Tom Lester's Fruitcake

"Every year the Houston Chronicle prints this recipes as "their all-time most-requested fruitcake recipe". It was my grandfather's, Tom Lester former oil editor at the Houston Chronicle, recipe. The recipe makes a large amount, enough for gifts. You will notice that the recipe calls for 2/3 cup of brandy/whiskey mixed in to the batter, and then the vague "When cold (or later that night), dab brandy liberally over outside" instructions towards the end. My grandfather often said the key to the success of the fruitcake was how liberal you were. He was known to use a whole gallon of Jack Daniels bourbon. He would say with a twinkle in his eye that 'he was very political'. Enjoy! (the prep time includes aging time; servings and yield are approx)"
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Ready In:
10 loaves




  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  • Chop cherries, pineapple, citron peel, orange peel, figs, dates, raisins, currants, pecans and walnuts as desired.
  • Place fruit and nuts in a large pan, such as a turkey roaster; set aside.
  • Coat 8 foil loaf pans with vegetable oil spray or butter, then line each pan with well-buttered foil or parchment.
  • You will need a heavy-duty mixer. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl; set aside. Cream butter in large bowl of electric mixer. Meanwhile, add just enough flour to fruits and nuts to lightly coat each piece.
  • To creamed butter, add eggs, sugar, molasses with soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, remaining flour and 2/3 cup brandy. Let the mixer go to work on that.
  • Scoop a depression in the fruit-nut pile and pour batter over it. Mix and knead almost as you would bread.
  • Pack mixture into prepared pans.
  • Place pans in oven with a shallow pan of water below them.
  • Cakes should be done in 3 to 4 hours. After 1 1/2 hours, watch carefully: If edges begin to crisp before top cracks in numerous places, turn down heat and put fresh pan of cool water in oven. When little cracks come across top of cakes, cakes are done.
  • When cool, remove cakes from pans. When cold (or later that night), dab brandy liberally over outside. Wrap each cake separately in wax paper, then aluminum foil. Cover with newspaper. Allow cakes to age in a cool place at least 1 month. The alcohol will evaporate by then, leaving only the bouquet and flavor.

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  1. frankie33
    My mother started making this fruitcake when I was a young girl. I continue to bake this fruitcake and I am 64 years old. Best fruitcake ever. It is wonderfuly moist and the best I have ever had.


I learned to cook from my mom who was an excellent cook and hostess. Reading recipes is my hobby!
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