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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FRUITCAKE GETS BUM RAP




“Fruitcake Gets Bum Rap”-a quirky individual who gets shuttled off to jail on an imaginary charge.
No, not that kind of fruitcake. I would never use such a politically incorrect term to define someone who might resemble my Great-aunt Minerva who made pies out of leftover jams and jellies.

I’m referring to the type of cake made from candied fruits and nuts that some insist on baking or buying to give as Christmas gifts. You’ve heard Jay Leno make fun of a family tradition of giving this cake, where one recipient says, “Why, thank yew sooo much! I just love fruitcake.” Then that person proceeds to wrap it anew and gives it to someone else. The same cake is passed around for years—and never deteriorates!

I, for one, really, really do love fruitcake. Admittedly, some are better than others, but even the cheap ones that come in a decorative tin and sold in your local discount store have something to offer. At Christmas parties, someone always contributes a plate of dark sliced fruitcake, perhaps a little dry, forlorn, skipped over by guests as they select a tidbit here, a morsel there. Me? I’ll take a piece of the cake every time.

My mother made an excellent fruit cake back in the fifties and sixties. She did use the common candied cherries and pineapple, sometimes dyed green, raisins, and lots of good old Texas pecans. She would buy a big sack of pecans as early as she could in the fall, and Daddy cracked every one and picked out the nutmeats. Fresh pecans make a big difference. Since we were teetotalers at home, Mother would tell Daddy to buy a bottle of whiskey—she said whiskey, but probably meant bourbon—when he next had to work over the state line in New Mexico. Most of the South Plains counties were “dry.” After soaking the 10-inch-tube-pan cake two weeks in the alcoholic beverage, let me tell you, that was a good fruitcake. I especially enjoyed it for breakfast with a hot cup of black coffee.

Years later, I found my own recipe for fruitcake. I’d like to share it with you.
 
~~BRANDY NUT CAKE~~

3 cups chopped Texas pecans

1 ½ cups halved maraschino cherries

1 cup dark raisins- ½ cup light raisins

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup white sugar

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

3 eggs

2 Tbs. apricot brandy

 ½ cup apricot brandy and cheesecloth

 Combine nuts and fruits. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to nut mixture, tossing to coat well. Beat eggs till frothy; add the 2 Tbs. brandy. Pour egg mixture over fruit mixture; mix well. Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 loaf dish or pan. Bake in 300 degree oven 1 hour and 45 minutes. (If you use a dark pan, perhaps lower the temperature a few degrees or test for doneness a few minutes early.)

When the cake cools, wrap in clean cheese-cloth. Dribble apricot Brandy over all sides until soaked. Wrap in aluminum foil. You may add more brandy later, if you wish. Store the cake at least week.

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Here is the link to a page of Free Reads on Publishing By Rebecca J. Vickery.
 Please click on the link below the cover for MERRY CHRISTMAS, VICTORIA.
This is a 1500 word Free short story.
http://rebeccajvickery.com/gifts-freebies.php  
 






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Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

 

 

22 comments:

  1. Fruitcake lovers, unite! I'm so glad to learn I'm not alone among those at whom others look askance and then whisper behind their hands to friends, "Poor dear. She's a bit of a fruitcake herself, isn't she?"

    Every year, my mother baked a luscious fruitcake for the holidays, too. Dark, dense, and brimming with candied fruit and Texas pecans (of course!), the cakes weighed about 10 pounds each -- or seemed to, anyway. Momma never let alcohol of any kind near her fruitcake; instead, she used grape juice to give the cake its signature dark color and flavor. To this day, it's not Christmas around here without one. Thankfully, my sister took over the job of making the cake -- which she splits among the four of us -- because it has to be made around Thanksgiving and cure in the fridge for about a month.

    Glad tidings of the season to you and yours, dear lady!

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  2. Not for me, sorry. I've never liked fruitcake since my parents used to take me to a great aunt's between Christmas and New Year, and I had to eat this dry, stodgy, bitter-tasting cake. I hated it, and it's put me off fruitcake ever since! Couldn't even bring myself to like my mother's fruit cake, even though that was moister and less bitter.

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  3. We can form a club--The Fruitcakes--I did not make one this year. We don't celebrate with family, sadly to say, but that's the way it is. We do spend a day with our daughter and SIL in San Antonio, but she wouldn't touch fruitcake with a ten foot pole, My husband likes this Brandy Nut cake for two reasons--it's loaded with pecans and apricot brandy, and I don't call it fruitcake. It's a great idea to split the cake and take turns making it. They're not difficult, unless you have to chop up everything. I have a recipe for Fruitcake cookies, which is pretty good--but it makes a mountain of little cookies and takes all day because the oven is on 300 degrees or less. Have a Merry Christmas with your family--enjoy yourself--which I know you will...but I do remember this will be your first Christmas without your husband. Blessings.

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  4. Paula--you're in the majority, then, because many do not like fruitcake. I wonder why the cakes you ate tasted bitter? That, I don't understand. But I do know many people don't care from the citron and candied cherries and the other pieces of fruit that are colored. Have a very Merry Christmas and let's hope for a better 2015.

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  5. Hi Celia. I'm afraid me part similarities on this one. However I have tried my hand at making fruitcake. My best friend and I made fruitcakes in Home Ec. class to surprise our famlies one year in high school. We didn't have any brandy so we soaked the cakes in grape juice before we sealed them in cake tins for a month to soak. Need I describe the moldy, smelly mess we opened on the last day before Christmas vacation? And once I made a fruit cake from a recipe given by a friend. There was no baking time listed so I baked it an hour in a loaf pan. It was a brick. THEN I learned it was a no-bake fruit cake. I hate fruit cakes.

