Friday, November 16, 2018


We woke up to a blanket of white this morning which, while very pretty, is early for snow in my books. I knew it was coming so last evening I scampered to get the urn for the back deck pulled together (whew!). It did get me into the holiday spirit a bit though. What to do? Why, make Christmas cake of course!

I have never made Christmas cake but in my book it is a wonderful tradition (I can hear a few of you gasping), the ideal sweet to enjoy with a cup of tea that can be savoured long after all the decorations are put away.

Since mom passed away I haven't been able to enjoy that treat and I miss it dearly so this fall I went on a hunt for the recipe. I searched high and low, finding versions that included the ingredients but no instructions then finally instructions but no baking details. Close enough - I could glean how to bake them from other recipes that I had found online.

fruit for Christmas cake: QuiltBee
I remember mom making her cake - the huge bowl of fruit and nuts all mixed together, the loaf pans stacked in her roast pan going into the oven - but I didn't pay quite enough attention to the process; despite that I just had to give it a shot. I'm so glad that I did. As soon as the fruit and nuts were all mixed together I was transported back to my childhood.

This is a HUGE recipe (12 eggs!) and pretty soon I realized that I was going to need a larger mixing bowl. Down to the storage room I went, and voila! Anyone that grew up in our household will recognize 'the big yellow bowl'. Mom used it to mix up her weekly batch of mouthwatering bread or rolls and her Christmas cake, too. Suddenly it was like she was right beside me in the kitchen.

Christmas cake: QuiltBee
There is so much fruit in this recipe - 10 pounds to be exact. I was a little concerned that there wouldn't be enough batter to round things out properly, but it baked up really nicely. Now to spend the next month nursing these little beauties periodically with rum until Santa arrives.

Christmas cake: QuiltBee
The Official Cookie Tester wasted no time deciding that he needed sample one and declared it swoon-worthy. I have to agree; it tastes just like I remember.

I've also found a recipe for Christmas cake with dark chocolate...that has to be tried some day too. In the meantime, I feel like I spent the afternoon in the kitchen with mom so it was worth it just for that....M

Update: I've had a request for mom's recipe so if you like Christmas cake I'd encourage you to try it.


Kate said...

I so enjoyed this post Marie and it brought back such fond memories of my own mom. Since both my husband and I like fruit cake I make one every year - I don't think I have ever had a Christmas without fruit cake .... and I'm no spring chicken. I no longer make Christmas Pudding but heat up a chunk of fruit cake and pour warm nutmeg sauce over it ... I'm making myself hungry. :)

Pat said...

A perfect early winter day to be in your kitchen making Christmas cakes! We are snow covered here too in northern Wisconsin. My husband loves Plum Pudding and I just realized that needs to get going - like tomorrow!! The recipe we use has been passed along by my Australian MIL who originally received it from a dear friend who was Canadian (her husband was in the Canadian Air Force I believe). It is called Old Fashioned Traill Christmas Pudding. It calls for many of the same things in your recipe but no eggs. Once everything is mixed together, I steam it in a traditional Plum Pudding covered tin mold. And I had best get going on that so the brandy can soak in for the next month. We serve it with a “hard sauce” - a buttery, brandy flavored sauce made with confectioner’s sugar (A Williamsburg, Virginia recipe)
Your cakes are beautiful and look so festive!! Thank you for sharing.

Kyle said...

What a lovely heartwarming story on this cold and snowy day.

Jane said...

It looks delicious Marie. You did your mother proud.

Anne said...

Wow, just my luck to drop into your home to see all those beautiful cakes lined up on the kitchen counter. Thanks for the taste, which transported me right back to our childhood kitchen and mom's cakes. I will cover the little cakes you gave me with marzipan and enjoy over the next few months. One of my favourite after Christmas traditions is to sit down with a cup of tea, a piece of fruitcake and all my Christmas cards. It's a treat to read messages from friends and family after all the holiday hubbub is over. And the most wonderful surprise after mom's passing was to discover several of her Christmas cakes in her freezer. The gift that keeps on giving. Thanks for taking the time to make this cake Marie. Much gratitude!

Talulah Harper said...

Those cakes look wonderful. I have made Christmas cake for the past few years but have yet to find one I like. I wish I had my mother’s recipe and yours looks very similar because of the number of loaves if produces and the amount of fruit, nuts and eggs. Would it be possible for you to share the recipe? Thanks.

Arlene said...

I know exactly what you mean....Nancy and I have tried several times to replicate our mother’s fruitcake but we gave up some time ago. Your post inspires me to try again...just so I can spend a day with my mom! Thank you for sharing.

Rose Marie said...

Thank you .... looking at your photos brings me back to when I helped Mom make our Xmas cakes too. I can still smell the fruit and remember how it felt when I mixed everything together with my hands. Enjoy your cakes as I'm sure they will be wonderful with a cup of tea!

Jocelyn Thurston said...

Oh your santa is too gorgeous not to finish up...the right time comes for everything even stitching.
Fruit cake is a tradition where I hail from, Newfoundland, with everyone having their favourite recipes. I don't get all the jokes about fruit cake as good fruit cake is so delicious.
I love the tradition you have carried on this year...sweet memories and I have noted your mom's recipe. These older ones are the best,imo. Yours looks heavenly,btw.

Ksagagirl said...

I really enjoyed your story. I have fond memories of my Mother and Grandmother getting all the ingredients together and making fruitcake. They would get together several times during the week to get everything ready with final assembly and baking done on the weekend. It was lots of work but so worth it. Fortunately I have my Mom’s recipe and one of these days I am going to make it.