Weekly Tips for an Enchanted Lifestyle!
THIS WEEK - Magical Fruitcake
How do you like your fruitcake? I like mine with a lump of crumbly cheese (a suggestion I got from the All Creatures Great and Small books by James Herriot). But maybe you like yours with butter or cream cheese, or maybe just plain or with a cup of tea. Or maybe, like a lot of people, you like it “not at all.”
And I get it. I know the jokes about fruitcake. Dry, horrible tasting stuff that people endlessly gift and re-gift but no one really likes. And yet, if I don’t make a big batch once a year, there will be a great sadness in my family circle. You see, Sloan Applesauce Fruitcake has a dedicated following. We started with a recipe my late mother-in-law cut out of a newspaper. As years went by, we tinkered until we got it just right. We replaced the lard with vegetable oil, and the candied peel with dried fruit simmered in orange juice. I’ll admit fruitcake isn’t for everyone, but I’ve been surprised at the fans this recipe has earned.
We even make an option for people who don’t like fruitcake. You see, when my kitchen helper/batter taster was little, she liked the batter so much (before the fruit went in), that we decided to make some without it. And our Apple Spice Muffins were created. Now we make some with each batch of fruitcake.
So if you don’t like fruitcake but wish you did, or think you might like fruitcake if it…you know…tasted good, give this recipe a try. I might have another convert on my hands!
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup hot water
4 t. baking soda (dissolved in the hot water)
4 cups flour
1 cup raisins
½ cup currants
½ packet of dried mixed berries or dried cranberries
½ cup dried apricots (chopped)
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. cloves
1/4 t. salt
Put all dried fruit into saucepan and cover with orange juice. (The dried fruit type and amount is very flexible. Use what you like! But if you use dates, I don’t recommend simmering them in the orange juice. Just add them at the end.) Simmer on low while you mix the rest of the batter, cooking out a lot of the liquid.
Mix flour, salt, and spices in one bowl. In another bowl, mix sugar and wet ingredients, then blend the wet and dry. At this stage, batter can be used for apple spice muffins. (Fill greased muffin tins with batter and bake for 20 minutes in 350 degree oven. I usually make 12 muffins and make fruitcake with the remaining batter.)
Add fruit and orange juice to batter. Grease and flour loaf pans and add batter. This recipe makes 3 full sized loaves (1 full-sized loaf=2 mini loaves or 12 muffins). After filling pans with batter, line edges with foil. Bake 45 minutes for mini loaves, 60 or more minutes for full-sized loaves.
Lissa Sloan is the author of Glass and Feathers, a dark continuation of the traditional Cinderella tale. Her fairy tale poems and short stories appear in The Fairy Tale Magazine, Niteblade Magazine, Corvid Queen, and anthologies from World Weaver Press. Glass and Feathers appeared as a serial in The Fairy Tale Magazine this spring. Print and ebook release from The Enchanted Press will be in 2024. Visit Lissa online at lissasloan.com, or connect on Instagram, @lissa_sloan, or Twitter, @LissaSloan.