Holiday Fruitcakes – Fresh Tastes by Bev
By Bev Laumann, Author of A Taste of The Good Life: A Cookbook for IC & OAB
You know this old joke about fruitcake, don’t you? There’s only one fruitcake in the country– It just gets passed around from one person to another year after year. Fruitcake, once a holiday tradition in many homes, has slipped from favor and become a national joke. No doubt this unfortunate turn of events was helped along by those peculiar tasting, mealy-textured artificial ingredient-ridden fruitcakes on the market.
Thanks to the sheer awfulness of those commercial products, I stopped eating fruitcake altogether years ago. So when I got IC, I merely had one more reason to avoid them. Fruitcakes after all, have a lot of things in them to irritate an IC bladder: Cloves (which has large amounts of irritating eugenic acid), orange juice, sulfite-preserved and acid-laden candied fruits, bladder-irritating nuts like pecans and walnuts, sometimes cranberries, and many fruitcakes are soaked with histamine rich red wine (often the cheapest kind of wine). Then if they are commercially baked, these fruitcakes are usually preserved with citric acid, benzoates or other preservatives that may flare an IC bladder.
My dad always liked fruitcake though. He remembered how his mother baked them at home and soaked them for a week or so before Christmas with some kind of alcoholic beverage… even during Prohibition. Every Christmas he’d comment on how he missed good fruitcake.
So a couple of years ago I attempted to reconstruct his mother’s fruitcake recipe. No wonder he liked fruitcake… this one is delicious! It’s also made without a lot of the things that irritate IC bladders. This is one fruitcake I can actually eat without a bladder-flare-up! If you too fondly remember good fruitcake, this may be worth a try!
- 1/3 cup molasses (unsulphured, mild)
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/3 cup chopped dates (no sulfites or other preservatives)
- 2/3 cup dried currants (no sulfites or other preservatives)
- 2 cups dried blueberries (no sulfites or other preservatives)
- 2/3 cup dry-roasted cashews (optional)
- 1/4 cup Triple Sec or light rum
- 1/2 tsp. grated fresh lemon peel
- 1 tsp. grated fresh orange peel
- 9-inch loaf pan, (preferably non-stick; or cut parchment to fit bottom)
- 3 Tbsp. dark or light rum to soak cake in after baking (NOT wine or brandy. But vodka can be used in a pinch)
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In one medium bowl place the group 1 ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside. In another medium bowl mix together the group 2 ingredients. Set that aside also. In a third (large size) bowl mix together the group 3 ingredients.
- Pour the butter-molasses mixture (group 1) into the dried fruit mixture (group 3) and stir to coat. Add the dry ingredients (group 2) and mix thoroughly.
- Grease the sides and bottom of a non-stick loaf pan (or grease sides and bottom of a regular pan and place parchment in the bottom). Pour in the batter. Bake at 275 degrees F. for 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. When slightly cooled, run a knife around edges and turn out on a plate. When thoroughly cool, place in an airtight container. Before sealing, pour or brush the rum over the fruitcake. Seal and refrigerate for one week. An hour before serving, remove from refrigerator to warm up but keep covered so it doesn’t dry out. I like to serve the fruit cake warmed (thank goodness for microwaves!) with a hard sauce made with real butter and rum.