Nana’s Fruitcake

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pound raisins
  • ½ pound chopped figs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 1 pound chopped walnuts or other nuts, toasted if desired, plus intact nuts or nut halves for decorating (if desired)
  • 1 pound mixed candied fruit
  • 8 ounces maraschino cherries, drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • brandy or rum to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease three small (4½-inch by 7½-inch) loaf pans. Line with baking parchment and grease the parchment. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder,baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice together three times. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot set over medium-low heat, combine the raisins, figs, water, and sugar. Add the butter and cook, stirring until melted. Stir the flour mixture into the mixture in the pot. Stir in the nuts, candied fruit, and cherries (saving nine cherries from the jar).
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add brandy (or rum) to taste (about 1/2 cup should do it). Cook, stirring, until the mixture is bubbling gently.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans. Level the tops with an offset spatula. Decorate with the cherries and nuts, if desired, and bake for 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 hours, or until a tester inserted into the middle of a loaf comes out clean.
  6. Place on wire racks to cool, then invert each loaf to remove it from the pan. Peel off the baking parchment and turn the loaves upright. Using a metal or bamboo skewer, poke a few holes in the loaf and drizzle in some additional liquor.
  7. Dip cheesecloth lightly into the liquor (it should be damp, not wet) and wrap each loaf. Place in an airtight container (a plastic food storage bag works fine). Store for at least a month or more, unwrapping and adding brandy (or rum) on occasion (about once a week).
  8. For long-term storage, experts say to store the cheesecloth-wrapped loaves in a tin of confectioner’s sugar.

Marialisa Calta, “The delectable, indestructible fruitcake,” Catholic Digest, December 2008

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