Fruitcake has a bad reputation. It’s that cake that can be re-gifted year after year because nobody dares to eat it. Well, that’s not true in MY house. Inspired by all the references to delicious fruitcakes-of-old on VPR (you think I’m joking, but I’m not) I decided that traditional fruitcake seemed right up my alley*

So I poked around, came up with recipes that were either too small, too large, or had too much leavening in them** and then I made up my own. The best part may be that my mom took this opportunity to give my great great-grandmother’s pudding tin to me.

the family pudding tin

I wonder if anyone before me used this to make fruitcake…

The trick to delicious fruitcake is the same as for any other delicious food. Don’t use ingredients you don’t like. For everyone I’ve ever met this means don’t ruin a perfectly good cake with those glow-in-the-dark bits like citron (and whatever makes the green chunks in commercial fruitcake, ewww) I’ve listed the fruits I used in my cake, but you should change things up to suite your own tastes.

dried fruits

Fruitcake is about 1/3 dried fruit, 1/3 flour and spice mix, and 1/3 egg, sugar, butter mix. Notice the only leavening is the egg. This is a very dense cake (and that’s before you soak it in rum) Also, if you don’t want the rum (hey, that’s your choice) I’d recommend soaking it in apple cider. The liquid helps make the cake moist and tasty. But maybe make this just a few days before the party instead of a few weeks…

Ye Olde Fashioned Fruitcake
2 c chopped dried fruit
1.5 c flour
1 stick of butter (1/2 c)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c molasses
2 eggs
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t each: nutmeg, allspice, ginger, salt
1/4 t cloves
1-2 c rum or apple cider

Fruit mix:
I used 1 c of chopped apple, 1/4 c each of raisins, dried cranberries, and currants. 4 dried figs (all I had left) and made up the difference with candied pineapple and ginger. I don’t like nuts in my quickbread, but if you do you could probably add nuts to this mix.
Soak all the dried fruit in 1/2 c of rum for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

Wet ingredients:
Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the molasses and eggs*** and mix it all up. I’m thinking next time I might use maple syrup instead of molasses, that’d make it more vermonty right?

a little flour

Dry ingredients:
Sift the flour and spices together. Or whisk, whatever.

Pre-heat your oven to 250F. Grease your cake pan/bundt pan/pudding tin well.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until everything is almost mixed. Add the fruit and rum it’s been soaking in. Mix together.
Pour (or glop, as the case may be) into a well greased cake pan of some kind.
Bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours (less if you’re using a shallow cake pan, more if you’re using a tall bundt pan or pudding tin)
Allow to cool and turn cake out into an airtight container. Pour 1/2 c of rum over the cake and close the container. Allow to soak. Repeat this rum soaking process every 5-7 days for about 3 weeks. You want the cake well soaked, but not soggy.


Serve and enjoy! But maybe don’t give it to kids, unless they’re teething or something…

*dried fruit, heavy on the spices, and soaked in rum? What could possibly go wrong??
**I decided fruitcake should not be anything that could be described as light OR fluffy
***I only used 1 egg, but it was this giant egg with 2 yokes and twice as much white as usual. The joys of raising chickens!


3 responses to “Fruitcake!

  1. I think, although I’m not positive, that the original process with the pudding tin was that you filled it up and closed it and then submerged it in the cauldron over the fire and boiled it. I wonder if that would result in a different kind of cake?

    • I’ve seen pudding recipes that involve boiling instead of baking. In fact, the reason the fruitcake is cooked low may be to simulate boiling. After all, that’s be a steady 212F and the recipes all call for 250F.

      It might be more moist if it were boiled instead of baked. Although I did bake with the lid on so the steam should’ve been trapped pretty well by that.

  2. I loved fruitcake even as a child, and could never understand why people hated it. I want to make my own with pecans!! I just love reading your awesome posts…….always interesting, down to earth, real life stuff!! It seems to me that Vermont is an awesome place to live.

    I will be excited when one of my hens lays a double yolker……I was ecstatic when the very first egg arrived… getting a new grandchild :-D

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