Period Fruit Cake, Its History and Some Recipes


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donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
#63
December is National Fruitcake Month. So thought I would bring this thread back up. For me, I must have fruitcake at Christmas but a nice moist one.

Two recipes for fruitcake during Civil War era are in "Civil War Recipes Receipts from the Pages of Godey's Lady's Book".

Christmas Cake (1862 1nd 1863)

"To two pounds of flour well sifted unite
Of loaf-sugar ounces sixteen;
Two pounds of fresh butter, with eighteen fine eggs,
And four pounds of currants washed clean;
Eight ounces of almonds well blanched and cut small,
The same weight of citron sliced,
Of orange and lemon peel candied one pound,
And a gill of pale brandy uniced;
A large nutmeg grated; exact half an ounce
Of Allspice, but only a quarter
Of mace, coriander, and ginger well ground,
Or pounded to dust in a mortar.
An important addition is cinnamon, which
Is better increased than diminished;
The fourth of an ounce is sufficient. Now this
May be baked four good hours till finished."

This recipe makes about 24 pounds. It is for a large crowd.

Note:

gill: Liquid measure equal to 1/4 pint.

loaf sugar: A conical mass of concentrated sugar.

Fruit Cake (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 added one half cup of cold coffee, one of sugar, two eggs, a half cup of butter, one nutmeg, one teaspoonful of soda, and cinnamon and spices to taste."

Note: this recipe need about 2 cups of flour to hold it together. Also bake until knife inserted comes out clean. I would guess a 350 degree oven. This one you probably have to experiment with to get cake moist and tasty.
 
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Jarrettsville, MD
#67
No cherries :smile: My father owned a bakery in the 70's, and yes Fruit Cake every Christmas. I always dug out the cherries, citrus, and any other odd looking fruit. The thing looked like a squirrel got into it.

Thanks for the memories, and some really great fruitcake recipes :smile:


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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.
o
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."
 

PeterT

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#68
As we speak/read we are waiting for mother-in-law to arrive from her farm to spend Christmas with us. She will have 2 fruit cakes ... a gluten free (for the family members who have this need) and a "normal" one.

She should have the Christmas pudding too :hungry:
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
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#69
I NEVER ate fruitcake, until I tried a slice from one I was gifted 25+ years ago and couldn't believe how good it was! I buy one every year now, primarily for myself. Fruity, chewy, sweet and not much cake. Collinstreet.com I've tried others, and they just don't cut it. Not cheap, but its worth it to me.
The previous posted recipes sound good, although liquor in cake is not pleasing to me.
Merry Christmas
Bob
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
142
#72
Must have Fruitcake for the Holidays. Bringing this thread back up.
Thanks to all who have come up with recipes and suggestions. The apricot addition sounds really good. I wonder how much different the apricot cake from Corsicana varies from traditional fruitcake? For those who prefer a strong fruitcake, Grandmas from Beatrice, NB might fill the bill.
 

AshleyMel

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Oct 26, 2016
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#73
Yes! Thanks for bringing this thread back up! It's nice for us newbies! Great recipes! I am such a fruitcake lover (homemade is best but I do love me some slices Claxton, GA with my coffee in the morning)! One of my Aunties would make the cookies! Pure Heaven! My daughter makes her own from a Martha Stewart recipe she adapted and it is the only one my husband will eat. She soaks the fruit in spiced rum before she makes it. Won't tell me her secret! Dang it!
 
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#75
And then you have to dry out the eater? Always wondered if fruitcake was an alcohol delivery system.
Oh it is, my good man, it is!


Third verse: "We never eat fruitcake because it has rum
And one little bite turns a man to a bum!
Can you imagine a sorrier sight
Than a man eating fruitcake until he gets tight?!"
 
Joined
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Messages
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Due west of the Free State stronghold of Lawrence
#76
We soak the dried fruit in cider for several days prior, then baste the cake with rum or brandy after it's finished baking.
Indeed, I was surprised by some of the recipes above that don't involve that final step. I'd always thought the whole cake was supposed to steep in whiskey or brandy or rum or some combination of such, up in the attic, for like a month or so.
 

AshleyMel

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Oct 26, 2016
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#79
My daughter has bought the candied fruit for her fruit cakes and is gathering the rest of the ingredients as we speak! She already has a few requests in for her yummy fruit cake! She is thinking of making smaller cakes this year, maybe, last year she made ones in Bundt pans and then cut them in half to give out to the folks who asked for some. I suggested mini loaves this time around for easier gift giving.
 

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