DIY: Fruitcake

About ten years ago, I began making fruitcakes with quality dried fruit, aging them with booze.

I don’t remember eating a fruitcake I liked as a kid, but to be sure, I bought a small fruitcake at the Collin Street Bakery on the way to Houston recently. I came away reinforced with what I had learned — the best ones are the ones you make yourself.

I have a few recipes from an old Martha Stewart magazine that work well. But going through Regina’s collection, we found the family heirloom recipe. I haven’t made it yet, but I will soon. I froze some figs from the tree and ordered some more dried fruit from King Arthur Flour’s online store. The liquor cabinet is, as usual, at the ready — rum, brandy, bourbon. Regina likes bourbon, but I’ll probably make that decision once I sample the batter. I’m Wisconsin girl, and partial to brandy.

The recipe, from Regina’s mother, my children’s great-grandmother, is captured here. I knew that couldn’t be all there was to it, so I emailed Regina for the rest of the directions.FruitCake copy

Here’s what she offered:

Mother made the fruit cake at the Thanksgiving break from school.  They didn’t have packages of the dried fruit mixed together so she bought packages of each fruit she wanted.  She didn’t like citron very much so she didn’t use much of it.  Those days flour was sold in cloth bags instead of paper so she wrapped the cloth soaked in bourbon around the cake.  She soaked some sliced apples in the bourbon and filled the tube hole.  She wrapped the cake in the bourbon soaked cloth.  She put the wrapped cake in a metal purchased cake pan with a tight lid.  She had a sprinkler bottle and once a week she would sprinkle the cloth with bourbon.  We didn’t have plastic containers in those days so that was the need for the metal cake box.

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