It’s Fruitcake Weather . . .

Not your old dried fruitcake with dried candied citrus.

I’m thinking of those old hangover memories from many long years ago when people still consumed fruitcakes, largely homemade and a gift signifying abundance for everyone who receives it. And when I read the book, A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, it increased my love of the tasty treat.

So for several years now, I have adopted the philosophy that fruitcake is indeed a sacred treat and must be treated as such. Therefore, it is a treat that requires special ingredients and the timing must be well-thought-out to have it ready at just the right time. When you make a fruitcake, you cannot just throw the ingredients together. You must go out and gather the ingredients in the most meaningful ways you can, and you also should not be afraid to experiment with the ingredients. And in the end result, your fruitcake needs to be like a cake and not a bowl of soup.

Here is a recipe for one of the special fruitcakes I have made for this special time. It is from my book, Pumpkin, Pumpkin: Folklore, History, Growing Hints and Good Eating, 3rd Edition. The book actually contains a whole lot more than what the title implies, but it could have filled up the cover with the title, so I have kept it shorter intentionally.

Pumpkin Fruitcake

1 c. canned pumpkin; 4 c. all-purpose flour; 1 c. buttermilk; 4 eggs; 1 c. brown sugar OR 1/2 c. brown sugar & 1/2 c. molasses; zest of one lemon and one orange; liquor of choice for soaking fruit

Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange; Enough rum, brandy or liquor of choice mixed with juice of the lemon and orange, to cover the fruit; 1 1/2 c. pecans or walnuts (I like the whole halves or 1/4ths, but you might want to chop yours up more except for some halves for the top); 4 c. mixed dried fruit (dried apples, apricots, pineapple, cranberries, raisins, figs, dates or any combination you like); 1 tsp. baking powder; 1/2 tsp. baking soda; 1 tsp. ea. cinnamon, allspice, ginger (I add other spices as they occur to me by my choice – the recipe will not fail if you do not use others); salt (salt is very personal and will not make a difference whether you use it or not; if you have ever experimented with salt, you will know how this works).

Put all dried fruit into a bowl and cover it with a mixture of orange juice and rum or brandy, etc. to your taste. You need enough of the liquor to cover the fruit. Soak for at least 24 hours. I always add the liquor to what feels right to me personally. Remember that you are going to keep this cake in a tin until nearly Christmas (if you can do that), so you can add more along the way to make it better.

Preheat oven to 350o. To make the cake, mix all dry ingredients, and then add the pumpkin, eggs, and buttermilk. When mixture is consistently blended, pour in the rum soaked fruits.

Bake about 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. This cake can sit out, covered in a lidded tin container, and it will just keep getting better.

For me, the making of the fruitcake comes from the line in the book uttered by one of his beloved relatives, “It’s fruitcake weather.” It is how I love to celebrate my autumn. I hope you will find some good ways to celebrate yours as well.

21 thoughts on “It’s Fruitcake Weather . . .

  1. You are very welcome, Wendi. Yes, I love to try switching things around. I suspect there are other pumpkin fruitcake recipes around now, but I like mine because I make it special by how I think of it. Happy autumn!

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    1. That sounds absolutely delicious, and I LOVE the idea of adding cheese. Never thought of that and it could be lovely! Durn it, I wrote the best response I have thought of for awhile to stuart’s latest post, and I thought it had been sent, so I closed it and it had not been saved. I am not sure I can duplicate it, but I will try. Happy autumn and honestly, I am so missing my lessons, but I need to focus to really learn anything, and right now I have so much to deal with trying to figure out what to do if Richard needs a 3rd surgery to correct what is right now, and also at the same time dealing with my law case I am trying to do against the owners of this park. I will not take the title now because we have been besieged by rats, possums, skunks and racoons since the owners have failed to do any maintenance to this park that really matters. I still am doing better than my neighbors whom I am very concerned about – their roofs have both leaked since last winter and not still been fixed, and one is having to use buckets throughout the mobile home to stop the leaks. I don’t usually like to be involved in doing things like this, but we all have limits, and it is good for me to fight for something I believe is wrong again.

      Hopefully I can start back on my 2nd year studies soon. Luckily the posts have been really wonderful and have given me a lot to think about. And I still do my meditations to help me every day and it really does. While the stress is still here, I have been handling a lot more things much better now and that is definitely good. Thank you so kindly for keeping in touch. And for your fantastic writing of the articles. I really LOVE your writing!!! I love everyone’s on The Silent Eye, but I love yours for its beauty and special touch. Thank you kindly.

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      1. Thank you, Anne. Do try fruitcake with cheese. It is a meal in itself 😉
        I do understand what you are going through at the moment and hope you can resolve all the problems. Looking forward to having you back with us 🙂

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  2. For me it means cup. I think, unless there is someplace I screwed up trying to get all the ingredients one line below the other. In WordPress, when you are doing lines, I cannot figure out how to make all the lines next to each other without doing the semi-colons after each ingredient. What a pain. The recipe seems to be OK, but if you find something with no ingredient after c. or right before, let me know and I will kook again to find it. Thanks so much Roberta. Tonight is not my night for using the computer.

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  3. You are so welcome, Jennie. The children might have fun getting ready to make a small fruitcake (without the baking end of it, which one of the moms could do, and of course without any liquor and fairly easy ingredients. Also, if the moms helped, any whose children would know if their children had allergies to nuts. Usually only peanuts are the culprits, but say big pieces of walnut or pecan (my fave) could be set on top and children could help decorate the cake with the maraschino cherries and perhaps half slices of pineapple. You might have a nice story that you could read to them that sort of goes with it. Probably A Christmas Memory is too old for them. I think instead of a cake, you could make fruit cupcakes and they could get the idea of making them to give to special people (perhaps one person each) or I wonder if they could visit a home for the elderly and take them fruit cupcakes. How happy that might make them. Another thing would be to make some easy tree or house decorations for Christmas. Pinterest has a lot of good ideas. Hugs and blessings always, Anne

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  4. For me, a big part of it is having a tradition that goes with the holiday. That makes the holidays special and I know when I was on my own and didn’t have anyone to celebrate with, that made a huge difference. Hugs, Anne

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