filling the empty nest with food

Fruitcake: Reputation Restored

You know how, back in the really old days, a person’s reputation could get dragged through the dirt by inappropriate or unconventional behavior or even worse, by a possibly-inaccurate rumor about said behavior?  And, once that good name had been disgraced,  there was no way to restore it to its original purity?  (By the way, have you ever noticed how many satisfying synonyms there are for disgrace? Besmirch, dishonor, disrespect, slander, taint, debase, defile, disparage.  On and on.  But, try searching for an antonym to “disgrace” and tell me how many you find.)

Fortunately, those days are past for most of us in the U.S.  Unfortunately, they’re in full swing for the much maligned Christmas fruitcake.

I never understood the jokes about using fruitcakes as doorstops.  Possibly because my family’s traditional fruitcake was delicious:  as much moist, dark cake as candied fruit and nuts; heavy and heavenly aroma of cinnamon and cloves; plenty of butter for richness; and whiskey in the batter to liberate the flavors of the raisins and candied cherries.  Plus, the cake had been soaked in brandy for several weeks prior to Christmas.  It was a cake to gobble up; never to throw away!

December is National Fruitcake Month.  Who knew?  Once December arrives, try and find yourself a tasty fruitcake (or, better yet, make my family recipe below) and set it out in the middle of a holiday party!  And then spread the word that the nasty rumors are false.

Spaeth Family Christmas Fruitcake

Mix together in saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.  Cool to room temperature:
3 cups raisins
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/2 pound butter
3 tsp. cloves
3 tsp. cinnamon

Beat lightly in a bowl or mixer:
3 eggs

To eggs, add cooled mixture above, plus:
1/2 pound candied fruit (citron, candied green or red cherries or pineapple–any combination is fine)
1 cup walnuts or pecans
1 cup whiskey

Mix well, but not too much.

Sift together:
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Add flour and soda to liquid mixture, and mix until combined.

Grease several small bread pans and pour in cake batter.  Bake in a slow oven (250 – 275 degrees) for about 2 hours.  Cool in pans before unmolding.

This fruitcake is best made a month or so before Christmas, so you have time to wrap it in cheesecloth that’s been soaked in brandy.  Put the cheesecloth-wrapped cakes in a cooler in your basement, and pour a bit of brandy over the cakes from time to time before the cheesecloth dries out.  Slice thinly and enjoy the rightfully restored honor of a special holiday treat!

8 comments on “Fruitcake: Reputation Restored

  1. Shaun McElhatton
    November 23, 2012

    that sounds good. Here’s another that I like:
    The Best Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe You Ever Tried! Guaranteed to be fun to make!

    Christmas Whiskey Cake

    1 cup butter

    2 cups sugar

    6 large eggs

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    3 cups flour, sifted

    1/2 t. salt

    1 cup bourbon

    1 pound pecans, chopped

    3 cups white raisins (or use candied fruit)

    1 t. nutmeg


    ~ a very large bottle of bourbon whiskey ~

    First, sample the whiskey to check for quality.

    Assemble all of the ingredients. Check the whiskey again.

    To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

    Repeat this step.

    Turn on the electric mixer and beat one cup of butter in a large

    fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and cream until beat.

    Make sure the whiskey is still okay… try another cup.

    Turn off the mixer. Beat six leggs and add to the bowl,

    then chunk in the cup of dried flut. Mix on the tuner.

    Throw in two quarts of flour. Gradually pour in the cow.

    Add 2 dried anything.

    If the fried druit gets struck in the beaters, pry it loose with

    a drewscriver. Sample the whiskey and check it again for tonsistency.

    Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Whateva???

    Check the whiskey again.

    Now sift the nutmeg and strain your nuts. Add one table.

    And the spoon. Of whiskee. Or something. Whatever you find left.

    Grease the oven.

    Turn the crake pan to 350 degrees. Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

    Pour the oven into the batter. Throw the bowl out the window.

    Lick the batter off the floor.

    Bake 300 minutes at 50 degrees.

    Finish the blobble of whishy and flow to bed.

  2. poodith
    November 23, 2012

    Nice pic! What were those fruitcake cookies called? I love those!

    • Catherine
      November 23, 2012

      I like them, too. I think they’re called “Fruitcake Cookies.” 🙂

      • poodith
        November 24, 2012


  3. Betty
    November 24, 2012

    I’m ready for a lost Saturday: I’m gonna make Shaun’s version.

  4. Caroline
    November 24, 2012

    They’re called Tin Lizzy’s! Go figure!

  5. Mom
    November 28, 2012

    Or Tin Lizzies

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2012 by in Desserts, Recipes and tagged , .

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