Fruitcake. Dark, moist, dense, boozy, studded with colorful ‘funny fruit’, inevitably the brunt of re-gifting jokes. Not this cake, chock full of sunshine raisins, bright maraschino cherries and crunchy walnuts. Nothing funny!
This is the fruitcake I grew up knowing, and never understood the distasteful reputation of fruitcakes. I have a yellowed copy of the recipe my mother clipped probably in the early ‘60’s from Good Housekeeping magazine. She adapted the recipe to a loaf pan from the original bundt to simplify gift-giving, for which there is always a raucous rally of bartering to keep the cake not pass it off at our family gift exchanges! She also swapped some of the natural raisins for goldens to offset a little sweetness and add color. Thanks Mom – we think of you with every fruitcake. 🙂
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Raisin Cherry Holiday Loaf
Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 75 minutes
Makes 2 loaves.
|1||jar (16 oz.) maraschino cherries, drained (about 1 cup)|
|1-1/2||cups natural raisins|
|1-1/2||cups golden raisins|
|1||cup coarsely chopped walnuts|
|2-1/2||cups all-purpose flour, divided use|
|1/2||cup butter, softened|
|1||cup granulated sugar|
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Coat two 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
Cut each cherry in half. Pat cherries completely dry on paper towels. Place cherries, raisins and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss lightly with 1/4 cup of the flour. Set aside.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy in another large bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time.
Gradually beat in remaining flour, mixing until smooth. Gently stir in fruit and nuts. Divide between prepared pans.
Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice in 1/4-inch slices to serve.
Wrap unsliced loaf tightly in foil and plastic wrap and store up to 3 months in refrigerator. Slice thin and serve room temperature.
Recipe adapted by Rosemary Mark for Sun-Maid Growers. Photo by Kelly Burgoyne.
What is a maraschino cherry? A maraschino cherry is a varietal that originated in Croatia. For centuries the fruit was brined then preserved in the maraschino liquor that was distilled from the cherries and pits. Today, Queen Anne or Ranier are used to make the bright red jarred cherries that are first brined in a salt solution to leach the color, then soaked in a colored sugar syrup – FDA approved red, green or other colors – and usually flavored with a little almond.