You know that fruit cake that comes in the box and everyone hates it, because it's like a brick and tastes really weird? Well, this is definitely NOT that fruit cake. This is my Aunt Tootsie's recipe for fruit cake that she has made for years for friends and relatives. Now, I will be honest, I am not the biggest fan of most fruit cakes, but this fruit cake is truly delicious. It doesn't taste at all like the ones people hate! It's like there are two very different fruit cake worlds...one is gross and one is wonderful. I just don't see how they got to be so different!
Aunt Tootsie, and yes that is her name, or the name she has been called all of her life, is not my mother's sister this time, but my father's sister. I know you all think I make these names up in my family, but I don't. I mean who could, really...lol? Aunt Tootsie lives in the deep South, about as far south as one can go. She has lived in southern Mississippi most of her life, having moved there from Kentucky right after she married. I always loved visiting down there and I found the people to be a lot like those in Kentucky. The food is also very similar, with just a few obvious differences. They eat a lot of rice and grits in Mississippi and we eat a lot of potatoes.
The first time my aunt served us a nice roast beef with gravy and a big ole bowl of white rice, I was a bit confused. They started taking that rice out and spooning that roast beef gravy over it and I looked at Mama like "what in the world are they doing"? Mama gave me that look that said..."Don't you say a word"! My aunt picked up on it though, because she explained that down there they serve rice with beef and gravy instead of mashed potatoes. She said she didn't get it either when she first moved down there, but just try it and see if you like it. We did like it and Mama started serving it that way sometimes at home. Red beans and rice was another dish we learned to eat at Aunt Tootsie's, well, some of us did!
Aunt Tootsie is quite a story teller and can really make a story interesting. It's a trait that runs in Daddy's family. I don't know that Aunt Tootsie 'embellishes' a story quite as much as Daddy does or can, but she likes to tell a good story...about most everything. She is the type of relative you can be away from for years and not see, but when you see her again, it's like you were never apart. She is always the same. She's Aunt Tootsie and there will never be another quite like her!
Here is what you will need to make her famous fruit cake:
1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup orange juice
1 additional cup flour
1 cup candied pineapple
1 cup red candied cherries
1 cup green candied cherries
1 cup raisins (we used the golden raisins)
1 cup chopped dates or figs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup whole pecans
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, brown sugar, and eggs. Beat for about 2 minutes. In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
Mix the orange juice and 1 additional cup of flour together in a separate bowl. Stir the flour and the orange juice/flour mixture alternately into the oil and egg mixture until it is all combined.
Place all of the fruits and nuts in a large mixing bowl and pour the batter over it all. Mix to combine well.
Prepare two 9"x5" loaf pans by lining them with parchment or wax paper. Line the bottom and up the sides. Spray the paper well with nonstick baking spray, preferably the type with flour like Baker's Joy. You can also grease the paper. Don't skip the paper step, because this cake will stick with all of this fruit in it and it's also very moist! Pour the batter evenly between the two pans.
Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven. Don't skip this step, because it keeps the cakes from cracking on top. Bake cakes for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. All ovens bake differently, but ours took only 2 1/2 hours. Insert a pick into the center and it should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cook for about 15 minutes before turning out.
Allow to cool completely before removing the paper from the cakes. You can wrap these tight in foil until ready to serve. They can be baked several days ahead of the holidays and wrapped and refrigerate also. The actually get moister.
Or slice and serve immediately!