I have baked fruitcake every year for at least the last 30 years. I started with a recipe that my mother obtained from someone (she doesn’t remember who) many, many years ago. Since my mother does not bake, she gave the recipe to her sisters. My aunts have baked this cake for as long as I can remember. It was the gold standard for wedding cake. I like to find people who “don’t like fruitcake” because I think this is the cake to change their mind. I used to bake about 150 pounds of cake annually, which translates to 70 cakes. The cakes were given to my husband’s clients as well as friends and family. As they are a time-consuming product, I have tried to cut back on the number of cakes I bake. Last year I cut back to 49 cakes, plus another 7 gluten-free ones. Wasn’t much of a time saver. So this year, I thought I should not bake at all, or cut back drastically. The drastic cut back won. I baked 14 full size cakes and one small one. It was (excuse the expression), a piece of cake!
The recipe I am using is one that has evolved over the years. I consider it very much my own now. My cake baking is an involved process, starting with shopping for ingredients (which are never all available at one place.) Then all the fruits are washed and sorted. People seem shocked when I show them all the bad raisins that can be found in every package. Believe me, they are there. I like the nuts sorted, as there are always some that don’t meet my standards. All the ingredients are carefully weighed and measured. The fruits are plumped with liquor before the actual baking begins. I have done this long enough to have established a system that guarantees a consistent, uniform product. Once baked the cakes are wrapped in liquor soaked cheesecloth. Then every 7 – 10 days the cloth is soaked again to infuse the liquor throughout the cake.
The packaging is important. I buy large rolls of printed cellophane and wrap the cakes with machine like precision. The ingredient labels are custom printed. I have cardboard boxes that fit the cakes perfectly to protect them from rough handling. I’ll admit it – I have control issues. But to me, the finished product is worth it.
Here are this year’s cakes baking and out of the oven. If anyone is interested in the recipe, please comment on this post. If there is enough interest, I’ll share the recipe. My usual rule is that if I give you the recipe, I don’t ever need to give you a cake again. The liquor I use for soaking the cakes is St. Hubertus from Hungary. This was part of the recipe when I started baking, and I wouldn’t think of doing the cakes if it wasn’t available. It’s that good. I will post photos of the cakes once they are wrapped and ready to leave home. Putting the wrap on is my favorite part, but possibly because that means I’m nearly done. At least this year I won’t have to spend too much time shipping cakes all over North America. Hooray for that!