Sunday, March 9, 2014

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


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:
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:
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:

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!!!  When finished, the batter looked like this:

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!

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


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!

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

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:

Sorry that one is out of focus.
But my hands were steadier once I poured the booze on them!

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:

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!