I don't celebrate Christmas but I do love Christmas fruitcake. You know, the kind everyone makes fun of and laughs about.
So sue me. I like fruitcake. The kind that those in the know bake around Thanksgiving time, wrap in cheesecloth and soak in booze so it will mellow and be ready at Christmas.
My friend Vaughan Mitchell, z"l gave me one of the best fruitcake recipes ever. It was one of his family treasured recipes, from his Grandmother Sue. He and I used to tinker with her recipe every year, add a little of this or that, change the alcohol, add a new fruit or something and then exchange our yearly version every December.
I miss him, our correspondence and the fruitcakes.
I don't make fruitcake anymore because, with the exception of my son-in-law Greg, I am the only person who eats it.
So this year I decided that, rather than make a fruitcake for just two of us, I would use the best of what I love about fruitcake -- the dried and candied fruit and the booze -- and combine it with banana bread, which everyone likes. And I'll see how it all goes down.
Here's the recipe. The only problem is that I can't eat it because I am allergic to bananas.
So maybe next year maybe I will bake a half recipe of my standard fruitcake plus this.
Banana Fruit cake
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large very ripe bananas, mashed
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups diced dried and/or candied fruit
- bourbon or brandy, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (8-cup) bundt pan. Mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the shortening and sugar until well blended. Add the bananas and blend in thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat well. Add the flour mixture and beat until batter is well blended. Fold in the dried/candied fruit. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, if desired, brush the surface with 2-3 tablespoons of bourbon or brandy. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a cake rack to cool completely.
Makes one cake, serving 16-18