WILLIS DAVIDSON'S FRUITCAKE
I have never been fond of fruitcake, however some years ago, Patti found this recipe in The Toronto Star and she has been making it ever since. We all were converted to loving fruitcake, including our Pastors, Dentist, Doctor, friends and extended family members. So much so, that now we bake at least five batches every November/December which totals 30 cakes! Even folks who in the past maligned fruitcake and always passed on sampling are true lovers of this recipe. One friend even suggested that Patti start her own business selling fruitcakes, now that's a recommendation!
2 1/2 cups of chopped dates ( we use Medjool as they are very moist)
2 cups chopped candied citron peel
2 cups of seeded raisins (Lexia, only available in the fall, get them early as they sell out)
2 cups of seedless raisins( Thompson or Sultana)
1 1/2 cups currants
1 1/2 cups blanched whole almonds
1 1/2 cups drained red maraschino cherries chopped
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup or as you wish rum, brandy or fruit juice (careful not to overkill it may get soupy)
PINEAPPLE MIXTURE (prepared the day before you plan to bake the cakes)
19 oz. can of crushed pineapple (buy at Metro as other stores have smaller tins)
1/2 cup of liquid from the cherries
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup strawberry jam
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 pound butter ( I use unsalted)
2 cups granulated sugar
In large bowl, mix together dates, peel, raisins, currants, almonds and drained cherries. Stir in rum/fruit juice and cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight. Turn the mixture occasionally to allow rum to soak into the fruit.
In a saucepan combine pineapple and 2 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered stirring frequently, for 40-45 minutes or until mixture thickens. Should be about 2 1/2 cups of this mixture. Remove from heat, stir in strawberry jam and cherry liquid until mixed. (mixture should now measure approx. 4 cups or a little more). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Line your loaf pans with parchment paper, trimming edges if necessary. (I use two 9 x 5 pans and four 7.5 x 4 pans. I have also used mini bundt pans for individual cakes and mini loaves) The trick is to fill your pans almost to the rim of the pan, the mixture does not rise much, leave about one quarter inch or less space between mixture and rim of pan.
In bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and allspice. Add one cup of flour mixture to the fruit mixture, toss to thoroughly coat fruit.
In large mixing bowl, cream butter and 2 cups of sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time blending well after each.( I use a mixer for this part and then hand stir in the flour/pineapple mixture). Alternately stir small amounts of the flour mixture and pineapple mixture into the butter mixture. Blend well. Stir in fruit mixture. Spoon batter into pans.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees and place a large, shallow pan of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven. Place loaf pans on middle rack and bake for 2 and 1/2 hours or 3 depending on your oven. (my oven takes 2 hours and 45 minutes and I bake two large and one small pan in my first round and then the remaining three small pans in the second round) Bake until the cakes are golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Also press lightly on the top of the cakes and if they are fairly firm they are done.
Remove cakes from oven, cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans, peel off paper and cool on cookie rack. Wrap in plastic wrap then aluminum foil. Store in a cool place(cold cellars work well). These cakes freeze well which is why we are still enjoying them in the summer at the cottage!
IF YOU DECIDE TO TRY THIS RECIPE AND HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED HELP, JUST SEND US AN EMAIL AT firstname.lastname@example.org AND WE WILL GLADLY GET IN TOUCH. ENJOY!