Though some people love it and other people hate it, fruitcake is the ultimate homemade Christmas food gift. Since it is nothing more than fruits and nuts in an egg-flour-butter batter, you can vary the proportions to suit your taste.
- 1 ¾ cups mixed candied fruit
- 1 cup candied orange peel and/or lemon peel
- 1 ½ cups candied pineapple
- 1 ½ cups candied citron, sliced thinly
- 1 cup candied red cherries
- 1 ½ cups black seedless raisins
- 1 ½ cups yellow seedless raisins
- 1 cup black currants
- 1 cup thick raspberry preserves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup good quality Cognac, rum or whisky
- 1 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
- 1 cup grated unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- 2 cups sweet butter
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 12 eggs
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon powdered cloves
- 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
- Butter and flour for the cake pans
- Additional liquor for soaking cakes
- Combine all fruits, preserves, vanilla and liquor in a large bowl. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and store in a cool place overnight.
- Add hazelnuts, coconut and pecans to the fruits, mix well and set aside. Butter and flour four loaf pans. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Make batter in two batches for greater ease of working. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup of butter until it is light and fluffy. Beat in 1 cup of brown sugar, a little at a time. Beating continuously, add 6 eggs, one at a time.
- Mix flour and spices together and sift half the mixture over batter. Fold together well.
- Mix half the fruits and nuts into batter and turn into two loaf pans. For second batch, repeat the last three steps with remaining ingredients.
- Cover loaf pans with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours. Remove foil and bake 40 minutes longer.
- Remove cakes from oven, run a knife around edges of the pans and turn upside down on a cake rack. Leave to cool. When cakes are thoroughly cool, wrap well in cheesecloth and pour liquor on top, bottom and sides until cheesecloth is soaked. Wrap each cake in several layers of aluminum foil to protect them from the air. They are ready to eat in two to three weeks, although the longer they’re kept the better they are. Open every few weeks and add more liquor if cheesecloth seems dry.