Exquisite Candied Fruitcake

Fruitcakes have a terrible reputation, and if you don’t like candied fruit, then no recipe is going to make you like fruitcake, but here is a recipe that I’ve developed after many years of trying to imitate our family’s favorite, which used to be called “Texas fruitcake.”  Unlike most traditional fruitcakes, which dry out and end up being discarded after a month in the back of the fridge, this recipe is absolutely loaded with whole candied fruits and pecans, and tastes so scrumptious that I have to stash one or two or they’re gone before all the Christmas gifts are under the tree. Here it is, from my home to yours, just in time for the holidays!

Exquisite Candied Fruitcake
(makes 3 loaves)

First, collect your ingredients, because they’re not something most people keep around the house:
16 oz. candied red cherries
16 oz. candied pineapple
2 six-ounce containers of candied green cherries
12 (or 16) oz. roasted, salted pecans
1 pound butter (well, you might have this ingredient at home)Next: load the following ingredients into your mixer:
1 pound softened butter (not a second pound; just the one mentioned above)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs. Beat all these ingredients together until totally whipped. Add:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice. Beat all these ingredients together until it looks like soft cookie dough. Next, add all the fruit and nuts, and stir carefully by hand just until it’s all mixed.                                                  The next step is crucial!  Cut out parchment paper and fit it to the bottom of each loaf pan with about 4-5 inches of paper hanging over each side. This lining is what will enable you to lift the fruitcake out of the loaf pan without crumbling after it bakes and cools. Divide the batter equally into three pans, smoothing out the mixture. Preheat the oven to 325°F. If you have an artistic flair, you can save some of the candied fruit and nuts and arrange flowers on the top, although I didn’t this time.Bake the cakes for 75 minutes at 325°F. They will still be quite soft, but they should be a deep, golden brown in color. Set them on the counter until they are entirely cool. In fact, it won’t hurt them if you let them rest overnight, although if you do that, pull the paper flaps down and cover all three pans loosely with more parchment paper to keep them from drying out too much.After they are completely cool, gently lift the cakes out of their pans by pulling on the parchment paper. If the ends don’t want to come loose, try gently separating them from the sides of the pans with a plastic knife. Once you can tell that the paper isn’t sticking, lift them out completely. These fruitcakes are super rich, so a small piece goes a long way, but it’s so good that nobody will really want a very small piece! They can be eaten fresh (although I always keep them wrapped in saran wrap). They can also be wrapped up to save for later (can last a month in the refrigerator although they also freeze just fine), or they can be gift wrapped and shared!

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.
(Psalm 136:26)