch of your teachable moment right now. Way to go Mom. I love fruitcake and this one looks delicious.

Kez December 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm

That looks a delicious fruitcake – you certainly made quite a few!!

kamana December 21, 2009 at 5:10 am

thanks for the recipe. i have got to try this. i love fruit cake.

Visty Lindgren December 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I like how light it is, not the over browned stuff with giant red candied cherries in it. It kind of looks like a loaf of scrambled eggs with jalapenos or chilis and onions.

Mary Smith December 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Wow! I always thought fruit cake was super tricky to make, so I’ve never tried it! Thanks so much for the recipe and I loved the story to go with it! I have always bought mine and I saw a cake mix version in the store the other day. Thought I might try that too. Happy last days before Christmas!!!

heather jane December 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Well, you certainly make a compelling argument! I’m just going to have to mull it over a bit. Maybe my Great Grandma didn’t have *your* recipe…cause hers was not delicious.

Merry Christmas!!

Toni December 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I have tasted and I love!!! Your husband gave me one of your loaves today! Delicious!!!

Stefani December 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Oh Im so glad that you liked it! Im just sorry that the boys and I werent here to wish you a Merry Christmas!
Thank you so much for the cookies too… or at least I think there were cookies. They disappeared so quickly that I cant be entirely sure 🙂

heather December 22, 2009 at 6:38 pm

oh goodness, i so wish i was your neighbor. aside from the extremely good over the fence chats we could have… i am a huge fan of fruitcake! your recipe looks amazing. merry christmas stefani!

heather December 22, 2009 at 6:39 pm

lemon curd ! lemon curd! lemon curd!

it freezes beautifully too! 🙂

Marianna December 24, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Your recipe is very similiar to my great-grandmother’s nut cake! Her recipe calls for raisins in place of the other fruits. I made one batch this year for my dh with some candied citrus fruits I found at Central Market and it was by far the best loaf of the batch! Next year I will do that only if I can still find the candied citrus.

Relyn December 27, 2009 at 11:58 am

Thanks to Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory I’ve always wanted to like fruit cake. Now, thanks to you, I just might be able to.

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