- 3 cups of dry fruit (*)
- 3 cups of chopped nuts (**)
- 2 pounds mixed candied fruit for fruit cake (this is the cheapest way to buy fruit for fruit cake, in the large 2 pound tub, all mixed together)
- 1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 1 cup fruit juice (or the syrup from canned fruit or even kool-aid)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups flour
First measure and prepare all of the fruit. The regular dry fruit must be soaked first. Put your raisins and whatever other dry fruit you are using, into a bowl. Cover them with hot tap water and set aside. This keeps the fruit moist while it bakes. Do not omit this step to save time. I have tried to use the raisins without soaking first, and they do not turn out good at all. So always soak the regular dry fruit before using it. The candied fruit does not need soaking. Chop up your nuts, use any kind you like. I prefer not to use peanuts, but you could if you really wanted too. Personally, I prefer black and english walnuts. The peanuts just don’t do justice to the cake in my opinion.
Get out a very big bowl. In it combine the margarine, brown sugar, white sugar and eggs. Mix it all up very well. Add the fruit juice or syrup. Mix again, until it is nice and smooth. Now measure in the baking powder, spices and salt. Add the flour, and stir it up really good. The batter will be quite thick. Be careful as you stir, to get all of the corners of the bowl, so everything is mixed in nicely. Next dump in the nuts and the candied fruit. Get the regular dry fruit, which is soaking, and drain it very well. I use a colander and drain it like spaghetti. Add the drained fruit to the batter along with the nuts and candied fruit. Stir and Stir and Stir. A big wooden spoon works best for this task. Stir and stir some more. Get all of the fruit and nuts evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Now generously grease four 8″ by 4″ loaf pans with solid shortening. I say solid shortening, because it makes the finished cake easier to remove. Turn the batter into the four loaf pans, filling them equally full. Spread the batter to the corners of the pan, because it is so thick it will not run there by itself, like regular cake batter. Bake the loaves at 275° for 2-1/2 hours. When you stick a butter knife into the center of one of the cakes, it should come out clean. The cakes will rise a little bit, but not too much. Allow the cakes to cool completely before trying to remove them from the pans. This is important. If you try to remove them while they are still hot, they will not come out as whole cakes. Instead they will come out as hot fruit cake crumbs. I use a thin dull knife blade to sort of help them out of their pans several hours later. After they have been removed, double wrap them, first in plastic wrap and then in tin foil. These freeze very well. They make excellent gifts to folks who like fruit cake. Don’t waste them on folks who already hate fruit cake and will never change their minds. People who already like it, will beg you for the recipe, and you can give it to them or not, depending on your desire for the power of a secret recipe in your repertoire.
* choose from raisins, dates, dry apricots, dry pineapple, dry apples, whatever you have available
** choose from walnuts, almonds, pecans, whatever is most abundant to you