What do you do with leftover cranberry sauce after the turkey is gone? Cranberry sauce…
Fruitcake. If you’re not a fan of the dark, moist, dense, boozy, colorful ‘funny fruit’ studded fruitcake, let this be your game-changer. Bright maraschino cherries (hey, a little holiday color!), add their distinctive cherry-almond flavor, balanced with lots of raisins and walnuts. It’s all wrapped in a buttery vanilla cake.
This is the fruitcake I grew up with and never understood the distasteful reputation of fruitcakes. The type made with unidentified glace fruits. I still have my mom’s yellowed recipe clipping, probably from an early 1960’s Good Housekeeping magazine. As a Jewish girl who adopted Christianity when she married Dad, Mom became renowned amongst family and friends for her Christmas baking. She revised this recipe to a loaf from the original Bundt cake to simplify gifting and swapped some of the dark raisins for goldens. Now it’s prettier than the original recipe and I think more flavorful. At family gift exchange parties there was always a raucous rally of bartering to keep the cake not to pass it off! Thanks Mom – we think of you with every fruitcake.
Serve the cake thinly sliced –those cherries will brighten your holiday tray. 🙂 Or enjoy with afternoon tea, or even a sweet breakfast treat. Wrapped and refrigerated, the cake keeps for several months. I bet you won’t have it that long!
Raisin Cherry Fruitcake
Raisin Cherry Fruitcake
- 1 jar 16 ounces stemmed maraschino cherries, drained (generous 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups (225g) natural raisins appx 150g/cup
- 1 1/2 cups (225g) golden raisins appx 150g/cup
- 1 cup (100g) coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour, divided use If cup measuring, fluff the flour then spoon into cup and level with a knife. I use 120g/cup
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) (113g) salted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 300ºF. Coat two 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
- Cut each cherry in half. Pat cherries completely dry on paper towels. Place cherries, raisins and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss lightly with 1/4 cup of the flour. Set aside.
- Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy in another large bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Gradually beat in remaining flour, mixing until smooth. Gently combine batter with fruit and nuts. Mixture will be very stiff.
- Divide between prepared pans. Pans will be about 1/2 full.
- Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Edges will be well browned with lighter color top. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Slice in 1/4-inch slices to serve. Cake slices easier when chilled.
- To store: Wrap un-sliced loaf tightly in foil and plastic wrap or bag and refrigerate. Best served within 3 months. Slice thin and serve cold or room temperature.
What is a maraschino cherry? A maraschino cherry is a varietal that originated in Croatia. For centuries the fruit was brined then preserved in the maraschino liquor that was distilled from the cherries and pits. Today, Queen Anne or Ranier are used to make the bright red jarred cherries that are first brined in a salt solution to leach the color, then soaked in a colored sugar syrup – FDA approved red, green or other colors – and usually flavored with a little almond.