1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!
Dismiss Notice
Join and Become a Patron at CivilWarTalk!
Support this site with a monthly or yearly subscription! Active Patrons get to browse the site Ad free!
START BY JOINING NOW!

Period Fruit Cake, Its History and Some Recipes

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by donna, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    fruitcake.jpg
    The Christmas Season is here and what would Christmas be like without Fruitcake. I have great memories of fruitcake from my childhood and still love it. A good fruitcake is hard to beat.

    Fruitcakes are "holiday and wedding cakes which have a very heavy fruit content. The name fruitcake can be traced back as far as the Middle Ages. It is formed from a combination of the Latin frucus and the French frui or frug."

    The oldest reference to fruitcake dates to Roman times. The recipe then included pomegranate seeds, Pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed in barley mash. During the Middle Ages, Crusaders and hunters carried these cakes to sustain them over long periods while away from home.

    In the 1400s, the British began their love affair with the fruitcake. By the 18th century fruitcake became very popular. A Victorian tea would not be complete without it. In America, fruitcakes became popular in the 16th century. Sugar from the American Colonies created an excess of candied fruit, which made fruitcakes more affordable and popular.

    Mail order fruitcakes in America began in 1913. They are now ordered by many for Christmas.

    From The History of Fruitcake by Linda Stradley in web site "What's Cooking America" and from wikipedia, Fruit cake.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2015

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Fruit Cake Recipe from "Civil War Recipes", 1864

    "Two and a half cups dried apples stewed until soft; add one cup of sugar; stew a while longer, and chop the mixture, to which add one half cup of cold coffee, one sugar, two eggs, a half cup of butter, one nutmeg, one teaspoonful of soda, and cinnamom and spices to taste."

    Note: "This recipe needs about 2 cups of flour to hold it together."
     
  4. Littlestown

    Littlestown Captain Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,114
    Location:
    Ohio
    Fruitcake gets a bad rap. I love "good" fruitcake, also, Donna. The thing I never put in my fruitcakes is "citron". Don't care for that at all!
     
  5. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Rich Fruit Cake from "House-Keeping In the Blue Grass" by the ladies of the Presbyterian Church, Paris, Kentucky, 1875.

    This recipe is from Mrs. James Hughes of Paris, Ky.

    "One pound flour, one pound sugar, one fourth pound butter, thirteen eggs, two pounds raisins, two pounds currants, one of citron, wine-glassful brandy, two of wine, one nutmeg, teaspoonful of cinnamon; flour fruit well. Beat the eggs into which stir all the ingredients. Bake three hours."
     
  6. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    This recipe is my Granny's 7 Pound Fruit Cake. If made right, this is my favorite. She always made fruitcakes for Christmas for family and friends.

    1 1/2 lb. pecans
    1 cup candied cherries
    1 lb. dates
    6 cups flour
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup whiskey or cider
    3 teaspoons nutmeg
    1/2 lb butter
    1 cup dark molasses
    1/2 teaspoon soda
    6 eggs
    1 lb white raisins
    1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

    Cut pecans, cherries, dates in halves. Dredge in 2 cups flour. Measure molasses, add soda and nutmeg. Put in warm place to soften. Cream together butter, and sugar, add egg yolks, mix well. Sift flour and baking powder into mixture alternately with whiskey or cider. Beat egg whites until stiff, then fold into batter. Stir in dredged fruits and nuts; mix thoroughly. Beat well molasses, soda and nutmeg; mix into butter; beat well. Pour into floured pans. Cook in low oven ( 250 degrees ) for four hours.

    My Granny who was born in late 1890s learned from her mother who learned from her mother. Thus, this recipe goes back over 150 years. I still have my Granny's original pans she used to bake fruitcakes.
     
