Ok I know what everyone says, “Fruitcake? Isn’t that something you use for a door stop?” Most people have a negative connotation with fruitcake. My mom made fruitcake every year at Christmas and I have loved it since I was a little girl. The memories of the big Tupperware container filled with candied fruit swimming in booze are clear as day. It sat on top of the refrigerator for a week and to sneak a piece of that delicious fruit I’d need my big brother or a chair to reach it. I don’t remember the actual baking of the cakes just that when a slice was presented in front of me I couldn’t wait to devour it.
Throughout my adult life there was always a foil wrapped piece of cake delivered at Christmas time. I would make it last 6 months or more. The best thing was I didn’t’ have to share it with anyone. The fall after my mom passed away I thought about the fruitcake. I had never made it with her nor did I remember anything about the process. My sister had made it with her once but couldn’t remember details. During a visit with my step father I rummaged in the pantry finding the old wood box filled with mom's recipes. I knew it had to be in there. Sure enough it was but not how I expected. I found a very old recipe card with Helen’s Candied Fruitcake written at the top. Below read the ingredient list and directions on what to add to what at different stages. A few of the lines were crossed out and portions rewritten in my mom's hand. “Pecans ½ #” off to the side and “use double recipe with 7-8# fruit”. “SOAK 1 wk” I made a photo copy of the card and took it home.
I knew she bought the fruit from DeLaurenti in the Pike Place Market so I made a trip there to gather the ingredients. Not sure of the exact brand of booze she used I purchased a fifth of Jack Daniels and soaked the fruit for one week. The process of making the cake was pretty easy. I’m thankful I saw the note about draining the fruit before you cook it. The leftover booze soaked juice is used after the cake is cooked, poured over the top to make the cake moist. I made enough to share with my family at Christmas. All who love it were of course very grateful. The spouses who don’t eat it were grateful that I made my siblings happy. In the end I really don’t mind if people snub fruitcake. It just means there is more for me!
What old family recipe do you hold dear?