Not a ‘Funny Fruit’ Cake

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!

Original clipping.

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.  🙂

Print This Recipe
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
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs

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. Cake slices easier when chilled. 
To store: Wrap un-sliced loaf tightly in foil and plastic wrap and store up to 3 months in refrigerator. Slice thin and serve cold or room temperature.

Recipe adapted  by Rosemary Mark for Sun-Maid Growers.  Photo by Kelly Burgoyne.

Food Trivia
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.

12 thoughts on “Not a ‘Funny Fruit’ Cake”

    • Dianne –
      My mom didn’t care for liquor so that may be why she was attracted to this recipe. I think the cherries lend a touch of boozy flavor and the alcohol isn’t missed.
      I enjoy your stories of ‘yellowed’ recipes clippings too!

  • Dear Rosie, So happy to get your Mom’s recipe for fruit cake.. I’m going to make a half recipe.
    It tugged at my heart to read about it. Love amd Merry Christmas. D.

    • Dorothy – you probably remember Mom making her fruitcake in the early years! I know you’ll enjoy it with sweet memories.

  • I too, have always enjoyed fruitcake. Just a few bites are so satisfying and fruitcake lasts for months. Have you ever tried this in 4 or 6 mini loaf pans? That way I can keep one for myself and share the others. You can’t re-gift a tiny fruit cake!
    Years ago, I did a holiday public relations campaign for Dromedary dates. I interviewed and received fruit cake recipes from Carolyn Wente (Wente Brothers Winery), Flo Braker (professional baker, cookbook author), John Phillip Carroll (cookbook author), and Victoria Sebastiani (Viansa Winery). Next holiday season, I’ll share their recipes with our blog visitors.

    • I often make the mini loaf pans. Just reduce the baking time to about 45 minutes. Do I have to wait until next year for your ‘celebrity’ fruitcake recipes?

  • thanks for sharing this recipe for the fruitcake. I have my mother’s copy of that pink clipping and we bake it every year. No other fruitcake compares.

    • Judy – I’m so delighted to hear that you are familiar with this fruitcake recipe! I think it’s a unique one, and as I mentioned, many people think they don’t like fruitcake until they try ‘our’s! Thanks for letting me know.

  • I tried this recipe found under Sunmaid raisin recipes and it came out hard and dry . I even took it out of the oven 15 minutes early. What did I do wrong? The batter was very thick and had to be spread into the pans. The recipe I remembered making in the eighties was moist and dark. Please help.

    • Sharon – thank you for writing. The batter is very thick though slightly wet, and has to be spread in the pans. Did you use metal or glass pans? Two appx. 9×5-inch pans? The oven temperature is only 300F which allows for the long bake time. Sometimes I’ve baked only about 65 minutes. I’m wondering if perhaps you set the oven to 350F which is more common for baked goods. The only other thing I can think of is if the flour was scooped into the cups causing over-measuring, rather than spooning into the cups and leveling. This cake does not bake up dark, so perhaps you’re remembering a different recipe? This cake is dense with fruit and nuts, and the cake is firm and dense but I wouldn’t consider it unpleasantly hard and dry. Please let me know answers to the above, and I really hope we can solve this so you can find a recipe you enjoy!

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