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  6. You almost make me want to attempt to make a fruitcake, Celia. I like some of them, and some I don't. I don't like raisins in much of anything--but that apricot brandy got me to thinking. Maybe some Grand Marnier brandy would be just the thing along with all those pecans. I remember once when my mother decided to use gum drops instead of candied fruit in her fruitcake. Now some may have thought how awful, but honestly, I liked it. I love your stories about your family. Happy holidays!

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  7. Love fruit cake, especially the candied fruit. Every year Mom orders one for the two of us and we save it as the last of the holiday treats. (like having desert after dinner). I've haven't tried making one and highly doubt I ever will since I've never been known for my cooking skills. If there's a way to ruin something, 98% of the time I will find it.

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    1. Marissa--there's a town in Texas with a bakery that specializes in making and shipping fruitcakes all over the world. Can't recall the name of the town now. But one day, I'm going to order one and see what the fuss is about! They are famous. I think you've made the right choice by not making one--it might turn out like Linda Swift's, the one she could have used as a door stop! Happy Holidays!

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  8. I love fruitcake. My grandmother wrapped hers in cheesecloth and liberally soaked it in elderberry wine. It was the only time we kids were allowed alcohol. What sweet memories. Thanks Celia.

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    1. Loretta--don't you love the sound of "Elderberry Wine?" Very musical. It seems our mothers and grandmothers knew best how to make fruitcake. Thanks, too, for sharing your sweet memories. Merry Christmas.

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  9. Linda--your fruitcake-making episodes sounds a bit like your Thanksgiving turkey episode! You're snake-bit, I guess, when trying something you think you should make but your heart is not in it. Ewww, I can imagine the moldy mess, but on the other hand some do soak their fruitcakes in grape juice. The no-bake cake...what a great story. Okay, so we don't have to like the same things..on this one thing I do see we're polar opposites. Merry Christmas and be careful in that kitchen!

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  10. Sarah--gumdrops? Well, why not? I'm glad turn out all right. One year I could not find the candied cherries, so I used bottled maraschino cherries, and it made the dough too "wet"...I had to cook it longer than usual, and I thought it turned out rather gooey and icky. But I sliced and served it anyway to my circle group, and several asked for the recipe because it had such a unique...consistency? Sometimes you never know. If you don't want to make the cake, buy the Grand Marnier anyway and drink it. Happy Holidays, my friend!

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  11. I loved your post. You see, I have this fruitcake recipe my mother-in-law gave me 45 years ago and I have made three batches of the cake which totals 18 fruitcakes to give away each year since. These cakes are so good and so popular that people cry when we move because they know they won't get another. One friend who got me started on the computers, has received one of my cakes every Christmas for 27 years. My writing partner loves them so much I save one in the freezer and send it to him on his birthday in February. My brother-in-law actually licks the waxpaper they are baked in. Hubby loves the smell as they bake at 250 degrees for three hours. The house smells like Christmas to him. My recipe has no alcohol in it, but lots of the candied fruit, applesauce, and raisins. Hubby loves to hand them out to people who have been kind to us during the year and I do mail quite a few, too. I think they get a bum rap. I love to make them and several people says it is the love I bake into them that makes them taste so good. Merry Christmas

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  12. Paisley--I really need this recipe. I thought mine was good but yours sounds like something I should try. Can you email me at cayeary@hotmail.com and give me this recipe? It sounds too good to pass up.
    You know the Pillsbury commercial, "Nothing Says Lovin' Like Something From the Oven?" That's what I thought about when I read your comment. Thanks so much. You are truly a blessed spirit of Christmas. (I bet the applesauce has something to do with the very special cake.)

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  13. Hi Celia, and thanks for the recipe. I love certain fruitcakes and used to look forward to making them with my mother-in-law every Christmas. Her recipe had been handed down from her mother who got it from her mother and so on. She made a cake that was as sweet as candy, but took hours (or should I say "days") to make. Glad to hear there are some of us left who enjoy good fruitcake and a cup of coffee - but those doorstops that pass for a fruitcake which have been re-gifted for years are not included.

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    1. I'm little late in responding, Rebecca, but I do appreciate others liking fruitcake. We have so few to share anything with now, I hesitate to make much, except for candy. I make A LOT OF CANDY. However, the good thing about the fruitcake is that it is preserved in all that brandy. Have a wonderful Christmas, and let's all hope and look forward to a good 2015.

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  15. Your recipe looks better than what is probably found in most store-bought ones, but I'm still not convinced most fruitcakes wouldn't make better bricks for making buildings than for eating. Merry Christmas, Celia, and have a wonderful New Year!

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    1. JD--unfortunately, you've just never tasted the right fruitcake. But I forgive you--I know it's an acquired taste. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and best wishes for the New Year.

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  16. I was visiting the Christmas Markets in Austria and Germany last week on our Viking Cruise, and I paused at one yummy-looking confection booth, eyeing a particularly attractive loaf-shaped cake and thinking how nice it would be to take one home. The man behind the counter informed me in his heavily-accented Austrian that it was "fruitcake". I smiled at him and got the heck out of there, thinking I had dodged a bullet. Whew--close one!!

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    1. Vicki--you made me laugh! Some fruitcake haters just won't give it a chance. But that's fine....I wish you a merry Christmas and a new year we look forward to. Somehow, we all think changing the numbers will change our lives. Oh, if only.

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  17. Enjoyed your earlier "fruitcake" post on FB, Celia - I'd never known how to make it! Thanks for the recipe - sounds like something I gotta try (I'm never to old to try something new)!

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