Holiday Fruit And Nut Cake, An Exception To The Rule
The Best Holiday Cake Ever!
Simply The Best Fruit And Nut Cake Ever
When I was a child, one of my favorite holiday memories was when my mother would make a special cake around Thanksgiving. The cake personified the holidays to me, because it was made of ingredients that could not be obtained at any other time of the year, and most of all, because it was decorated with those colorful, bright red and green cherries. Nothing looked more like Christmas to me than that cake. It was not baked, and there was no flour in it, and some people might mistakenly call it fruitcake, because of the resemblance, but appearance was the only connection to the often-maligned fruitcake. I cannot remember a single person who ever ate a slice of my mother's cake not going back for more. It was simply that incredibly delicious. In fact, everyone who tried this cake immediately wanted to know how to make one, and my mother was always cheerful about giving up the family recipe. It wasn't until many years later that I learned that her father, my grandfather, had created this unique holiday treat. Every time I serve this cake, I get over-the-top compliments. It really is the best out there, but be warned, it is expensive to make, and it can only be made during the Autumn when the main ingredients finally become available. Maybe this cake should be called the Brigadoon cake, for the town that only came up once every one hundred years. Once the store has sold out their supply of ingredients for the season, you will have to wait until the next year to purchase them again. After you have tasted this cake, you'll want to go out and buy extra of the seasonal ingredients so that you can have more later in the year. Time to share with you my grandfather's seasonal treat, "Lewis Mercer's Holiday Fruit & Nut Cake." I hope you enjoy.
Here is how I, personally, make my cake each year. I first select a large enough mixing bowl to hold that much of a quantity. Of course, you can cut the recipe into the smaller size that fits your needs, but I always make the whole cake...lots of friends to share with. Into this large mixing bowl, I crush one pound of graham crackers.
Easy Method For Crushing Graham Crackers
Now, I add one pound of fruit mix, one pound of pecans, one pound of walnuts and one pound of raisins. Stir all of the dry ingredients together.
I show photos of these ingredients so that people can see exactly what I am adding. Could the walnuts and pecans be chopped? Yes, but that isn't necessary. They will soften slightly in the final phase anyway. No need to go to all that trouble.
Putting The Ingredients Together
The Fruit Mix
The Fruit Mix
Preparing The Marshmallow Mixture
Into a double-boiler, add one pound of marshmallows, one can of evaporated milk and two sticks of butter. If you do not have a double-boiler, or like me, you simply hate the trouble, just remember to heat this mixture on low heat and stir constantly until it is a smooth, creamy texture.
Begin Heating The Marshmallow Mixture
Half Way There
The Blended Marshmallow Mix
Pour & Mix
Once the marshmallow mixture has become liquid, simply pour it into the dry mix and stir until completely blended together.
The Marshmallow Mix
Choose Your Final Container
Ladle the final mixture into a pan of your choosing. The best for this is a flat-bottomed container, because this makes for uniformity of slices, as well as ease of serving. If you are going to be placing the container on the buffet or table, pick something decorative. Keep in mind, that whatever you use for this stage of the game, it should be able to stay in your refrigerator.
Pour The Mixture Into A Pan
Time To Decorate
Once you have ladled your mixture into the final container, level the entire mass for uniformity. Now, you are ready for the last step - decorating the top. I show photos of the type of red and green cherries that I use for this stage. Also, remember that I mentioned holding back a few walnuts and pecans. This is when you will need them.
Decorate, Then Chill
Once you have decorated the top of your cake with red and green cherries, as well as with the pecans and walnuts, place the cake into the refrigerator for one to two hours. I generally place mine in the refrigerator for the night and serve it the next day. Serve chilled, although some people may like it warmer. Nonetheless, the longer it sits out, the softer it becomes, so keep this in mind.