Now that we have Thanksgiving behind us, let’s get the holiday baking off and running! Many people start their holiday baking right about now and to me, this is when baking is the most fun. It’s even more fun when you have someone in the kitchen with you, getting in on the preparation!
Yesterday, I shared a a recipe for “Dark Fruitcake”, which is a traditional cake to serve at Christmas. Today, I have another fruitcake to share with you that’s quite different from the one I shared yesterday. This one is packed full of lemon flavoring, so you’d best like lemon extract to try this one! The recipe, appropriately titled “Lemon Fruit Cake”, uses candied fruits, but not the mixed fruits as most fruitcake recipes call for.
I received this recipe from a good friend, who got it from her stepmother. She originally balked at trying this fruitcake, but once she tried it, she said that it will cause you to forget all the other fruitcakes you’ve tried! I wasn’t sure about myself, but I found her to be correct in that it IS wonderful!
This one uses candied cherries and pineapple, as well as pecans. Many people dislike fruitcake due to the citron or candied fruit peels. Some like fruitcake only if it contains candied cherries, pineapple and nuts. Therefore, unless you don’t care for lemon extract, this is the very fruitcake for you!
I’d like to forewarn you that this is not an inexpensive cake to make. Personally, I’ve found this cake to be so good, it’s worth every cent you invest! You’ll notice that this recipe calls for large amounts of ingredients. First, this recipe calls for an entire pound of butter or margarine. You’ll also see that it takes an entire box of brown sugar, as well as four cups of flour. This makes a large cake, so these amounts are correct. You’ll also see that it calls for 2 ounces of lemon extract. This is a lot of lemon extract, but it is a correct measurement. Finally, it also calls for 1 quart of chopped pecans. If you aren’t big on nuts in fruitcake, feel free to cut back on this amount.
One note about the eggs: the original recipe calls for the eggs to be separated. The yolks go directly into the creamed butter and sugar and the whites are beaten separately and folded in. To save time, the friend who gave me the recipe stated that she made this cake once when she was short on time and just added the whole eggs rather than beating them separately and it still turns out fine. I’ve done this before also and it does work fine, so choose whichever way you prefer.
The batter can be divided into two loaf pans instead of one large cake, if you wanted to. One can be shared with someone for a gift and the other enjoyed by your family. It also freezes well, so you could make this in advance, wrap it well and freeze it.
In making the cake, it’s interesting that you mix the batter, place it in the pan, then refrigerate it overnight. The only reason I can come up with as to why you do this step is to let the lemon extract permeate the fruits and nuts. This is actually a handy trick, because as busy as we get at the holidays, you can mix it today and bake it tomorrow!
If you happened to miss the recipe for the “Dark Fruitcake” I gave yesterday, here’s the link so you can get it:
If you’re not a fan of fruitcake but enjoy chocolate, try your hand at this recipe for “Chocolate Hazelnut Bark”, which will make a great Christmas candy! Here’s the link to the recipe:
If you’re hesitant about trying this fruitcake, but you like lemon extract, candied cherries and pineapple and nuts, give it a try and see why it’s become a tradition with many!
- 1 lb. butter or margarine (4 sticks), softened
- 1 lb. box light brown sugar
- 6 eggs, separated (see note below)
- 2 ounces lemon extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour OR cake flour
- 1/2 lb. (8 oz.) candied cherries
- 1/2 lb. (8 oz.) candied pineapple
- 1 quart chopped pecans (may use less, if desired, according to personal taste)
In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft. Gradually add the brown sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat again. Add lemon extract. Gradually add 2 cups of the flour. In another large bowl, combine the candied fruits and nuts with the remaining 2 cups of flour. Fold into the cake batter. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Turn into a greased and floured tube pan or two greased and floured 9×5 inch loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours or until cake tests done in the center. Loosen sides of cake with a knife or rubber spatula before turning out. Yield: 1 large tube cake or 2 9×5 inch loaves.
Note: If desired, the eggs may be left whole and added one at a time to the creamed butter and sugar instead of separating them.