Outside the Box Fruitcakes

When more than one request for an item comes across my desk in a matter of days, I can take a hint. Yes, December seems to be the month for all things baked, including that elusive tantalizing fruitcake. Because the following recipes are long, there will be no history or stories of fruitcake legends recorded for posterity herein. Just fruitcakes, but not just any fruitcake. Chocolate using mashed potatoes, a no-bake using a baked cake and a pioneer sausage cake that defies all explanation, reprinted here for your consideration. These recipes have been baked and found to be delicious.

Chocolate Potato Fruitcake

1 cup butter, room temp.
2 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 squares (1 oz. each) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup apricot brandy
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup raisins
1-1/2 cups candied pineapple and cherries, snipped or chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks, potatoes, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Sift together flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the brandy. Fold in nuts, raisins and candied fruit.

Beat egg whites with clean beaters until stiff but not dry. Fold gently into cake batter. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Put a circle of greased brown paper or parchment paper on top of pan greased side down. Place a pan of hot water on the lower rack of the oven. Bake cake on middle rack for about 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack. Remove cake from pan and cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap — store in a tin in a cool place such as refrigerator. Cake is best left to ripen for a few days up to a few weeks.

Pioneer Sausage Fruitcake w/ Hard Sauce

1 box (16 oz.) raisins
1 pound mild bulk sausage (we use Bob Evans)
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg, optional
Hard Sauce — recipe follows

In a saucepan, place raisins and enough water to cover them. Cook until tender, drain and keep one cup of the raisin water. In the raisin water, dissolve baking soda.

In large mixing bowl, using electric mixer, cream the sausage and sugar. This will take at least five minutes. Keep scraping the meat off the beaters and down the bowl sides. You need to break it up thoroughly and beat in sugar thoroughly. (The sausage acts as the shortening in this recipe.) When the meat and sugar are thoroughly blended, add the raisins and raisin/baking soda water. Beat in the flour, nuts and spices.

Spoon into greased and floured Bundt pan or tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Test with toothpick for doneness. Do not over bake. Cool in pan about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Serve with Hard Sauce.

Hard Sauce:

Cream 1/4 cup butter with 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon bourbon. Beat well and chill before serving. Can be warmed enough to pour over cake slice but tradition is a spoonful of the cold sauce on top of the cake.

Refrigerator Fruitcake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (regular size)
1 pkg. fluffy white frosting mix (refers to Pillsbury **see note)
4 cups candied mixed fruit (sometimes referred to as citrons)
1/2 cup whole red candied cherries
1/2 cup whole green candied cherries
1-1/2 cups seedless raisins
1 cup pitted dates, cut up
1 pound pecan halves

Make the cake according to package directions but bake 5 minutes longer than directed on box. When cool, allow air to for an hour or two. This cools and dries it.

Crumble the cake into a very large mixing bowl. Add the fruits and nuts and toss to mix well.

Line 2 loaf pans (9x5x3) with foil. Smooth out all the wrinkles.

Now for the “secret” to the cake. Make the frosting mix according to package directions. Originally the recipe called for the Pillsbury frosting MIX but it is no longer made. Instead use 2 packages of Jiffy white frosting mix. After the frosting is made: Blend it thoroughly with the cake/fruit/nut mix. It is a sticky job but there is no substitute for your hands.

When all is mixed well, pack into the two prepared pans. Again, use your hands to get it into the corners and packed down well. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Unmold and test — it should slice like a solid loaf of fruitcake. If too moist, store uncovered in refrigerator for another 24 hours. When desired consistency is reached, wrap in foil, keep refrigerated until needed.

This recipe is original as posted on When I tested this, the candied citrons and cherries were not used. We don’t like them. I used the same total amount of fruits but substituted Craisins, golden raisins, currants, coconut and dates along with pecans. Still worked fine.

Photo by Fotolia/olyina

  • Published on Dec 10, 2015
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