Tips For Successfully Baking A Better Holiday Fruitcake

Tis the season for fruitcakes and if you’d like to try your hand at tackling a homemade one yourself (or troubleshoot any problems you may be experiencing), here are a few tips and recipes (for White, Dark and Light varieties) that I’ve collected to help achieve the best results possible.

I also added a glaze recipe and if you’re looking for something that focuses on mincemeat, there’s an option for that too. Enjoy!

  • Completely dust the fruit and nuts with flour so they don’t fall to the bottom of the batter while baking. Shake off excess before incorporating into the recipe.
  • Oven temperature should be low enough to cook the batter fully without drying out the cake (250°F).
  • First line the pans with several layers of brown paper (parchment paper works too), this insulates the batter against excess drying.
  • Pans should only be filled 2/3 full of batter, not full.
  • Once done and removed from the oven, the cake should be thoroughly cooled on a rack then removed from pan and wrapped in aluminum foil. Store in a box. Cake may be wrapped in several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Brandy or fruit juice may be poured on the cloth occasionally.
  • Prepare them at least 3 weeks before eating, this allows time for flavors to develop and ripen.
  • Don’t freeze a freshly made one right away. Let it age at least 3 to 4 weeks first so it has a chance to build its flavor (ripen).
  • Use the best spices, nuts and dried fruits you can afford. Spices should be fresh.

I found the above information in an old community cookbook. If you’re always on the lookout for cake baking tips, you won’t want to miss this big compilation.

Old-Fashioned Recipes Collection

There are so many different ways to make a fruitcake! I’ve pulled a few different recipes from some old vintage cookbooks to give you an idea what an authentic, old-fashioned version entails…you might just find a new favorite in the bunch!

Quick Note: The “Light” version below refers to the color, it’s not a slimmed down version. There was no such thing back in the day, lol.

Abbreviations:

C=cup
TBS = Tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
lb = pound

White Version

Ingredients

1 C butter
1 1/4 C sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
2 C plus 2 TBS flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 C seedless raisins
1 pkg (8oz) mixed fruit
1/2 C red cherries
1/2 C green cherries
1/2 C nuts
1 lemon (juice and rind)
1 orange (juice and rind)

Directions:

  • Prepare fruit and pour over the juices and let stand overnight.
  • Cream butter and sugar till foamy. Incorporate eggs one at a time, beating well between each.
  • Add flour sifted with salt and baking powder, alternating with fruit.
  • Bake in slow oven (275°F) for 3 1/2 hours.

Tip: Place a small pan of water in the oven to help keep cake moist.

Yield: (1) 9″x9″ cake

Dark Version

Prepare Mix:

  • 1 lb currants
  • 3 lbs raisins
  • 1/2 lb dates
  • 2 lbs mixed glace fruit
  • 1 6oz bottle red maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 6oz bottle green maraschino cherries, drained
  • 2 C blanched almonds, slivered
  • 1 C walnuts

Dredge the above with 1 C sifted flour.

Cream together well (Creamed Mixture): 1 lb butter, 1 1/2 C white sugar, 1 C brown sugar

Blend in and beat thoroughly:

  • 1 TBS lemon flavoring
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1 TBS almond flavoring
  • 1/2 C thick, sour cream

Beat well and add to creamed mixture: 10 eggs

Sift together (Flour Mixture):

  • 4 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Combine the flour mixture with the creamed mixture.

Then add 1/2 cup thick strawberry jam and juice from bottle of red maraschino cherries.

Pour the batter over the fruit mixture and combine thoroughly.

