Nevertheless, before every holiday season, my dad makes between two and three dozen of them to give away to all their family and friends. Being the stalwart Scots that we are, we fight over who deserves a whole cake and who gets only a slice.
You can’t be ambivalent about fruit cake. You either love it or you hate it. And I can promise you that this is not the leaden, dry, horribly frosted version that you hate. This is the ooey-gooey sticky sweet and moist brick of goodness that you will LOVE. Guaranteed.
Keep in mind that this recipe is easy to make. Especially if you make several dozen. However, you have to start your preparations the day before and baking time can take up to four hours for large cakes. Not to mention that you can’t eat them right away — these cakes need a spell before they’re good to eat. These ones here are from back in 2007. They should be super excellent now.
Day the First:
In a large bowl, measure in 1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds (blanched is key because the skin is bitter), 2 cups dark raisins, 2 cups light raisins, 1 cup currants, 2 1/2 cups chopped dates, and 2 1/2 cups candied citron peel. My dad says that when making several batches it helps to bring a measuring cup to the health food or bulk store and measure what you need right into the bag so you don’t have to worry about having any leftover.
Let the pineapple cool, and then stir in 1/2 cup reserved cherry juice. Stir in as well 1 cup strawberry jam (the more all-natural, the better). This doesn’t necessarily need to be done the day before, but it has to be cool before you add it to the cake batter.
Day the Second:
Preheat your oven to 275°F. Butter your pans (we use four regular-sized loaf pans) and line them with parchment paper.The knob on our oven is positioned badly so we take the knob off in order not to hit it accidentally. And yes, we probably should clean our oven more often.
Add about a cup of the flour mixture to the fruit and nuts and toss until the bits are all covered. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom when you mix them in the batter. Set the rest of the flour aside for now.
Bake in your oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, for the larger cakes. Smaller cakes might be done in about 3 hours. If you have a fast oven you might want to lay a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top to prevent them from drying out in the last hour or so.
Now you do your wrapping.
The cakes will make good eating in about three weeks, just in time for the holidays.