Advent Week 1: Got Yer Stollen Election Right Here, Bub

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

We’re already deep into the holiday season, barreling toward the winter solstice and the darkest part of the night for the northern hemisphere.

Some of us observed Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival of lights which began on November 12.

Some of us observed Thanksgiving a week ago this past Thursday – and before that, in Canada on Monday, October 9.

Ahead of us lies Hanukkah beginning this coming Thursday, December 7, the last candle to be lighted on December 15.

Christmas falls on Monday, December 25 with the winter solstice before it on December 21.

Boxing Day on the 26th coincides with the beginning of Kwanzaa, the end of which coincides with New Year’s Day – seven days, seven candles marking the principles of Kwanzaa in between.

Busy, busy, busy between now and the end of the year setting things alight to stave off the darkness.

This year’s Christian observation of Advent – the four Sundays marking the time until Christmas – will be very short since Christmas is observed the Monday immediately following the last Sunday of Advent. As a child my Catholic family observed Advent with calendars marking down the days and a candle-decked wreath lit each night at dinner as one of us kids would recite an Advent prayer.

A short advent like this meant my youngest sibling would get the full benefit of the shortest week. They’d only have to recite their prayer once whereas the other three siblings would have to do the entire week at dinner each night, lighting a respective number of candles on the wreath counting down the weeks.

I disliked being first as the oldest child because it meant the first candle lit would be the shortest by Christmas. If only life was as simple as that, if my only annoyance was a stubby guttering candle.

If I’d known more then about all the holidays during which candles and lamps were lighted, I would have committed to bonfires from the end of October to New Year’s Day.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of burnt offerings, I’m going to turn up the heat.

I’m sick and tired, utterly fed up with that orange-tinted fiberglass-haired scofflaw’s continued Big Lie about the 2020 election.

It’s been more than three years since Donald Trump lost the popular vote and weeks shy of three years since he and his conspirators whipped up an insurrection to obstruct the House’s electoral vote count.

And yet he just won’t stop cramming his Big Lie in every too-willing journalistic orifice he can reach. As recently as this past Tuesday by way of his feckless lawyers on a fishing expedition he demanded materials from active criminal investigations to support his Big Lie.

Less than three weeks ago Trump’s Big Lie bullshit was amplified by that hack House Speaker Mike Johnson who tossed his Christian beliefs aside to kneel and kiss the ring of his GOP grift master:

Asked about Trump’s efforts to challenge his loss in 2020 — including recent reporting in which his former allies said Trump planned to refuse to leave his office — Johnson was unwavering.

“It can’t be about personalities, it’s got to be about policies and principles,” Johnson said, arguing that Trump’s were superior to Biden’s.

Asked again about Trump’s frequent, false claims that the election was stolen through widespread fraud, Johnson said, “I take him at his word, I do believe that he believes that.”

Pressed on Trump’s well-documented airing of lies and misleading statements, Johnson said, “There are a lot of people in Washington who say things that are not accurate all the time.”

But he maintained that Trump’s views about the 2020 election results are “deep in his heart.”

“He just felt like he was cheated in that election,” Johnson said, “and I think that’s a core conviction of his.”

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works in a democracy. Johnson is wholly unqualified to represent his constituents because he thinks the outcome of voting is voided by a single man’s “policies and principles” – which in Trump’s case are jokes because he has no principles or policies except propping up his ego and assets.

If it’s the season to bring light to darkness and make the season bright, let’s torch his Big Lie.

~ ~ ~

To that end we’re going to have a stollen election this Advent season – a start on Festivus for the Rest of Us who reject the Big Lie and enjoy baked goods.

Your challenge should you choose to accept it:

– Find a baked holiday bread or cake which must include dried or candied fruit in the dough/batter. By find I mean locate a recipe;

– Share the recipe you want to see made, or are going to make in this month’s Advent posts;

– Find a baked holiday bread or cake containing dried or candied fruit which you have bought in the past or are going to buy this year to enjoy at home or share as a gift with friends;

– Share details about the source or the baker from whom you’ve purchased this baked treat;

– Tell us about any background behind this baked good whether you’ve made it, are going to make it, are going to buy it, have bought it in the past.

Links to photos and recipes are greatly appreciated though you should note that links may take time to clear moderation.

The last weekend of Advent we’ll revisit these panettone, babka, fruit cake, panetón, christopsomo, pan de natale – whatever your cultural heritage calls it – we’ll vote on one which sounds the most delicious and appealing.

Let’s light a candle and let the stollen election begin!

~ ~ ~

This is an open thread.

85 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Emphasis on fruity contents. Nuts optional, but damn, that orange menace is chock full of nuts.


    A reminder to all commenters: We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Your username must be unique and contain a minimum of 8 letters. Thanks to those of you who have changed your usernames over the last year to comply with this standard.

  2. OldTulsaDude says:

    I am fed up with demagogues and authoritarian apologists.

    “I am your voice. I alone can fix it.” – Donald Trump

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

    Let’s hope the I’s don’t have it or get it.

  3. JAFO_NAL says:

    My brother and already have a holiday fruitcake tradition – each year one of us gives the fruitcake to the other, it gets taken home to be put in the freezer to be given again the next year.

  4. JeoparDiva says:

    I’d post my great-aunt or grandma’s stollen recipes, but they were always overly dry and only made with sad little raisins. Those recipe cards got “lost” over the years…for all I know, they’re in Trump’s bathroom.

    • Rayne says:

      You should post them anyhow noting your experience along with the recipe. Sometimes they can be fixed by seasoned bakers. I wonder if your elders stuck to exact recipes they were given without deviating for differences in moisture content and humidity. The amount of flour one needs to add to a yeasted bread can differ greatly depending on how dry the flour is, as just one example. If butter is used in the recipe it can also affect the dryness depending moisture content; commercially-prepared butter is more consistent but there are differences from brand to brand.

