Friday, December 11, 2009

Fruit Candy & Brandy

Santa can't wait.Me either. Cross your fingers that my first fruitcake [ever. and for most people, it's likely never.] comes out of the oven - and the mold - even prettier than it looks pre-bake.

It's the centerpiece for a cards & cocktails shin-dig we're throwing for a few friends Saturday night and I need it to sit and soak for 36 hours.

You might want to cross fingers on both hands. One for taste, and one for prying it out of the mold.

While I'm waiting for it to bake [and you'll have to wait for Saturday for the big reveal], I'll jot down the recipe for you. This one is out of my holiday pocket bible Good Housekeeping's Christmas Cook Book (c)'58

Fruitcake Confection
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teasp. salt
1/2 teasp. double-acting baking powder [sounds pretty important. it's really just plain bp.]
1/8 teasp. allspice
1/8 teasp. nutmeg
1/3 cup soft shortening
3 tablesp. brown sugar
3 tablesp. honey
2 eggs, unbeaten [like Tiger Woods before he hopped in his car that fateful night]
2 tablesp. orange juice
1 cup diced preserved pineapple
1/2 cup diced preserved orange peel
1/2 cup diced preserved lemon peel
1/4 cup diced preserved citron [hold on, I was thinking "wtf?" too**]
1 cup candied cherries
3 1/2 cups pecan halves

**There is one [and only one] amazing thing about the baking aisle at WalMart. It houses [for just over $4] a giant container of all the aforementioned candied, diced, preserved fruits + citron. And I bought it shamelessly. I'm sure the modern housewife circa '58 would have done the same if she had it at her fingertips in the grocery aisle. Go ahead. Cheat this time.

Start heating oven to 300 degrees. With 2 thicknesses waxed paper [I just greased my mold and avoided this since I wasn't using a circular cake pan or planning to gift this fruity hockey puck], line 1 1/4" deep 8" layer-cake pan; then grease.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, allspice and nutmeg.

With electric mixer at medium speed (or with spoon - if you've got big she-guns), thoroughly mix shortening with sugar, then with honey and eggs, until very light and fluffy - about 4 min. altogether. Then, at low speed, beat in, alternately, flour mixture and orange juice just until smooth. Spread one third of batter over bottom of cake pan. To rest of batter, add fruits and pecans, reserving few cherries and pecans for top; pile mixture on top of batter in pan, packing down and leveling top.

Decorate with reserved cherries and nuts. Cover with brown paper; tie securely [I'm still scratching my head on this one, so feel free to improvise or ignore this piece - be your own best housekeeper here]. Set in shallow pan of hot water (water should be only one fourth depth of cake pan). Bake 1 hr. Remove from water; bake 1 hr. longer or until done. When done brush with hot corn syrup. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan; peel off paper.

Wait! Don't do anything until you follow this important piece of advice: soak the candied fruits in brandy [about 2 tablesp.] for a bit before adding it to the batter. And use more brandy [yep, keep raiding the gents wetbar] to brush the cake post-bake! Keep it [and quite possibly yourself] lush.

Until Saturday, may all your fruit be candied and brandied -


  1. Oh. My. God. I so hate fruitcake. I'm glad there are people who like it, it's so festive looking, but I hate it. I hope it works out for you - they can be a bear!!

  2. Jonathan and I watch the Pee Wee Herman Christmas special every year as ritual and at the very end of it because every one gives Pee Wee fruit cake as a gift he uses it as bricks to lay down a new wing of the playhouse! "Food for thought" - Laura K A

  3. send one to joel for christmas. im sure he would love one!

  4. Wow! That is really an adventure! And it looks really hard too...I dont mean the cake, i mean difficult by the way :)

  5. I never met a fruitcake I liked. Think I'd just go for a bowl of brandied fruit. Or maybe I'd just throw the fruit out and drink the brandy from the bowl. I'd make sure nobody was looking though.

  6. it was indeed a bit of a bitch, ladies! pee-wee was right to build with them. i'll just build a tolerance for brandy-saturated cake!