Category: ‘Recipe’

Dark Fruitcake from Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book

October 25, 2013 Posted by suefairview

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I have had great success with this recipe; my family all insist that I make fruitcakes every Holiday Season. This is the only one I have ever used; from the Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book. I think my Mother gave me this Cook Book as a gift, some time ago. When I got married, my husband had one too, though it was an older edition. We merged our copies into one. The first copyright is listed as 1953, the second in 1962.

Here are all of the ingredients before I prepare the fruitcakes:

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In the first part, one combines the dry ingredients via a sifter. I have to use a huge pot, since I don’t have a bowl large enough:

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 treaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Then the candied fruits and nuts are added and stirred until coated.

2 1/2 cups mixed candies fruits & peels

3 cups raisins

1 1/2 cups candied cherries

1 1/2 cups pitted dates

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup pecan halves

1/4 cup candied pineapple

Here is what that looks like:

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Next, in a separate bowl, I beat the 4 eggs until they were foamy. Then I added the 1 3/4 cups of brown sugar a little bit at a time until it was all combined. I then added 1 cup of orange juice and mixed that. Then I added in the 3/4 cup previously melted butter and again mixed it. Finally, I added in the 1/4 cup of molasses. Here is what that looked like:

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The little bumps are the pulp from the orange juice.

Next, I poured this liquid into the dry ingredients, making sure to completely coat them. This is where I could have used a strong assistant!!! [Where is Ryan Rose when you need him?] When finished, the batter looked like this:

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Since so many people in my family want fruitcakes, I have taken to using the smaller pans [7.5' x 3.5' x 2.5']. I also really like using Baker’s Joy baking spray with flour. What an effort saver that is!

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I put the batter in the pans, filling them about 3/4 of the way up.

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Then it is into to the 300ºF oven for 1 hour, after which I covered them with tin foil, to prevent the bottoms from burning. I checked them again in half an hour with a toothpick, but they needed a bit more time. Ten minutes later they were done!

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Ta da! Next it is time to prepare the fruitcakes for the best part! Soaking them in the booze! I use Apricot Brandy.

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Not just any Apricot Brandy, mind you. I have learned the hard way. Don’t use Mr. Boston! I got bad reviews the year I used it – it will ruin the flavor of your fruitcakes! Get another Apricot Brandy. I am going with Hiram Walker this year.

Since it is not easy to get one’s hands on any cheesecloth hereabouts, I use handiwipes that I have laundered beforehand to wrap my fruitcakes with. Then, I overlay that with plastic wrap, as I have had problems with tin foil getting microscopic holes in it over the long times that I keep it in my fridge. Here is a photo of fruitcakes awaiting the booze:

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Sorry that one is out of focus.

But my hands were steadier once I poured the booze on them!

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By the way, I added the booze liberally. These cakes can be thirsty! I used about half of that 1.75 liter bottle on these 5 cakes. I will check on them in a couple of weeks and water them some more. So, here they are in my vegetable crisper in my fridge:

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Ah! I love that drunk who died smell in my fridge! That is what gets me into the H0liday spirit!

Tra la la la, and whatever follows next!

Fruitcakes ready to go!

December 16, 2010 Posted by suefairview

Dark Fruitcake – A Holiday Specialty of Mine

November 29, 2009 Posted by suefairview

I first made Dark Fruitcake in 1976 when I moved off campus in college. My mom gave me the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book as a house warming gift and I decided to try out this recipe. It was quite the winner and quickly became a family tradition! Today was a beautiful day to bake!

The first photo is of all the dry ingredients mixed together, including the sifted four, baking powder, spices, candied fruits and peels, nuts, raisins and dates. Also shown are the melted Plugrá butter and the molasses. I had to use the biggest pot we owned, a spaghetti pot, because the recipe makes so much!

The next photo is of the four eggs beaten foamy with the cup and three quarters of dark brown sugar beaten in. Did I mention that this recipe is a dieter’s delight? Still to be added are the orange juice and molasses. The next two photos show the dry ingredients and two views of Sean’s antique sifter that I used for this recipe.

Now the labor intensive part comes. The wet ingredients are poured over the dry ones and have to be mixed thoroughly. No one wants to bite into a fruit cake and find a pocket of flour!

Then in photo #7, the loaves are ready for the oven. Hooray! Bake at 300° F [149° C] for 2 hours (depending on the size of the loaf tin). Then you end up with photo #8! The finished product!

But wait, there is more! These fruitcake loaves need to be prepared 3-4 weeks in advance because they must be soaked in some sort of *cough* alcohol containing beverage, such as wine. I go straight for the good stuff, apricot brandy! You betcha!

I wrap each loaf individually in two unused, laundered Handi Wipes, put them back into their loaf pans and douse them with apricot brandy. I then cover them with tinfoil and they go into my vegetable crisper in the fridge until I am ready to give them as gifts. So for a month my fridge will smell like a drunk died in there. Could be worse!

That put me in the holiday spirit! Who wants fruitcake???

Figgy Pudding

December 23, 2007 Posted by suefairview


Remember hearing this song?

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer

We won’t go until we get some;
We won’t go until we get some;
We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here


Did you ever wonder what figgy pudding was? I did. So I googled it and found this recipe:

Traditional Figgy Pudding
16 oz. dried Calimyrna figs (the light brown ones, not the black ones)
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Hard Sauce:
1 1/2 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 2 1/12 quart bundt pan with spray or butter.

Cut stems from figs and discard. Cut figs into 1/4″ dice

In a a medium saucepan, heat milk and figs over medium-low heat but do NOT bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. The figs will perfume the milk and the milk will soften the figs.

The mixture may look curdled, but don’t worry.

In a medium bowl (not your mixer’s bowl, we’ll use that next), mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In your mixers bowl, beat eggs one minute on high. Reduce speed to low and add butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture.

Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Beat until just blended.

Pour/spoon the mix into the greased bundt pan. If using an intricate mold/pan, push mix deep into all crevices so it will take the shape when baked. Level top as much as possible. Giving the pan a half twist back and forth will sometimes help the mix find a nice level surface.

Cover the mold with a piece of aluminum foil greased on one side, greased side down.

Place the mold in a roasting pan and place on oven rack. fIll with hot tap water 2 inches up the side of the mold.

Bake for 2 hours or until the pudding is firm and it is pulling away from the side of the bundt pan.

Now, make the sauce. With a mixer, mix all the sauce ingredients together until creamy.

Remove the pudding from the water bath. Remove the foil and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. Invert bundt pan onto a serving plate/cake stand and remove mold. It should come away easily.

Serve warm with sauce. The sauce is more like frosting at room temperature, but if you heat it a bit, it will melt. I liked it more frosting-like.

Since I am going to Mom’s for Christmas, I decided to bring some figgy pudding with me to treat my family. But I have never made it before, so I needed a dry run. I baked it last night for a Christmas party at a friend’s house and it was a big hit! Everybody loved it!

I very much recommend making figgy pudding for the holidays, but if you do, don’t go until you get some!