Monday, December 23, 2013

Mom's "Old Fashioned" Fruitcake

This delicious fruitcake is very moist and full of flavor. The cinnamon, candied fruits, and nuts are the perfect blend that make this fruitcake a family all-time favorite!

At my house, fruitcake and Christmas always seemed to go together. My Mom always baked a fruitcake several weeks before Christmas to give it time to "mellow" and for the fruits to fully ripen, and my Dad eagerly anticipated this event.

I wanted to carry on the tradition, so the search for her recipe began. I was so excited when I finally found her folded, aged recipe somewhat hidden in her recipe box. I remembered that she deviated somewhat from the original recipe, so I did the same, hoping that I made the right changes. My Dad loves it, and that's what matters. I make this fruitcake for him each year during Thanksgiving Break as one of his Christmas presents.


4 cups sifted regular flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Candied fruit (total 36 ounces): **See note below.
  • 2 cups chopped mixed candied fruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied citron
  • 1 cup chopped candied cherries

1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped black walnuts

1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease well and flour (or spray) a 10 inch tube pan. Cut wax paper to fit and place in the bottom of the pan and grease.

In a small bowl, mix together and set aside: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Arrange halved fruits and nuts in the tube pan.

Coarsely chop the remaining candied fruits and nuts, if needed; mix well in a medium bowl. 

Add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and mix well. Set aside.

In a large bowl, chop margarine or butter with a spoon. 

Mix until creamy.

Gradually add: 2 cups sugar. Beat until light. 

Add eggs, one at a time. Beat until light and fluffy. 

Add dry ingredients alternately with 1-1/2 cups buttermilk. Beat until smooth. Add fruit-nut mixture. Mix by hand with a large spoon until blended well. Spoon into the tube pan. 

Bake at 300 degrees for about 2-1/2 hours, until done. Test with a toothpick; fruitcake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Nancy's Notes:
  • My family does not drink alcohol, but it was needed for the fruitcake. When my Dad first bought the Apricot Brandy, he parked a distance away from the liquor store, and my Mom hoped no one would see him go there. Last year when he needed to buy more, he told the store clerk that the Apricot Brandy was for the fruitcake. She replied, "That's what they all say!"
  • My Dad uses a pastry brush to apply the Apricot Brandy every few days, and usually starts eating and sharing it around Christmas Eve! Eventually, he freezes leftovers by wrapping individual slices in aluminum foil and storing in Ziploc Freezer bags.
  • Total amount of candied fruit needs to be 36 ounces, but you can use the fruit that you prefer. If you can find a 32 ounce container of Mixed Candied Fruit, add 1/2 cup Chopped Candied Cherries, and you are done! This saves money and time! 

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Merry Christmas, Dad!

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