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Holiday Fruit And Nut Cake, An Exception To The Rule

Updated on November 27, 2016
Hanavee profile image

Brian Gray, obtained his degree in Language from Lee University, and has been a published author and professional writer since 1985.

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.

Starting

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.

Graham Crackers

Easy Method For Crushing Graham Crackers

Keep the graham crackers in the wrapping, and crush them over the bowl.  Then, simply open the package.
Keep the graham crackers in the wrapping, and crush them over the bowl. Then, simply open the package.

Step Two

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

After you crush the graham crackers, add one pound of the fruit mix.
After you crush the graham crackers, add one pound of the fruit mix.

The Fruit Mix

The fruit mix is the main ingredient, and it disappears off the grocery shelves once the season is over.
The fruit mix is the main ingredient, and it disappears off the grocery shelves once the season is over.

The Fruit Mix

This is the brand of fruit mix that I have always used.
This is the brand of fruit mix that I have always used.

Pecans

One pound of pecans.  Set aside some for the top when you finish.
One pound of pecans. Set aside some for the top when you finish.

Walnuts

One pound of walnuts.  Set some aside for the top of the cake when you finish.
One pound of walnuts. Set some aside for the top of the cake when you finish.

Raisins

Add one pound of raisins.
Add one pound of raisins.

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

One pound of marshmallows, one can of evaporated milk and two sticks of butter.
One pound of marshmallows, one can of evaporated milk and two sticks of butter.

Half Way There

Normally, you use a double boiler for this part, but you can gently cook the marshmallows down if you watch the heat and keep stirring.
Normally, you use a double boiler for this part, but you can gently cook the marshmallows down if you watch the heat and keep stirring.

The Blended Marshmallow Mix

To speed things up, simply use a masher to help smooth the marshmallows.
To speed things up, simply use a masher to help smooth the marshmallows.

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

The Mixture

Stir all of the ingredients together.
Stir all of the ingredients together.

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

Simple pour the mixture into a pan of your choice and level it.
Simple pour the mixture into a pan of your choice and level it.

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.

Red Cherries

Use these for garnishing the top of the cake.  These, also, are only available in the Autumn season.
Use these for garnishing the top of the cake. These, also, are only available in the Autumn season.

Red Cherries

These are the variety that I use.
These are the variety that I use.

Green Cherries

I use the same brand of green cherries as I do for the red.  The red and green combination is great for the holiday color.
I use the same brand of green cherries as I do for the red. The red and green combination is great for the holiday color.

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.

The Finished Cake

Place red and green cherries around the top, and add pecans and walnuts between them.
Place red and green cherries around the top, and add pecans and walnuts between them.

A Delicious Slice Shows Off The Density & Color

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    • profile image

      Damian Fedorko 5 months ago

      My family was in the bakery business and if there was one cake I didn't enjoy it was fruit and nut cake. You wrote a very nice article and a great recipe but it was never one of my favorites.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 5 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      I never had fruit cake before, Brian. But this look fruit and nut cake looks good. I'm not a big fan of cherries--and I didn't know they came in green, either. Great hub.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This looks delicious, and you put in a lot of work with your detailed instructions. Well done!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 5 months ago from Washington State, USA

      This looks so much easier than the "traditional" method of making fruitcake. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      Sandra Price 5 months ago

      Wayne, you designed the fruit cake so well, makes me want to make one too. It isn't Christmas without Mom's fruit cake, nice memories!

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 5 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Damian,

      I don't like fruit cake, either, but I love this. Try it some time, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

      Brian

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 5 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Kristen Howe,

      Thanks for reading my latest article. As I mentioned to others, I don't like fruit cake, but I love this recipe. It is so easy to make, and you will receive so many compliments when you serve this.

      Brian

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 5 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Always Exploring,

      Thank you for reading my latest article. I hope you try the recipe and enjoy the great taste of this holiday treat.

      Brian

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 5 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Carb Diva,

      For such a rewarding experience, this holiday cake is so easy to make. You will be getting compliments for many years to come.

      Brian

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 5 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Sandra,

      It wouldn't be this time of the year without Mama's cake. Glad I still have the recipe.

      Wayne (your brother)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 months ago from Arkansas USA

      This is it! A friend of ours used to make this and it was so delicious. He wouldn't part with the recipe, though, and I eventually gave up looking for it. Just this week I was thinking of it again and, voila, here you have it. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 4 months ago from Pennsylvania

      SusanDeppner,

      So glad I could help. Some recipes are so good, there is no reason not to share them. After all, why should they disappear when we pass away? Spread the joy, that's what I always say. I sincerely hope you enjoy this wonderful treat...and your friends, too.

      Brian

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