My dad started making this fruitcake about 30 years ago. Everyone who hates fruitcake likes this, and everyone who likes fruitcake LOVES this. Many people say this is the ONLY fruitcake they will eat. I hope you'll try this. Just follow the directions EXACTLY, and you'll have the most wonderful fruitcake ever!
- Place coconut, dates, and pecan pieces in a very large (7 quart or larger) bowl. With your hands break up chunks of dates & coconut, and stir those 3 ingredients together.
- Add the cherries, pineapple, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir thoroughly. (I wear non-powdered surgical gloves, and stir it with my hands because the mixture is very stiff.).
- Let set at room temperature while you prepare the pans. Spray 2 - 9"x5" loaf pans with Pam. Line the pans with waxed (or parchment) paper. (We cut parchment paper in 4 1/4"x 16 1/4" strips for this. You want the paper to come up past the short sides of the pans after the mixture is packed into the pans.) Now spray the paper (after you've pressed it into the pans) with Pam.
- Stir the ingredients well again.Divide the ingredients equally between the 2 loaf pans.
- Pack VERY TIGHTLY and smoothly into the pans. (I wet my hands & press, pack down, & smooth top, using both hands. Wetting your hands keeps them from sticking to "batter".).
- Place the pans on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 300 degrees F for 1 hour, or until lightly browned. (If the cakes have baked for an hour, or look a little brown around the edges, take them out of the oven & lift edges of paper a little to see if sides look brown enough. If they're brown on sides, but not on top, you may broil the tops for a few minutes-watch carefully.).
- Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pans.
- Gently lift the edges of the paper a couple of times on each side - kind of a rocking motion. (Sometimes I have to run a sharp knife down the edges of the pan.) Turn pans upside down onto a paper-lined cookie sheet. Lift pans from the cakes. Remove paper from bottom of cakes IMMEDIATELY.
- Let cool completely. Place in a large container (don't wrap yet) and refrigerate overnight.
- Turn cake upside down to slice. After slicing, wrap in waxed (or parchment) paper, then in heavy duty aluminum foil.
- May be refrigerated up to 3 months or frozen up to 1 year.