  • Line pans as instructed in the Light version (recipe below).
  • This will make a 3 tiered product.
  • Fill pans about 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 250°F

Master List of Ingredients:

1 lb currants (about 3 C)
1/2 lb dates
3 lbs raisins (about 9 C)
2 lbs mixed glace fruit (about 6 C)
1 6oz bottle red maraschino cherries, drained
1 6oz bottle green maraschino cherries, drained
2 C blanched almonds, slivered
1 C walnuts
1 C sifted flour
1 lb butter
1 1/2 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 TBS lemon flavoring
1 TBS vanilla
1 TBS almond flavoring
1/2 C thick, sour cream
10 eggs
4 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 C thick strawberry jam
juice from bottle of maraschino cherries

Light Version

  • First cream 1 1/2 cup of butter.
  • Then gradually blend in 1 1/2 cup sugar.
  • Add one at a time, beating well after each addition: 6 medium size eggs.
  • Add 1 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp lemon extract and beat well.
  • Sift together three times: 3 1/2 C sifted flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt. Use about 1/2 C of the mixture to flour the fruit and nuts as prepared below:
    • 1 C glace or well drained maraschino cherries, halved
      2 C seedless raisins
      3/4 C both lemon and orange peel, finely cut
      2 rings candied pineapple, diced
      1 C blanched, shredded almonds

      Continuing on with the recipe:

      • Add to butter & egg mixture the remaining sifted dry ingredients and 3 TBS cream.
      • Fold in the fruits and nuts
      • Now line your tins* with three thicknesses of brown paper on the bottom and two on the sides.
      • Grease the paper next to the batter.
      • Fill the pans about 2/3 full. Build the batter well up to the sides and corners of the tin, making a slight hollow in the center.
      • Bake at 250°F until done (small and medium size pans will take 2 to 3 1/2 hours, large size pan takes 4 to 4 1/2 hours).
      • Cake should be firm and should no longer sizzle when pressed lightly.
      • Cool on rack until thoroughly cold.

      Tin Sizes:

      Large – 8x8x3-1/2″
      Medium – 6x6x3-1/2″

      Master List of Ingredients:

      1 1/2 C of butter
      1 1/2 C sugar
      6 eggs, medium size
      1 tsp almond extract
      1 tsp vanilla
      1/2 tsp lemon extract
      3 1/2 C flour
      1 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 C glace or well drained maraschino cherries, halved
      2 C seedless raisins
      3/4 C both lemon and orange peel, finely cut
      2 rings candied pineapple, diced
      1 C blanched, shredded almonds
      3 TBS cream

      Mincemeat Version

      This makes a quick and economical cake.

      1. Cream together 1/2 C shortening and 1 C sugar.
      2. Add and beat until smooth and creamy: 2 eggs, well beaten.
      3. Sift together: 2 C sifted flour, 2 TBS cocoa, 3 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.
      4. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with 1/2 C water, sherry or grape juice (real grape juice, not the purple powdered stuff).
      5. Beat the above until everything’s thoroughly blended.
      6. Then add 1 C mincemeat (first drained dry), 1/2 C nuts, finely chopped.
      7. Pour into a greased pan 8x8x2 inches. Bake at 300°F. approximately 1 1/4 hours.

      Master Ingredient List:

      1/2 C shortening
      1 C sugar
      2 eggs, well beaten
      2 C sifted flour
      2 TBS cocoa
      3 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/2 C water, sherry or grape juice
      1 C mincemeat, drained dry
      1/2 C nuts, finely chopped

      Glaze Recipe

      Combine and bring just to rolling boil:

      • 1/2 C light corn syrup
      • 1/4 C water

      Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm.

      Pour over cold cake before or after storing.

      Decorate with candied fruits.

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Comments

    • jane bennett
    Reply

    I have a boiled datenut cake i make…it was my Grandmas’….it is delish…but,i am def luvin’ these and can’t wait to try them…even though Christmas is past…or ,i guess,on it’s way…lol

    • sandy b
    Reply

    Looking for a recipe for a dark fruit cake mix made from a modified pillsbury date bread mix fruit cake recipe….sorted, organized recipes and threw out the wrong pile…didn’t notice till next year…was my mom’s recipe.

      • Linda Hubbard
      Reply

      Coat the fruit with flour before adding them to the batter. This will help keep it from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

    • C.Stone
    Reply

    We’ve baked a fruit cake that tastes very good but the fruit all sits in the bottom 2/3rds of the result. Any suggestions why this is so and how to prevent it?

    • Sandy
    Reply

    I used to have a recipe for a fruit cake that sat out over night before baking. I’ve lost the recipe. Does anyone have a recipe that sits out overe??

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