If you follow my photos at the bottom of the page, the Flickr link, you will notice a series of fruitcake photos. I decided, this year for the first time, to make my own fruitcake rather than continue to purchase it at Whole Foods for a very high price.
My mother always made fruitcake when I was growing up. Her brother lived in Georgia and had a pecan tree in his yard. Every year a large box of pecans would arrive in early November. It was often my job to shell those with the admonition to keep the meats whole and not broken to small bits. My mother liked to put whole nuts in her cakes. She used cherries and pineapple, but none of the citron. We lived in a land rich with raisins so those always went in, too. She would send Daddy to the liquor store to buy brandy to use in aging the cakes. The process was long as the cakes would age for weeks, in a cool, spare bedroom off of the kitchen. I always wanted to taste the cakes before it was time.
I don’t have my mother’s recipe, or if I do, it’s tucked away in the storage unit. I found a fruitcake recipe in a cookbook I have from the NAACP and it came with strong recommendations. I slightly altered it as it did not call for aging in brandy-soaked cheesecloth. It also called for mixed fruit (citron), but I used cherries and pineapple. I also did not have an orange to zest but instead used some orange concentrate. I liked the recipe, though, because it called for applesauce and a bit of cocoa. There is a pound of raisins as well as a pound of nuts in the batter.
The nine little cakes have been aging, in the guest room. Every other day I add more brandy to the cheesecloth wrappings. Yesterday, I decided to unwrap one and test it. I figured, these are my cakes, I don’t have to wait for my mother to say it’s okay to eat them. Although it could do with more aging, I have eaten the entire little cake. Now there are only eight still aging.