Celebrate National Fruitcake Day
Maybe the polarizing cake should have a place on our Christmas table after all? To honor this historically fruity dessert, we found a 100 year old recipe, a fruitcake from the 1930’s, and even a twist on the traditional cake. Don’t like the dark, dense cake? Try the cookie version instead!
100 Year Old Christmas Fruitcake
- 2 lbs. red cherries
- 2 lbs. green cherries
- 2 lbs. seeded raisins, separated2 lbs. pitted dates
- 2 lbs. mixed fruit
- 1 lb. pecans
- 1/2 750 ml bottle inexpensive Port
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup butter
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup cold tea
Place all fruit ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss well. Cover the mixture with a tea towel and leave to soak over night
Grease your pans then line them with paper then grease the paper - set aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cloves and cinnamon – set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Beat in molasses and cold tea. Fold in flour mixture until completely blended.
Add soaked fruit including any liquid sitting in the bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, full to the top, cover and steam for 2 hours. If you don’t have a fruitcake steamer, place a rack, brick or upside down cake pan on the bottom of a deep stock pot. Fill the stock pot with enough water to reach ¼ of the way up the fruitcake pan.
Preheat oven to 300*F. Place steamed fruitcakes in preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove fruitcakes from oven to a cooling rack for 12 hours. Wrap them in cheesecloth. Sprinkle liberally with Port and seal the cakes in plastic wrap or in plastic storage bags. Once a week, brush the cakes with more Port.
Dollar Fruit Cake (1930’s Recipe)
- 1 lb. Raisins
- 2 cups Mixed fruit – Chopped
- 1/2 lb. Cherries – Candied (halved)
- 1/2 cup Walnuts – Chopped Coarsely or Almonds
- 2 cups Sifted Flour – all-purpose
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 cup Butter – Soften
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3 Large eggs
- 1/4 cup Rum or Fruit Juice
- 1 tsp. Rum extract
- 4 oz. Pineapple chunks
Pre-Heat oven and a large pan of water (on bottom shelf) to 300 degrees F. Combine Fruit and nuts then coat with 1 Cup of the flour.
In a separate bowl cream butter and add sugar gradually. Beat until very light and fluffy. Add well beaten eggs. Sift remaining flour with baking powder and salt add to creamed mixture.
Blend well and add the rum/ juice and extract. Add Floured fruit and nuts mixture, mix well. Bake in a spring form pan or angel food pan, lined with 4 layers of well greased brown paper. Place in oven on shelf above the hot water, bake for 2 hours. When cooled you can wrap with cheese cloth soaked in rum, then wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
Dark Fruitcake Cookies
- 3/4 cup soft room temperature butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 cup chopped glace cherries
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup mixed glace citrus peel
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix beat together the butter, brown sugar and molasses until well blended. Beat in the egg for an additional minute. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger and fold into the molasses mixture. Fold in all of the fruit and nuts if you are using them. Cover, and chill dough for a couple of hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into 1 sized balls.. Place cookies 2½ inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets, lined with parchment paper or silicone baking liners. Press down slightly with the bottom of a water glass. You can dip the water glass in a little flour to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool.
This dough freezes well, so you can roll them into balls and freeze them, then take them out of the freezer, let thaw for a ½ hour and bake as usual.