Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fruitcake Recipe ~ The Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt!

Welcome to The Spirit of Christmas Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt!

I promised that I would share that great – once secret – 150 year old fruitcake recipe – and here it is!

This is the recipe with the ‘modern measurements’ for the ‘9 egg fruitcake’ ~

Please note the very large wooden spoon - I mentioned yesterday that you would need that!

9 eggs

2 cups of butter (real butter, not margarine or shortening!!!)

2 cups of sugar (regular white sugar – not brown sugar!!!)

4 cups of flour (I like unbleached white flour for this fruitcake – no one has ever used wheat in this recipe)

4 pounds of fruit and nuts – use Candied pineapple, cherries, citron, orange and lemon peel; golden raisins (not dark raisins), pecans, and currants (if you like them – my sis and I don’t use the currants because we don’t like them =p). Just make sure that all of the fruit and nut amounts add up to 4 pounds. Doing the math is the hardest part of making this fruitcake. Take a calculator. Totally!

1 cup of molasses (we use unsulfured dark molasses – yummy!)

1 cup of brandy or fruit juice (I like orange juice in the fruitcake – Mary likes brandy. Just make sure you use the same brandy to soak the fruitcake. We usually use peach or apricot brandy. Oh, and don’t soak the cakes in orange juice even if you did put it in the fruitcake – yuck! Just pick one of those brandies and use that to soak the cakes.)

You will also need one tablespoon of each of these spices (don’t omit any of them!!!) ~ allspice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.
Okay – here come the directions. Remember that this recipe came with very few instructions! Nana wrote it out and then I made notes through the years…

Messy job number one: Grease the pans. Line the pans with paper. Grease the paper. Nice. We use shortening to do this (we, Kimosabi? I use shortening to do this… although we did swap jobs this year. Mary did the pans and I did the fruit… Pans are nice – the shortening makes your hands soft *winks*) So for the 9 egg fruit cake you will need a herd of small loaf pans, or three small loaf pans and a tube pan. I like the tube pan because I think the cake is really pretty even if it is harder to get the paper in there. Hey – it’s what Nana used *smiles* But, if you use the tube pan be prepared for it to cook a looooong time…

Messy job number two: Wash the raisins and pick out all of the stems. Do the same with the currants if you are using them. Nana used to do this the night before and leave them all to dry overnight. She liked currants so she always used them, too. Take your candied fruit and prepare to get really sticky. Cut all of the candied cherries and candied pineapple pieces in half. After you have all of the fruit cut and the raisins and currants are dry, mix them all of the fruit and nuts together.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. Add molasses and mix well. You can use a mixer for this part (newly added to the instructions… hehe – but this is the only time to use the mixer!)

Sift flour and spices together. Combine the sifted flour/spice mixture with the fruit. This is very important because otherwise your fruit will all sink to the bottom. Ugly and not so good. It’s okay if you have a little flour left – or you can just add it all to the fruit. I told you the instructions were a little sparse in the original! I have done it both ways, though, and as long as the fruit is totally coated with the flour mixture it will work okay.

Now you can put your mixer away unless you are not at all attached to it and you don’t care if it’s little motor burns up… (newly added to instructions due to life experience of a recent recipient of this recipe…)  Note, again, the huge wooden spoon!  The wooden bowl is the one that Nana used all the years that she made fruitcake.

Now is also a good time to pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. And – VERY IMPORTANT!!! – put a big pan of water in the bottom of your oven. I use a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Make sure that this is always full of water or your fruitcake will be really dry.

Pour the creamed mixture into a huge bowl (trust me – big is not big enough) and add the fruit mixture a little at a time, alternating with a little brandy. Blend well after each addition. Continue adding the fruit mixture and the brandy until they are all in the creamed mixture. This is kind of like making ice cream in the old hand crank ice cream makers. If you have kids helping you, let them stir first - unless you are really mean. However, beware! if you are really mean, your fruitcake will change before your eyes and taste like a nasty door stop.

Okay – now fill all of those greased little and big pans about two thirds full of batter. You can bake them all at the same time, but make sure that there is a little space between them. Wowser!!! can you imagine my sister’s oven with two racks of these babies baking??? Sure smells good!
Your fruitcakes will take between one and two hours to bake. Listen to them – they make a happy sound when they are cooking. When they are done, they are silent (mostly). Test with a toothpick, too, but remember that they are moist. Also, look for them to pull away from the edge of the pans just a teeny bit when they are done. Doneness timing is tricky – you may have to experiment until you find the right timing for your oven. Little loaves take about an hour; tube pan takes about two hours. Heavy on the “about”…

When they are done, let the little yummies cool completely. Now, grab that brandy – you do have some left, don’t you? Pour a bit of it in a bowl and then dip cheese cloth pieces in the brandy. You can also use the old kind of ‘flour sacking’ cotton dish towels for this if you would like. Squeeze it out a bit and then wrap your fruit cake up. You don’t want too much brandy on the cakes or they will get squishy on the outside and you won’t have any brandy left to sip on New Year’s Eve. After you have them well doused, wrap them tightly in heavy aluminum foil.

