Aunt Bertha’s Fruitcake

Fruitcake - 01

Just the word “Fruitcake” makes some shudder. I guarantee you that our family recipe for Fruitcake is much tastier than the store bought variety. I am convinced that you either love Fruitcake or you hate it, there is no middle ground.  I for one enjoy it as long as it is a good homemade one that has been lovingly aged. Our family has a recipe that has been passed on for several generations and a few years ago I got together with one of my cousins for our first attempt at this heirloom treat. We were convinced our ancestors were pleased we were doing this and guided us to the success we had on this venture. Older relatives complimented us to say it tasted just like our great aunt’s tasted. What more could we ask for!

For anyone who might like to try the homemade variety of this seasonal cake my Great Aunt Bertha’s recipe is wonderful. For holiday enjoyment, make this now or very soon! The longer it sits wrapped to age, the better.  There was a joke in the family that you didn’t dare sit our great aunt’s cake near a candle!

Aunt Bertha Spalding’s Fruitcake

In a large bowl combine the following and set aside:

  • 3 lbs raisins
  • 1 lb currants
  • 2 lbs mixed candied fruit
  • 1 C nuts
  • 2 C flour

Cream together in a very large bowl:

  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 1 C butter
  • ½ C Crisco
  • 3 eggs, add one at a time
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients:

  • 3 C flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp salt

Alcohol Mixture

  • 1/4 C Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • 2 T Bacardi Rum
  • Sweet Fruit Wine to make a full cup

Add 1 C milk and flour mixture alternately to the creamed mixture. Add to the batter 1 more C flour, 1 C cold coffee and 1 C alcohol mixture. Add 1 more C flour to the batter and mix well. Add the fruit and flour mixture to the batter and stir until well mixed.  Batter will be stiff.

Divide batter among well greased and floured loaf pans, filling them a generous ½ full. This will make 6-8 loaves depending on your pan size. Smooth batter with the back of a wooden spoon. Garnish with candied pineapple slices, candied cherries and pecan halves, pressing them slightly into the batter.

Place pans in a preheated 225º oven. Bring the temperature up 25º every 15 minutes until oven reaches 325º. Bake 2 hours. Test with cake tester for doneness, make take less than 2 hours.

Cool loaves completely. Make another batch of the alcohol mixture. (We doubled the recipe above to have this on hand to moisten cloths during the aging process. We also taste tasted this mixture while baking to add to the enjoyment of baking!)

Cut pieces of cheesecloth to generously cover the loaves. Soak cloth in the alcohol. Wring out slightly and wrap around each loaf. Store loaves in tightly covered container in a cool place. If you have the old tins, these work best. Resoak cloth when it becomes dry. “Age” the loaves for 4-8 weeks in the alcohol wrap.

Bertha Elizabeth Philips Spalding

Bertha Elizabeth Phillips Spalding


2 Responses to Aunt Bertha’s Fruitcake

  1. Pingback: Nana's Victorian Parlor

  2. Pingback: Time To Make The Fruitcake! | Nana's Victorian Parlor

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