Signature Dish of Christine Dabney

California Fruit Cake

Recipe By :Chris's Grandmother

2 cups dried sliced apricots -- boil 1 minute in thin syrup:1/2 cup sugar to 1 cup water: cool and dry
1 cup dried figs -- cut small
2 cups white raisins
1 1/3 cups dark raisins
2/3 cup dried cherries or maraschino cherries -- cut small. Marinate dried cherries in Kirsch
2/3 cup orange peel -- cut small
2/3 cup lemon peel -- cut small
2/3 cup citron -- cut small
1 to 2 cups broken nut meats -- preferably pecans
24 cubes pineapple -- cut in 1/4's and drained well
4 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons corn syrup
5 eggs -- well beaten
1 1/3 cups fruit juices -- use syrup from apricots, plus pineapple juice, plus whatever juices you have

Dust fruit mixture with some of the flour and set aside covered until ready to add to batter. It is even better if the fruit is left overnight like this. Mix remaining flour and dry ingredients (minus the sugar) and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the corn syrup and beat well, then mix in well beaten eggs. Add the flour mixture alternately with the mixed fruit juices, beating well between each addition. Then add fruits, mixing well past each addition. Pour into prepared pans*.

Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 275 degrees. If you have used 2 tube pans, continue baking for another 2 hours. If you have used 1 large angel food pan, bake for 5 hours longer. When done, cool completely in the pans. Remove cakes from the pans when cool, but leave paper on the cakes until ready to serve. Wrap and store.

* Use two 9"by 3" tube pans or one large angel food cake pan. Line sides with greased brown paper: I use brown paper bags. Fill pans 1/2 to 2/3 full.

NOTES : This recipe came down from my grandmother through my mother. I have changed a few things from the original. The original called for maraschino cherries but since dried cherries have become so widely available, I have begun using those. I marinate them in Kirsch for several hours.

I have contemplated adding dried plums or adding another dried dried nectarines. The apricots add a lovely tartness to it...that redeems it from being totally sweet. I think another tart dried fruit would do well too.

I have also contemplated using dried pineapple for the canned pineapple chunks. Haven't done it yet, but if someone wants to try it before I make this next, I would be interested in seeing what happens.

The juices I tend to add now, are fruit nectars. Like apricot nectar, peach nectar..something like that.

If you want to soak this fruitcake afterwards, I would not go for a heavy spirit. Something lighter would seem more appropriate, like sherry. This is NOT a dark fruitcake, and as such, seems to call out for lighter flavors.

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