Fruit Cake has a bad reputation as being dry and heavy like a brick. I found this delicious recipe many years ago on the back of a cake mix. I have adjusted it to taste like a fruit cake that my family fell in love with from a local market. It was a southern pecan fruit cake made by a company in Texas. It was also very expensive for a little bar of it. My oldest grandson loved it and would ask for it. The cake was not loaded down with spice, molasses or liquor to over power the taste. So the flavor is buttery and allows the fruits and nuts flavor the cake. It smells wonderful while baking. My mother loved dark spicy fruit cake and would buy a 2 pound cake in a tin every Christmas when I was a kid. She also got to eat most of it all by herself.
Fruit Cake is expensive to make because of the glace fruit and nuts that it takes. It is not hard to make but does take time to bake. Early in the fall you can start finding the little containers of fruit in your baking section of the grocery store. I would start buying a container at a time until I had what I needed that way it won’t break your budget. You can get them after Christmas marked down and they keep a year. The fruit I have used this year came from last year after the holidays. All you have to do is store the sealed containers in the back of your cupboard. Any one that bakes always watches for nuts to go on sale this time of the year and stores them in the freezer to use for several months.
Nordic Ware pan with 4 oval shaped mini loafs that I have had for almost 20 years.
The cake is baked in a slow oven for over two hours. I put a 9 x 13 inch pan with hot water on the bottom rack and the cake on the middle rack to bake. The hot pan of water will help keep the cake moist while baking. The idea to do this came from watching videos on line demonstrating how to make good fruit cake. There are several ways of preparing the baking pans and other techniques you can pick up while searching through you tube. You will simply have to chose what fits with the pans that you have to work with. I did not want a tube cake but to make 4 small loaves to share with family and friends. My little loaf pan cavities are oval shaped so I had to line the pans with non stick foil to shape the liner. Parchment paper works really well for baking. If you don’t line your pans it will be hard to remove the cake. Do a little research on line first and that will help prevent mistakes.
Removed the cake using the liner.
Pecan Fruit Cake
1 lb. Glace Red Cherries
1 lb. Glace Pineapple Pieces
8 oz. Chopped Dates
1 1/2 cups Pecans
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 box Butter Pecan Cake mix
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons butter vanilla extract
light corn syrup to brush on top
Preheat oven to 275 degrees and prepare pan.
In a very large bowl mix fruit and nuts. Then add flour and mix with a large spoon. In a mixer blend on medium speed the cake mix, water, eggs and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes until smooth. Fruit cake uses very little batter and it is just enough to coat all the fruit. Add batter to the fruit mixture and mix with a spoon until blended. If you have a heavy mixer with a dough hook add the fruit to the batter and mix with the dough hook until blended. It will save your arm a lot of work. You are stirring 4 pounds of batter and that is heavy.
Spoon in a angle food tube pan and press down evenly. You can also bake it in two 4 x 8 inches loaf pans or four mini loaf pans. Bake for 2 1/2 hours at 275 degrees. Place a pan of hot water at the bottom of your oven. It took 2 hours for my mini loaf pans. You have to insert a skewer to see if it comes out clean. Every oven bakes differently so keep an eye on them and check them a little early to see if they are done. When the skewer comes out clean let the cake cool for a couple of minutes and brush on syrup to glaze the top while it is still hot. Leave the cake to cool completely in the pan. The liner will help you lift the cake out. Wrap and store in a tight container. The cake will taste better after it sits for a couple of days before serving. It also freezes well too. I did not remove the foil before wrapping because it will help the cake from drying out.
If you like making fruit cakes. Natasha’s Palace is hosting a fruit cake challenge. Stop in and see her fruit cake recipe and results.