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Expat wanderer

Mom’s Fruit Cake in Qatar

Life has gotten busy, and somehow November is here and I haven’t made my fruitcakes. I need to fix that! For those of you who think fruitcakes are a joke – my Mom’s fruitcake has a secret ingredient – chocolate. Even people who don’t like fruitcake love this fruitcake.

I am in Qatar – I have brandy. I have rum. No, I don’t drink hard liquor, but oh, they do make my fruitcakes tastier. Today, I will soak the raisins in brandy overnight, so they will be ready to go tomorrow!

I am reprinting this recipe for those of you who would like to give fruitcake a try.

Mom’s Fruit Cake

This is the original recipe. I remember cutting the dates and prunes with scissors when I was little; now you can buy dates and prunes without pits and chop them in the food processor – a piece of cake!

1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lard or butter
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
3 Tablespoons chocolate powder
1/4 cup jelly
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup candied citron
1/2 cup cut prunes
1/2 cup cut dates

Put all in a pan on stove and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes. Let cool. Add:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Flavor with lemon

Bake at 350° in loaf pans for one hour. Makes 2 normal bread loaf sized cakes.

My variations: I put in about three times the fruit, the difference primarily in the candied citron – I prefer using whole candied cherries, because they are so pretty when the loafs are cut. This recipe doubles, or quadruples with no problems.

Pans: Mom used to line all the pans with brown paper and grease the paper. I grease the pans, then dust with more of the chocolate powder. Use a good quality chocolate, not cocoa. When the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool for ten minutes, loosen them with a knife, then they will shake out easily. Let continue to cool until they are totally cool, then wrap in plastic wrap, with several layers, then foil, then seal in a sealable plastic bag. Let them age a couple months in a corner of your refrigerator. I make mine around Halloween, and serve the first one at Thanksgiving.

I never make these the same any two years in a row.

You know how raisins get all dried out and taste yucky in fruitcakes? The night before you intend to make the fruitcakes, take all the raisins you intend to use (depending on how many fruitcakes you intend to make) and put them in a glass container. Pour brandy over them, to cover. Microwave just to the boiling point. Let stand in the microwave overnight.

The next day, you can drain that brandy and use it in a stew or something, and in the meanwhile, you now have plump, juicy raisins to use in your fruitcake, and just a hint of brandy flavor. Yummmm!

November 16, 2009 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Living Conditions, Recipes


  1. How I envy you! You can soak your raisins in real booze 😦
    Back home we used this brand called Old Monk Rum, it was perfect for making cakes and you could even add a little into the batter too.

    Comment by Mathai | November 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. LLOOLL, I agree, Mathai! I don’t really drink much – maybe a glass of wine a month – but oh, how I miss being able to soak raisins in brandy, for the fruitcake, or apples in brandy for a special apple cake I make . . . it is such joy to have that subtle flavoring, and all the alcohol bakes off. I use a very piratical Cpt Morgan’s Rum to soak the wrappings for the fruit cakes in while they mellow. And yes, after soaking the raisins or apples, I use the brandy elsewhere. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 17, 2009 | Reply

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