*laughs* Here’s the hard part – store the fruitcakes in the fridge for about a week before you eat it – for the best flavor that is. My brother-in-law says he has to sample it the day it is made just to make sure it is okay and fit for human consumption. He is my sister’s official food taster =p
Here’s another variable, too – my sister prefers to store her cakes in the freezer. I prefer to store mine in the refrigerator. They seem to keep well both ways as long as they are tightly sealed. Get careless with that aluminum foil, and your cake will get dry.

Well, this has got to be the longest blog post that I have ever written! If you have any questions, post them in the comments! Not only will you have a chance to win a free ACEO from me (if you comment before December 11, at 12am EST) but all the questions and comments will be there for anyone who wants this recipe =)

Thanks for passing on one of my treasured family traditions!


How simple is it to win some treasure in our Treasure Hunt? This simple!

Comment at least once at each of the 6 blogs by December 11, at 12am EST to be eligible to win one or more ACEO's. One winner will be chosen from each blog.

Kathy (me) ~
Allie ~
Christine ~
Pam ~
Carole ~
Marlene ~

Happy Treasure Hunting!

Allie is your next stop on the Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt ~
Visit Allie's delightful blog here:

and then stop by Allie's wonderful etsy shop here:

Just in case you did not know, ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are small works of art that are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm), roughly the size of a standard playing card. Check out my blog post for more information about ACEOs and why I like them so much!


  1. I'm bowled over by the fact that it requires 4lbs of fruit and nuts!

  2. I'm copying this but thinking it over seriously - that is a lot of work! It looks yummy though.

  3. I can almost smell the delicious cakes. lindax TY of the gift of sharing your family recipe.

  4. That is quite a recipe. :) Too bad I hate fruit cake...LOL

  5. Purple - yeah - just think about it - the 18 egg fruitcake takes 8 pounds of fruit! lol!

    Marlene - it is worth the effort - believe me! I have never tasted a fruitcake this delicious! You can also half this recipe. I have the measurements for a five egg cake if you want them.

    Thank you, Linda =) glad you enjoyed this!

    Carole - too funny! That's okay, love ya anyway *winks*

  6. As everyone has suspected, holiday fruitcakes really ARE dense enough to stop a speeding bullet. (With video.) Can a Fruitcake Stop a Bullet?

  7. sounds yummy! i think i'm going to try making it BUT will definitely have to halve the recipe. :D there's only me, hubby and a one year old toddler. and hubby doesn't like fruitcake. :D

  8. Funny, colon - couldn't get the link to load, though...

    theleidy - let me know if you would like me to convo you the 5 egg measurements. Also, this does freeze well and you can freeze it and eat it all year *winks* though ours has never lasted that long!

  9. Yummy! Looks like you have fun baking them every year!

  10. Thank you! I am one of those people who love fruitcake! It must be because of the nuts, fruit, and spices. I love all of those. very kind of you to post all this information here! My aunt used to make it, but :( sadly I don't know if her recipe exists anywhere.

  11. I'll bet your house smelled divine for days!

  12. Looks like a great recipe! I don't know of anyone who likes fruitcake or I would love to try it.

  13. Thanks, Pam - it is lots of fun - especially with the kids. Baking fruitcake is a 'social event' for our family =p

    Woohoo! Splendid! you are my kindred spirit this Christmas =) This recipe is similar to the Lizzie cookies that I have seen. The fruitcake is much tastier because it has more spices. If you like fruitcake with candies fruit and molasses, I heartily recommend this recipe!

    Oh, Verdant - it does do that for a house =)

    LazyT - some people just like to collect interesting recipes - I thought that the 'rest of the world' might be interested in this because of the age of the recipe. Fun to share it on that aspect, too! Thanks for stopping by =)

  14. Did you have Nana's permission to share this recipe????!!! Back in the day, as I recall, it was TOP SECRET, as was the brandy recipe!!!

  15. oh my gosh!!! i've never liked fruitcake & now that i know how it's done.... i think i'd like it even less lol. you sure made it sound good though!

  16. Rose - muahahahaha! It's the Ghost of Fruitcake Present!

    hehe - shhhhhh! Karin - don't say that too loud! roflol! Yeah - I never did get the brandy recipe - or the molasses cookie recipe (though I think I found that one in a cookbook she had), but she finally did give me the fruitcake recipe with definite instructions to ask her before giving it away.

    patk - it is REALLY good, but only if you like candied fruit, nuts, and molasses *winks* It is fascinating to read the original recipe, though - just pounds of this and that and hardly any instructions!

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