This recipe was Dave and my wedding cake. We made it in my Grandma's kitchen under her supervision, the same way my parents had made theirs 28 years previously – probably even using the same pans. There was a lot of love baked into that cake, and I hear my Grandma's coaching voice every time I use this recipe. It's a dense, rich, wonderful fruitcake.
I highly recommend you make and freeze 4–6 weeks or so before you want to start serving it because it gets so much better over time. This recipe makes a lot of cake, so you may want to half it. Half was enough for our smallish 3-tiered wedding cake. This time around, I made the full amount, and I had to use my large pressure canner as the mixing bowl.
*Oh, I should probably mention – since Grandma always did when someone tried to give her credit for this recipe – that the original was Grandma's sister-in-law's mother's recipe. Mrs Manion, wherever you are, we thank you.
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 tsp each cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice
- 8 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups butter
- 2 cups molasses
- 10 eggs
- 2 cups sweet milk (2%)
- 2 lbs currants
- 1 lb walnuts, chopped
- 1 lb dates, chopped
- 3 lbs raisins
- 1 lb mixed peel (my Grandma didn't use so I don't either, but you might love it)
- 1 lb glace cherries, red and green, chopped
- Canola spray
- If you're me, a rag-tag bunch of loaf or cake pans
- Mix sugar, flour, spices, and soda. Cut in butter and mix well.
- Add molasses and mix well. (If you lightly grease your measuring cup with canola before putting the molasses in it, it will pour our out so much more easily without having to scrape.)
- Add milk and mix well. That voice you hear in your head might be my Grandma telling you to mix a little more because she can tell your arm is getting tired, but you shouldn't stop quite yet.
- Add eggs and mix well. If you get your batter all well-mixed before you start adding your chunky ingredients, it is so much easier!
- Add all the fruits and nuts and, you guessed it, mix well. Careful you don't break your wooden spoon (the voice is mine this time, speaking from experience); this batter is heavy!
- Grease/spray your pans and fill with batter. Leave some room for the cake to rise. Allow to stand overnight in cake tins. Grandma said doing this makes the cakes not so apt to fall.
- Several hours later, bake at 300F or 280F for longer. The original recipe, which assumes you are using very large pans for a wedding cake, says bake for 3–4 hours. My mini loaf pans were done in 45 mins, and the others took from 1 hour and 35 minutes to 2 hours and 5 minutes. The key is to check for doneness with a toothpick.
- Let them cool thoroughly on baking racks before removing them from the pans. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil for freezing. They'll keep beautifully for months, even years.