My Grams made Bourbon fruitcake every year! I never understood why peoples faces would glaze over at the mere mention of fruitcake!
Then I tried someone else’s fruitcake… oh… that’s why. It wasn’t Grams!
She would spend weeks getting it just right. We started two to three weeks before Christmas. She would make the batter and I got to stir in the candied fruits and nuts. The candied fruits reminded me of little jewels. I have to admit several of the candy cherries would disappear. I’m not telling where they went… but they were delicious!
This is a dryer cake. It’s like that because every week, Grams would pour a bit of bourbon on each cake she made. Usually she made smaller, individual loaves to give to friends and neighbors. I believe the more she liked them, the heavier her hand got with the bourbon LOL!
You can make this recipe in a regular loaf pan, a bundt pan, muffin tins, a pullman pan, honestly whatever shape you’d like to serve or give is just fine. It’s a forgiving recipe. It does cook in a very low oven: 275° to be exact. Best to use a skewer to make sure the middle is done.
I’ve created a follow along video so you can see how to get the egg whites whipped to the “stiff but dry” consistency and to share a few memories as I was preparing her recipe after all these years. Typical of some family recipes, she left a few things out, like how many times she would douse the cakes with bourbon (and how much) but Gigi told me it was once a week and really it’s just a small amount that you’d pour over each time. You certainly don’t want to make the cakes mushy!. The addition of the bourbon to this cake is magic!
If you don't like fruitcake, this recipe could change your mind!
- 2 cups candied fruits
- 2 cups golden raisins
- 3 cups bourbon
- 8 eggs separated slightly beat the yolks
- 2 cups softened butter
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 4 cups pecans
In a lidded bowl, combine candied fruit, raisins and bourbon. Let sit overnight.
Grease and flour: 3 or 4 9x5x3" loaf pans or 8 or 9 5" mini loaf pans. Pans are approximate depending on how much you fill them. This cake does rise a bit.
Drain bourbon from fruit and set liquid aside
Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry (explained in the video). Set aside.
Cream together butter and both sugars. Add slightly beaten egg yolks, reserved bourbon and all dry ingredients. Mix well.
Ladle batter into prepared pans. Bake the 9x5x3" pans for approximately 2 hours. Bake the 6" mini pans for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Using a wooden skewer, test middle of the loaves for doneness.
Remove cake from the pans and set on a wire rack to cool. They MUST be entirely cool before the next step.
Using a lidded plastic storage container, place loaves in container and pour a small amount of bourbon over each loaf. Place lid on the container. Once a week open the container and pour a bit more bourbon over each loaf. *This step is up to you. It's certainly what made Grams cakes so special!
*If you don't care for alcohol you can make a simple syrup and add a rum flavoring (I've never seen a bourbon flavoring). You could try a vanilla/almond flavoring in the simple syrup as well.
The cake is great on it's own but it's also delicious warmed a bit in the oven and served with fresh homemade whipped cream on top!
What’s your favorite holiday family recipe?
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