Quick Fruit Cake

"This recipe was adapted by my mother from one that appeared in the Washington Post newspaper in the late 1960’s. It is “quick” because it does not require dousing with sherry and soaking for months before serving. Cooking the raisins with water, sugar, and a little whiskey and honey moistens them before the cake is baked, so it can be served after only 1 week of resting. PLEASE READ THE RECIPE COMPLETELY BEFORE BEGINNING! We like to use 1 cup diced mixed candied fruit, plus 1 cup whole candied red cherries and large candied pineapple chunks, mixed. This makes a nice looking slice when served. The recipe makes 5 pounds of fruitcake – that’s two large loaves or one angel-cake ring pan. If you don’t have a mixing bowl large enough, use a large dutch oven or stockpot. For gift giving, I divide it into small disposable loaf pans – it makes 4 or 5 depending on size and how full they are. You absolutely must line the greased pans with parchment paper, then grease them again."
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Ready In:
2 loaves




  • The day before baking: Cook raisins, water, and sugar for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add whiskey and honey, stir to combine. Add butter and let it melt in the hot mixture. Cool to room temperature, overnight is best.
  • Prepare pans: grease pans with shortening, line with parchment paper and leave a 2” collar extending above all the sides. Grease the inside of the parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 275°F Adjust rack to center position.
  • Reserve 1/2 dozen whole cherries and several whole nuts to use as decoration on top of cake. Adhere with a little batter or syrup.
  • Measure fruit and nuts into a large bowl. Sift together the flour, spices, baking powder, soda and salt into another medium bowl. With your hands, blend the flour mixture into the combined fruit and nuts. Make sure the fruits are not stuck together, and are coated with flour. Set aside.
  • In your largest mixing bowl, beat eggs well. Alternately add to the beaten eggs, the floured fruit and nuts, and the raisin mixture. Combine with large spatula or with bare hand.
  • Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake for about 2 hours (time will vary with size of pan) until cake shrinks from sides of pan slightly. After 1 ½ hours, decorate tops of cakes with reserved fruit and nuts, by adhering them to the top of cake with reserved batter. Return to oven to finish baking. Turn off oven, leave cake in oven 10 minutes with heat off. Remove pans from oven, allow to cool on racks 10-15 minutes. Peel paper off cakes carefully while still warm. Cool on rack completely.
  • To store cakes, wrap in muslin moistened with sherry, and place in zip lock bag or tin. Check periodically and add sherry to keep moist. Slice about 1/2 inch thick to serve, with hot tea, coffee, or egg nog. Can be stored for a year or more if kept moist with sherry or whiskey.

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