I'm a fruitcake fan. I can't say that I've enjoyed every piece of fruitcake I've ever tried but I have enjoyed most. Which is my favorite? My mother's of course!
When I was a child there was always fruitcake at Christmas. My dad and my brothers and I all liked fruitcake. I wasn't fond of the nuts and would pick those out. But I loved everything else about fruitcake.
I don't remember ever helping my mother to make fruitcake though I do remember watching her do it. She would always make her holiday fruitcake in October then wrap it in foil and a plastic bag. Finally, she would store it in the attic where it would stay cool until Christmas. My mother said you had to let the fruitcake "age" so that the flavors would blend. My understanding is that the best fruitcakes are aged a couple months to a year. The reason fruitcake doesn't rot while it's aging is because of the low moisture content in it. (Or at least that's what I've heard ;-)
My mom's recipe for fruitcake includes 2 cups of sour cream, so the batter is rich, dense, and creamy. She always liked to use larger pieces of fruit and ground her nuts coarsely. She never bothered to decorate the top of the fruitcake like some folks do. She never iced it either. I know that many fruit cake recipes call for wrapping the cake in cloth soaked in wine or brandy. My mom certainly didn't have anything against spirits but I don't remember her ever using cloth soaked in alcohol to wrap her cakes.
When all of us kids were still living at home my mom used to make one big fruitcake (6 lbs). She would bake it in a ring pan, the kind often used to make angel food cake. After my brothers and I moved out of the house she would make 3, 2-pound loaves using standard loaf pans. Each of my brothers got to take a loaf home with them.
When it came time to serve the fruitcake (on Christmas Eve sometime after dinner), my mom would simply take it out of its wrapping and slice it. How we loved it!
I tried my hand at making my mom's fruitcake this year. I didn't get around to making it until the first week in November so it hasn't aged very long. It's my first try at it... which is my way of saying it didn't come out as good as mom's. I'm thinking I over-beat the batter because the cake didn't rise as much as I expected. It doesn't seem like there's enough fruit in it. And it's more crumbly than I remembered too. But it tastes pretty much like I remember it!
Who wants to try a piece? Of course you'll have to bake it yourself...
[The Advent calendar number graphic used in this post was created by NicNic at the NBK blog.
The kit I used for creating the scrapbook page for the recipe was done by her too. Thanks NicNic!]