'tis the season.


i don't think i've ever made a fruitcake before. i've never been a huge fan of it, but i've had some that have been very good, so i'm not of the type who chucks it out of windows when one crosses the threshold--mainly because most of them are so heavy, i'm sure to kill an unsuspecting passerby. i do, however, get the urge to bake them, even though i know they are a hard sell. i brought one to the guys at the bank today and they were all like, "so what goodies did you bring us today?" and i carefully said "oh. a cake." pause. "with fruit." dingdingding! oh, the disappointment and the accusation hanging in the air! "a fruitcake?!"

yeah, well, there's really no hiding it. i can't even claim it's not like a traditional cake made with all fresh or dried fruit, or some sort of pierre herme creation. it's not lightweight, it's not soaked in tequila--it's a number-one-bona-fide-brick of butter, sugar, eggs, and fruit. i adapted a recipe from jeffrey steingarten--the other one who ate everything--that was adapted by annie over at bon appegeek; she is a hardcore fruitcake fanatic, so if she liked the recipe, and if jeffrey steingarten liked the recipe, there's a pretty good chance that i...might not. hey! like i said, i'm not a big fruitcake fan. i don't know why i wanted to make it, maybe it's some sort of sick manifestation of holiday spirit or something. (you know what? it probably is. i mean, i've been watching straight-to-basic-cable holiday movies all week--diva whose ghost of present is the bass player for duran duran? seen it. sabrina the teenage witch kidnapping the cha cha king for a family dinner? seen it. also, who's been scanning the FM dial for a chance to hear mariah carey for the fifteenth time? that day? nyahh. say what you want, it's teh awesomeest.)

so anyway. i've never read steingarten's book, don't really know the exact mods that annie did to his cake, and there's talk of some sort of "fatal flaw" in the crust. i wasn't worried too much about it, though, because the ingredients list reads like a french pound cake recipe with the addition of a lot of stuff--i can do that. the french pound cake--quatre quarts, literally "four fourths"--is made with equal amounts of four ingredients: flour, eggs, butter, and sugar; only a little variation on that, and some advice taken from one of the dozens of googled fruitcake recipes i've looked at for weeks: the addition of 3.5 pounds of fruit. yeeeeeeahboyyyy. can't mistake that for anything else then. i used a mix of dried and candied fruits, chopped them up to 1/4-inch anonymity to protect the innocent, which made the cake more like a jammy poundcake than dough studded with sugary unidentifiable lumps. walnuts added some needed texture, and like annie and jeffrey, i didn't bother to liquor it up. didn't need it. also didn't get the hard crustiness as described by both, but i baked them in smaller loaves, so the cooking time was reduced significantly; what i got was a beautifully golden, sugary-coated shell that made the cake irresistible directly out of the oven. of course, all that fruit and sugar makes it molten-hot, so perhaps you'd like to wait for it to cool completely, or even refrigerate it for easier slicing.

i know you're sceptical, but i stand by it, like i stand by mariah carey's christmas song--it's sugary, it's sweet, it's definitely seasonal, but it also has substance, quality ingredients, and darn it if it doesn't make you want to dance around the christmas tree.

oh, you humbuggers you. here's some darlene love for you then.


3 1/2 lbs of any combination of dried fruit and candied fruit you like--i highly suggest using a lot of citrus peel in the mix (i used 8 oz each of candied orange peel, lemon peel, and pineapple, golden raisins, chopped dates, 4 oz of finely diced candied ginger in syrup, and made up the rest with a dried fruit blend, then chopped down to 1/8"-1/4" pieces)

1 lb of nuts, your choice (i used roughly chopped walnuts)

1 lb of flour, sifted

1 lb of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 lb of white sugar

6 eggs

2 teaspoonfuls of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoonful of salt

preheat oven to 325˚F.

in a large bowl, combine all fruit and nuts, mixing well. set aside. cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. add vanilla and salt. fold in flour until completely incorporated. mix fruit/nut mix into batter. transfer batter into well greased pans. bake until golden, and toothpick inserted in center comes out relatively clean (roughly 35 minutes for small muffins, 1 hour for small loaves, and 2 hours for large ones).


I've read his book and while I enjoyed it, I found his relationship with his dog (Sky Prince or something) faintly disturbing.

John Taylor? No way!

the song is good, but the video is unbearable, even the fille was all, what? why are they in the snow? what? a child who was enraptured by patrick swayze dirty dancing, I'm just pointing out, ok?

I love fruitcake. love. I think it's the quality of the fruit. candied fruit is spendy and too many people tried to pass off colored citrus peels in fruitcake's vogue and ew. I have considered trying to make one gf, because the batter is really just a binder. oat flour? but then I get distracted by all the regular food I'm trying to replace or repair. and the brooding, too.

your photos are always so lovely. xox

I'm so glad you tried it! Very pretty presentation. I was too busy eating it to make it look nice, lol.

a, oh that does not sound promising. i am always faintly disturbed by men's relationships with their dogs in books.

and john taylor, yes! i don't know how he got roped into this.

m, yes, the video is dreckish, which is why i had it open in another tab/page, so you can hear the song without having to watch the vid. i have ne'er watched it in its entirety, but now i must look for the child who love him some swayze!!

i like the idea of oat flour in the cake, would add a nice texture i think. hm. must ponder this.

annie, yours looked great. the big chunks of fruit are very pretty--it's like a cake and a kaleidoscope in one!

Yum! I love fruitcake - even bad, grocery-store fruitcake - but I've never made it either. My mom always did and I think the only reason I haven't is that I never think of it early enough (hers is the kind that steeps in some sort of alcohol for at least a month). So maybe I should do like you and just skip that part!