It's Time To Make A Christmas Fruitcake! | The Hypertufa Gardener

It’s Time To Make A Christmas Fruitcake!

So how do you feel about Christmas Fruitcake?

I am a Christmas fruitcake lover, but I know that some people “hurl” just hearing that word: fruitcake!  It is a traditional cake at the holidays that some people love and adore, and others just makes jokes and won’t touch the stuff. Which are you? Since they need to age for a while, I am getting all  my ingredients ready so that I an make it this weekend. Then I will wrap it and let it age.

All those jokes about fruitcake?  You have to admit that some of the jokes are good.

A Metaphor for Life

“Reality is like a fruitcake; pretty enough to look at but with all sorts of nasty things lurking just beneath the surface.”

A. Lee Martinez, Gil’s All Fright Diner

It's Time To Make A Christmas Fruitcake! - The Hypertufa Gardener

Important Information for Receivers of Fruitcake Gifts

Don’t just use it as a “doorstop” or patio paving brick.  These Christmas fruitcakes are pretty labor intensive  and expensive too. So if you have someone who makes a cake for you and gives it to you as a gift, let them know if you don’t care for the taste.  They can mark you off the list and get you something different.

I have made many of these fruitcakes through the years and had lists of people to send them to via mail. Expensive to ship also. So if you don’t like it, let the giver know. Don’t throw it out! Someone who loves Christmas fruitcake would love to have yours!

Just one caveat

If said fruitcake is NOT homemade, it is GARBAGE, so throw it out fast!

Helping Nana Make Christmas Fruitcake - The Hypertufa Gardener

Be cautious with your helpers. Some are not there to help, but to sneak tastes! This helper was Fired!

 Helpers Making Fruitcake - The Hypertufa Gardener

I have adapted a recipe that was in the newspaper clipping my Mom had, and I can only guess it was one of her future attempts. But I have changed  it to fit what we liked during these past 25 years of baking it. I don’t candy lemon and orange peel and all that work that a true purist would do.  I purchase the candied fruit at my local grocery store.

Anyway, I thought this could be MY traditional Christmas fruitcake recipe. My Mom had always made them, but she experimented each year with a different type, almost never making one the same way. I know she made one once with graham crackers, seriously. And another time I remember one made with candy gumdrops. Ewwww!  I don’t remember eating them at all, but I probably went to My Happy Place.

Now It's Time to Make A Christmas Fruitcake!

Christmas fruitcake is meant to be made early, so I love to have mine ready as early as possible. November 1st is a good deadline, right? And mine are all done. I have made small loaf pan sizes this time, with just a few dozen of the tiny muffin sizes. I like to serve those with tea and imagine that I am having tea with Lord and Lady Grantham. As if they would have Mrs Patmore to tea!  ( Wow, do I miss Downton Abbey.)

Storing The Christmas Fruitcake

When your cakes are cooled, you must wrap them individually in cheesecloth or muslin dampened with sherry, brandy, or any liquor that you would like. Keep them in a dark, cool, dry place. It is not necessary to refrigerate, but you can. It keeps the cake moist and the flavors all mellow together. Check about every ten days to re-moisten the cloths.  I have some huge Tupperware containers for this. Stacked inside them and sealed, the fruitcake can be out of site so that you are not tempted to eat them too early.

You can freeze a fruitcake, but let it mellow and age for a month before you freeze it. It can’t mellow frozen.

When I mail the cakes, I send them via USPS and depending on where they are going, it cost $5 to $10. Most of the time I mail two together as a gift and they are quite heavy.

I have prepped a short video of my process which I will show here. And let me tell you, teaching yourself Sony Vegas Pro is no picnic!

And I can’t say this often enough:

If the fruitcake is NOT homemade, it is GARBAGE, so throw it out fast!

 

Yields 1

It's Time To Make A Christmas Fruitcake!

Traditional dark and dense fruitcake best made at least a month before you plan to eat it.

28 hrPrep Time

2 hr, 30 Cook Time

30 hr, 30 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups assorted nuts (walnuts and pecans are what I use)
  • 1 lb red candied cherries ( I like to leave these whole for pretty slices)
  • 1 lb green candied cherries ( same as above)
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries ( or mixture of both)
  • 2 lb mixed candied fruit (orange and lemon peel , pineapple etc)
  • 1 cup sherry, brandy or any liquor of choice
  • 1/2 pound real butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp each of cloves, ginger, and nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup preserves or jam ( strawberry, grape, apricot)
  • additional liquor for soaking/wrapping while it ages

Instructions

  1. Mix all the fruit and nuts together in a large bowl , You may coarsely chop nuts, if desired)
  2. Add the 1 cup of sherry and mix thoroughly
  3. Cover and let set, mixing occasionally, for a minimum of 24 hours
  4. Cream butter with sugar
  5. Add egg yolks and mix well.
  6. Mix in all the spices and then stir in flour. Batter is stiff as you mix it.
  7. Add preserves/jam and mix well.
  8. Fold in the fruit and nut mixture.
  9. Beat the egg whites until it forms peaks.
  10. Fold into mixture of batter and fruit/nuts.
  11. Grease pans. Line pans with foil or parchment paper if possible for easy removal, bundt pan grease thoroughly. I have had beautiful cakes in bundt pans, and heartbreaking disasters getting it out.
  12. Bake at 300
  13. Large bundt pan: approx 2.5 hours
  14. regular loaf pans: approx 2 hours
  15. small loaf pans: approx 1 hour
  16. For all times, bake until toothpick test shows done.
  17. Let cool for 20 minutes, then turn cake out onto wire rack for cooling.
  18. You may sprinkle or mist liquor on cake while cooling.
  19. Wrap and store in liquor-dampened cloth for 4 weeks in sealed container or bag. Every week or ten days, re-dampen with liquor, re-wrap and seal again.
  20. The cakes should be cured in dark, dry, cool place. In a refrigerator is fine.
Recipe Type: Dessert
7.6.5
13
http://www.thehypertufagardener.com/its-time-to-make-a-christmas-fruitcake/
 I hope you decide to make a traditional fruitcake or anything that you can call your own for the Holidays. Family and tradition are what we cherish in our memories of home and all our “gatherings.”  ( See more of my Easy Recipes here.)
 
Make yours this season. Or continue those ones that you already do.
 
Your family will always remember.


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Kim, The Hypertufa Gardener

Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.

Of course, I have some recipes and some random family concerns which I hope interest you too! Please page through the Magazine and find what you like! and Subscribe!

I also have a YouTube channel called Kim’s Gardens where you can see my hypertufa as I make them. ( See My About Page)

 

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