Fruitcake

Fruitcake (or fruit cake) is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices, and optionally soaked in spirits. In the United Kingdom certain rich versions may be iced and decorated. Fruitcakes are often served in the celebration of Christmas.

The name “fruitcake” can be traced back only as far as the Middle Ages. It is formed from a combination of the Latin fructus, and French frui or frug. The oldest reference that can be found regarding a fruitcake dates back to Roman times. The recipe included pomegranate seeds. Pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. Honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added during the Middle Ages. Crusaders and hunters were reported to have carried this type of cake to sustain themselves over long periods of time away from home.

It was the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.

Regal Fruit Cake

1 1/2 cups candied yellow pineapple, chopped

1 1/2 cups candied red and green cherries, chopped

1 cup raisins

3/4 cup currants

2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup white grape juice

1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

5 eggs, room temperature

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1 teaspoon almond extract

Brandy

Grease a 10-inch tube or bundt pan; line with wax paper and grease well.

In a large bowl, combine candied pineapple, candied cherries, raisins, currants, and pecans or walnuts. Add grape juice; stir until well blended. Let stand 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream butter or margarine. Gradually add brown sugar, stirring until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and mace; gradually add to butter mixture. Add almond extract and fruit mixture; stir until well blended. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake 3 hours and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from pan, peel paper liner from cake, and cook completely.

Wrap in a brandy-soaked cheesecloth; store in an airtight container for one week. After one week, store in the refrigerator.

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