  7. Littlestown

    Littlestown Captain Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,114
    Location:
    Ohio
    Mmmm, that sounds great Donna! That is nearly identical to my Grandma's hand me down recipe! Only difference is separating the eggs. I'll bet folding in the egg whites make a delicious difference. I'm going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing!
     
    donna likes this.
  8. napoleon 12 pounder

    napoleon 12 pounder Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    920
    Location:
    huntington beach, ca
    My mother made awesome fruitcake. The one for the kids didn't have the pint of brandy poured on it though
     
    Lazy Bayou and Littlestown like this.
  9. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    20,453
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
    Umm! I bet that's so, too - folding in the whites would lighten it. Most people make fruitcakes so heavy they become door stops handed down from generation to generation. I like one with body but if it takes the help of somebody like Hugh Jackman to lift it, it may be a little much! :happy:
     
  10. Shadow9216

    Shadow9216 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,644
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    We soak the dried fruit in cider for several days prior, then baste the cake with rum or brandy after it's finished baking.
     
  11. Conservator

    Conservator Private

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    163
    Location:
    Acworth, GA.
    All these fruitcakes sound fabulous, the only problem is I can’t bake, never got the hang of it. So if you feel in the Christmas spirit, I will be more than willing to forward my address to those adventurous bakers who need a taste tester .:wink:
     
  12. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    If you don't want to make a fruitcake, try fruitcake cookies.

    2 tablespoons baking soda
    1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 lb candied cherries
    1/2 lb candied pineapple
    1/2 lb candied citron or use candied lemon or orange
    1/2 cup butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    2 eggs, well beaten
    1/2 cup grape jelly
    1 lb pecans, chopped
    1 lb raisins

    1. Preheat yoor oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet, set aside.
    2. In a small bowl, with a fork, mix the baking soda and the milk until baking soda has dissolved, set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, with a wire whisk, stir the flour, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg until blended; set aside.
    4. Chop the candied cherries, pineapple, and citron into small pieces; set aside.
    5. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and grape jelly until well mixed. Add the flour mixture, the chopped candied fruit, the pecans, and the raisins. Add the baking soda mixture last. Stir until you have a batter.
    6. Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. A light brown fruitcake cookie will have a delicate crunch to it. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes before serving.

    Note: Remember if you don't like citron, use candied lemon or orange. Also remember that a tin of these cookies, make a great gift.
     
  13. Littlestown

    Littlestown Captain Trivia Game Winner

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,114
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes, I think I'll try those cookies Donna! Sounds like a wonderful recipe. I always like trying a few new recipes to add to my usual Christmas cookie 'repertoire'! :smile coffee:
     
  14. napoleon 12 pounder

    napoleon 12 pounder Sergeant

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    920
    Location:
    huntington beach, ca
    Holy Cow! I might try it! ummmm how big of a pan do you need to cook that thing?:hungry:
     
  15. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Here is a Dried Apple Fruit Cake from the Smokies. This recipe will make 2 good-sized cakes.

    Dried Apple Fruit Cake

    Soak 3 cups of dried apples overnight in cold water enough to swell them. Chop them in the morning. Put them on the fire with 2 cups of molasses. Stir until soft. Add 1 1/2 cups of seeded raisins. Stew a few minutes. When cold add:

    3 1/2 cups flour
    1 cup butter
    2 cups sugar beaten to a cream
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon soda diddolved in 1 cup sweet milk

    Bake in a steady oven. Spices may be added. This is a delicious cake and variation on other fruitcake recipes I have posted.

    From"Mountain Makin"s in the Smokies". Published by the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, 1957.
     
  16. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    5,709
    Location:
    Minnesota
    A real Christmas! Who eats that stuff!!!!
     
    OldGreyMare likes this.
  17. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    5,709
    Location:
    Minnesota
    And then you have to dry out the eater? Always wondered if fruitcake was an alcohol delivery system.
     
  18. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    20,453
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
    Lol! Guess we'd better not even discuss rum balls and rum cake! :bounce: There's no sadder sight than a man in the gutter with crumbs on his face!
     
  19. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    How about Bourbon balls? I have great recipe for them.
     
  20. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    24,256
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Since Christmas is fast approaching, it time for Fruit cakes and Fruit cake cookies. Thought I bring this thread up for those new on forum.
     
    Littlestown and chellers like this.
  21. Karen Lips

    Karen Lips 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,286
    Location:
    Waxahachie,Texas
    Sounds delicious!
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)