Nancy Spiller’s Completely Different California Fruit Cake Recipe
- 1 lb. blanched almonds (3 cups)
- ½ lb pecans (2 cups)
- ¼ pound walnuts (1 cup)
- 4 lbs mixed candied fruit
- 1 lb seeded raisins
- 10 oz. dried figs
- 1 lb. pitted dates (2 cups)
- ½ lb. currants
- ½ lb. dried apricots
- ½ lb. dried cherries
- ½ lb. dried blueberries
- ½ lb. dried cranberries
- ½ to 1 cup crystalized ginger (optional)
- 1 glass brandy (½ cup or more, if desired)
- 1 glass jam (8-10 oz., or more, blackberry preferred)
- 4 tsp. Cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Allspice
- 2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1 tsp. Cloves
- 1 lb. butter
- 1 lb. brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 12 eggs
- 1 lb. flour (3 ½ to 4 cups)
- 2 tsps. Salt
- Whole blanched almonds, whole candied cherries for decoration.
- Recipe yields approximately 17 pounds of fruitcake, which can make anywhere from 8 to 10 standard loafs, or a combination of standard and small loaves.
- Chop nuts and fruits (grind dates and figs if you’ve got the equipment, as they’re sticky, or be prepared for more chopping time) and combine. Add brandy, jam and spices; mix well. In a separate bowl cream butter, add sugar, molasses and eggs beaten until foamy, mix thoroughly; add flour and salt and mix to batter consistency. Pour over fruit mixture and combine the two.
- A little more flour may be needed, or a little more brandy. What dough there is should be fairly stiff, not runny.
- Grease pans well, line with heavy waxed, brown or parchment paper. Fill the pans three-fourths full. Decorate with almonds and cherries pressed into tops. Bake in a preheated 275° - 300° oven until a straw or toothpick comes out clean (2-3 hours, depending on size of pans. Be careful not to overbake or burn.) Have a pan of hot water in bottom of oven for moisture during baking.
- When done, turn cakes on racks to cool. Pour a little brandy slowly over the top of each. In 15 minutes invert on waxed paper on racks, remove baking paper and pour more brandy slowly over each one. A warm cake absorbs the liquid better than a cold one. When cold, wrap in cheesecloth, then plastic wrap, and place in air-tight containers.
Nancy Spiller’s memoir, "Compromise Cake: Lessons Learned From My Mother's Recipe Box" is available online and in book stores.