What we talk about when we talk about bad fruitcake
December 17, 2010 2:19 PM   Subscribe

I know there are a lot of really good fruitcake recipes out there. I don't want those recipes. Please help me make a "bad" fruitcake.

I want to make "bad" fruitcake, the kind that is butt of every holiday joke. BUT I don't want to make a bad fruitcake. I want to make the fruitcake that has historically been considered bad - even though it might be good - simply because it IS fruitcake. I've searched around looking for a recipe, but most of the recipes I've found are of the "here's a spin on the fruitcake that will have everyone asking for seconds". So, if you have a recipe, for a "bad" fruitcake, please share.
posted by phelixshu to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is from the worst cookbook I have, Recipes From Peggy's Cove, compiled from the hardworking women of a small Nova Scotia fishing village. The book is full of recipes for things like "Clam Whiffle" and "Savory Gems" and "Smothered Rabbit" and "Hobo Dinner," so I imagine this is EXACTLY what you are looking for:

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. almond extract
4 eggs
1 c. brandy and pineapple juice (1/2 c. each)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 2/3 c. flour
2 c. coconut
1 1/2 c. red and green cherries
1 1/2 pineapple pieces (candied or chunks)
1/2 slivered almonds
2 c. light raisins

Cream butter and sugar. Add extract and eggs. Add 1 c. flour and use the remaining flour to coat the fruit. Add remaining ingredients. Bake at 275 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours or until done.
posted by hermitosis at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

The key ingredient to any bad fruitcake is cheap candied fruit in weird little plastic-like brightly-colored cubes. With green and red maraschino cherry halves layered on top. They don't taste as horrible as they look, though.
posted by ldthomps at 2:29 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

yeah, ditto on terrible corn syrup-drenched, fake-tasting candied fruit. Available at any grocery store near the nuts and stuff. They are definitely what people cite when they say they don't like fruitcake. If you ever want to make a good fruitcake, all you need to do is replace it with really good homemade candied fruit, so bonus for efficiency.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2010

I would imagine any fruitcake recipe found in The Joy of Cooking would fit the bill.
posted by mazola at 2:38 PM on December 17, 2010

Here's a modified recipe.
posted by mazola at 2:40 PM on December 17, 2010

Any fruitcake recipe can be made horrible by using the candied fruit available in grocery stores. Use lots of candied citron, not a lot of cherries, but use the green cherries. Also, use cheap artificial flavorings, stale nuts, dry raisins, and bottom-shelf brandy. For true horribleness, put in some dried banana or papaya.

mazola, I resent the implication that my fruitcake is a "bad" fruitcake, just because I use a recipe from JoC. (and my own fruit and nut mix.)
posted by jlkr at 2:52 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

clarification: I simply wanted to say that the JoC recipes are from a certain era and would likely be stereotypical fruitcakes -- the fruitcakes we remember from our youths -- though not actually 'bad'.

I already got in trouble today for things I said about Santa Claus. I don't want another Christmas fight!
posted by mazola at 3:06 PM on December 17, 2010

Pillsbury quick date bread mix and horrific candied fruit from a plastic tub.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:08 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

mazola There was supposed to be a smiley there. I knew what you meant -- there are a couple in JoC that are quite suspect, especially if made using "Olde English Fruitcake Mix"....
posted by jlkr at 4:04 PM on December 17, 2010

Okay, I've got ya covered on this. From the Betty Crocker Cookbook Gramma Hadsall gave me for Christma,1975, "Yellow Fruitcake":
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup orange juice
9 eggs
1 pound candied cherries, cut in half
1 package (about 15 oz.) golden raisins
3/4 pound candied pineapple
1/4 pound candied citron, cut up
1/4 pound candied orange peel, cut up
1 can (4 oz.) flaked coconut
1/2 pound blanched whole almonds
1/2 pound pecan halves

Heat oven to 275 F. Line two 9"x5"x3" loaf pans with aluminum foil; grease. Measure all ingredients except fruits and nuts into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in fruits and nuts. Spread mixture evenly in pans.

Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until a wooden pick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. If necessary, cover with foil for the last hour of baking to prevent excessive browning. Remove from pans; cool. Wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil; store in cool place.

There are other quintessentially "bad" fruit cake recipes following this one, and old-fashioned ones that use more dried fruits than candied ones, but this one seems to contain all those ingredients to which people tend to object, primarily the candied fruit and peels (which I actually love; go figure) (Yes, I have been a gourmet chef; why would you doubt it?). Directions from the beginning of the fruitcake section read "Time to start your fruitcakes? Make them 3 to 4 weeks in advance and let them mellow in their wraps. For a richer flavor, pour wine or brandy over the cake before wrapping, or wrap in wine-dampened cloths and place in a tightly-covered container; store in a cool place. (Decorate and glaze after storing.) Always serve fruitcake thinly-sliced; cut with a non-serrated or electric knife."

Later, Betty gives a couple glazes for fruitcakes: Apple jelly glaze--heat 1/4 cup apple or currant jelly over low heat until smooth, stirring occasionally -and- Sweet glaze--Heat 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 1 tablespoon water just to rolling boil. cool to lukewarm. She suggests that "To add a sheen of sweetness," one should "pour a thin glaze over [one's] favorite fruitcake before or after storing." (This doesn't sound like very much glaze, TBH, not for two loaf-sized cakes . . .)

This is so 1970s America's Heartland, I can hardly stand it. Notice that the actual recipe doesn't call for any booze, so one could simply ignore it, and if one did decide to get WILD, the instructions for applying the aforementioned alcoholic beverage would just barely give a hint of booziness to the proceedings--really, one should wrap the fuckers in cheesecloth and gently ply them with good brandy or rum every couple days/once a week for the 3 to 4 weeks leading up to The Event. But that would so not be "bad" fruitcake. It even stops looking so much like the "bad" kind because the garish colors darken and begin to blend together.

Man, I hope Mom's got her fruitcakes rolling; one of my bros was supposed to go over the day after Thanksgiving to help her stir the batter . . .

Oh, and I have never had fruitcake with coconut in it; that's crazy talk; add more cherries! Green ones! Heh.
posted by miss patrish at 4:08 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, you can make any fruitcake recipe worse by removing the alcohol (if any). If the fruitcake recipe originally had no alcohol, it's probably a bad fruitcake.
posted by mhum at 4:43 PM on December 17, 2010

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