My dad loved fruitcake. Secretly, I kind of liked it but always thought it could be much better tasting if it just didn’t have all those candied bitter bits in it and it had too many big nuts AND it was so heavy and dense! One year I decided to try my hand at it so I looked at as many recipes as I could find, finally locating something called White Fruitcake and made it. It was better but still not the best it could be each year I made improvements finally settling on the current version that I (and many others) call Freakin’ Delicious Fruitcake. It takes time, effort, and dirties a bunch of dishes but it is delicious AND so many people ask for it at Christmas time I must make 2 batches. I made one a few weeks early for you and I hope you will try it because you won’t regret it, I promise! The version I am showing you uses rum but if you are adverse to spirits, use orange juice. That’s what I use for my second batch exclusively.
I do not use any of those candied pieces period. I use certain dried fruits that we love. Below is a picture of the ones I use:
Next, you take a cup of each and put them in the food processor (or chop) and rough them up a little.
In the cranberries and blueberries I put ¼ Cup Orange Juice.
Into the Pineapple, gold raisins (Sh! Don’t tell the family), and figs I put in ¼ Cup rum.
I let them soak for 2 hours on the counter or overnight in the fridge. Meanwhile, I measure out all the other ingredients and place in bowls like this:
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 2 cups butter softened
• 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 8 eggs room temperature, separated
• 2 cups finely chopped pecans.
• 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
• 5 Cups of whatever dried fruit you like chopped.
***I use dried cranberries, golden raisins, dried pineapple and figs. Measure out the fruit and THEN chop it. ***
Set oven to 275 F (135 C). You will put a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven. I bought a Dutch oven just for this purpose years ago. I don’t cook at all in it, just use if I need to put water in the bottom of the oven.
This is where a stand mixer is a life-saver! If you don’t have one, you can certainly use a hand mixer or stir it by hand but you will need help, at least I always did……..oh yeah, and the biggest bowl you or your neighbor owns. Seriously.
Cream the butter and sugar. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Fruit, juice, and pecans. Then slowly add sifted flour.
Using a clean bowl and beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks like this:
Then fold into batter very carefully – do not over mix.
You can use these types of pans:
One 5×9 loaf pan and two 3×8 loaf pans. Or, (bake 2 and ½ hours)
24 muffins. Or, (bake 45 minutes)
Numerous mini-muffins. Or, (bake 30 minutes)
8 mini loaf pans. (Bake 1 hour)
Because of differences in ovens, these times are approximate. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
If using non-disposable pans, line with parchment or doubled wax paper first.
When cooked, let them cook IN THE PANS in order to retain moisture.
Take them out of the pan and place in an air tight container:
Put in a cool place and sprinkle with orange juice, rum, or bourbon every other day for between 2 weeks and 1 month. Then, using white chocolate chips (optional):
That and a few tablespoons of milk and pour over top of each fruit cake. Allow to harden, wrap, and give as gifts – that is, if you can resist! Several of my Registered Dietician friends not only like it and ask for it, they say it is much healthier than the traditional version.