comscore Folks love this ‘spice’ cake; booze-soak now for holidays | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Folks love this ‘spice’ cake; booze-soak now for holidays

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    Great Granny’s Delicious Fruitcake can be disguised.

Five years ago I baked a cake, brought it to work and lied about it. Told everyone it was a spice cake and watched it disappear. In reality it was a fruitcake, and those can be a hard sell.

Deanna Canario remembered that story, told in this space in 2011. “I went out and bought all the dried fruits and promptly lost the recipe,” she wrote. “Fruit is gone now, still no recipe, and I’d still like to try the fruitcake.”

Canario recalled it better than I did, actually. Had to Google myself to find the recipe, but there it was.

I’m recycling it now because this cake is a truly fine member of the dessert family. I tried it again, lied about it again and watched it disappear again.

Also, the timing is right. If you haven’t noticed, it’s mid- October, the cosmic warning sign that the holidays are just spitting distance away. One of the options with this cake is to wrap it in a booze-soaked towel and let it sit for a month. Do this soon and yours will be ready for holiday giving. You’re welcome.

All this comes up because of Josh Violette’s search for a recipe clipped from the newspaper sometime in the ’70s that had gone missing. “The recipe was for fruitcake (possibly Grandma’s or Grannie’s) and it was distinguished by using sour cream as an important ingredient.”

The recipe dates to the 1970s and was given to me by helpful reader Dee Tyau.

It calls for sour cream, which contributes to its moistness, and the typical candied fruitcake fruits. To better disguise your cake when facing a fruitcake- averse eatership, substitute any type of dried fruit. Something tart like cherries or cranberries would be perfect.

You’ll notice that the baking temperature is 275 degrees, which might seem low, but this is not a mistake. It bakes for two hours, which produces a crisp crust and moist interior.

Great Granny’s Delicious Fruitcake

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons brandy (or other liquor such as whiskey)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 2 cups diced mixed candied fruits (or the same amount of dried fruit)

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans, then line pans with baking parchment and grease the paper. (Or use eight 5-by-3-inch pans.)

Combine flour, salt and spices.

In a mixing bowl cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Blend in sour cream. Dissolve baking soda in brandy and add. Gradually beat in flour mixture until smooth. Fold in nuts, raisins and candied fruits.

Divide batter among baking pans. Bake 2 hours (1 hour, 45 minutes for small pans) or until cakes are golden and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand 20 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

To season: Soak clean cloth in brandy (or another liquor). Wrap cakes in cloth, then cover with foil. Refrigerate at least 1 month. To give as gifts, remove cloth and wrap in fresh foil.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Write “By Request,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or email requests to

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