      • P J Evans says:

        Raisins can be rehydrated, too. James Beard’s mother’s raisin bread – it’s in some of his cookbooks – used raisins plumped in sherry, but rum or triple sec also work. (My sister says those are very happy raisins.)

        • IainUlysses says:

          Or any fruit juice. In a pinch I’ve used water. The booze can be a nice element, but the real key is to not have dried fruit sucking moisture out of the dough or batter.

    • LizzyMom says:

      My favorite Stollen is made with a thick vein of marzipan in the center (“Marzipanstollen”), rather than the more s5andard “Butterstollen”.

      In the old days, the Stollen were baked relatively early, sometimes months in advance, and wrapped clothes and stored on the wardrobe (“Kleiderschrank”). The butter really worked then and the wrapping clothes would be quite oily —
      the butter would saturate the bread-y part much better when it has slept long enough…)

      (That being said, Germans really do like quite dry pastries. Hubby always comes home from the bakery that I need plenty of coffee or tea to wash down!)

  5. P J Evans says:

    My sis-in-law makes a really good fruitcake, but the recipe is from her family. It’s dark, moist, and even fruitcake haters like it. I’ve heard part of it is getting high-quality dried fruit.

    • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

      Sounds as if my mother had the same recipe. Dark, moist, and lifelong fruitcake haters ask for seconds.

      Yes, high-quality fruit. Not all Italian candied fruits/peels are great, but the best ones I’ve had were Italian, and even the worst of those were better than supermarket brands. Pretty easy to find online.

      The other secret is making it at least a few weeks in advance, then unwrapping it every few days to spoon over it a bit of brandy and rum (alternately).

      Can also recommend the Epicurious Panettone Bread Pudding recipe.

      It’s unfortunate Trump is not of German heritage or he’d know all about stollen /s

      • Rayne says:

        One of the tricks with supermarket brands is advanced preparation — soaking the fruits before incorporating them into the dough/bread can improve their flavor and texture.

        My mom used to make some drop cookies which were like individual fruitcakes. There was just enough of a batter to hold walnuts, pecans, and booze-soaked raisins and citron together. I remember getting hammered when I was nine or ten while helping my mom make these cookies; I couldn’t keep out of the golden raisins which were “moistened” overnight with a healthy lashing of bourbon. I’ll have to hunt down her recipe.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          My mother made those fruitcake cookies one year, too! The recipe didn’t make it into the file she gave me, though. Not a fave. But she did have an assortment of breads (yes, panettone), cookies, cakes, pies, puddings and miscellaneous desserts she included.

          She was an extraordinarily good cook and baker. And she excelled at presentation. Even into her late 80’s she was still making potica (from a recipe her Slovenian friend in the old neighborhood gave her) at Christmas for friends and family. One of those friends made it one year and remarked on how much work it took to make.

          My mom lived to be 95. She was admitted to the hospital on a Christmas Eve and died a few days later. It’s been a long time since she’s been gone, but I always get quite nostalgic at this time of year.

          She used to make some of the cookies on this list. But she never made the Stollen Balls, haha!

          “15 Traditional German Christmas Cookies With Old World Charm”

          • Rayne says:

            Ooh, dying of curiosity about the potica! did it include raisins with nuts or just nuts?

            I have such envy if your mom baked springerle and lebkuchen. I had an older friend who made the best ever springerle, so airy and light, tender on the inside and delicately crispy on the outside with a hint of anise. I wish I’d learned how to make them from her before she passed on. Ditto lebkuchen which my ex’s grandmother made — instead of apple she would adjust the humidity in the cookie tin alternating with a chunk of orange or a slice of fresh bread. But neither cookie are part of my family’s heritage, therefore had no one to pass on the art of making them.

            Think I will have to try that Stollen Balls recipe because I have all the ingredients at hand! Thanks!

  6. John Colvin says:

    The “stolen election” is a lot like last year’s fruitcake: it is simply re-g(r)ifted, no matter how stale it has become.

  7. kmlisle_1 says:

    My Scotch, French, and Indian Aunts somehow managed to appropriate a Scandinavian Stollen which they made every year at christmas. They were serous and competitive cooks so the Stollen was quite good. One of them even managed to mail me a loaf for Christmas the year I was stationed in Vietnam (’68). its arrival inspired a flurry of Christmas decorating and celebration between rocket attacks at Air Force HQ at Tan Son Nuht Airbase. In Saigon, we found purple and green bar lights, plus an assortment of other”‘delicacies” that I distinctly remember included Spam. A great time was had by all!

  8. fatvegan000 says:

    My 1990s boyfriend loved his mom’s version of fruitcake which was made with gumdrops instead of fruit and nuts. I don’t have the recipe though, because he only wanted his mom to make one special just for him every Christmas.

    I just looked it up and there are a few recipes out there, so it is actually a thing. Someone name Lord Byron says it is “one of the most recognizable traditional Newfoundland cakes.” If his mom knew that, she didn’t let on.

    Neither my mom nor grandmothers made any cakes when I was growing up (one of my step-grandmas made pies-we loved her best. lol), so I didn’t know about fruitcakes until I got my first full-time job after high school, and then the fruitcake was always referred to in a joking manner, as if it were a gift for someone you didn’t like.

    • P J Evans says:

      I knew about fruitcakes while in grade school – the women’s group at our church sold fruitcakes one year. My mother had a slide of our dining-room table (72×42 inches) covered with fruitcakes in foil pans, with almond and candied-fruit flowers and leaves on top. (They made a bunch of money.) The one we kept got wrapped in cheesecloth with orange juice applied at intervals.

  9. tmooretxk says:

    My father achieved some 50+ years of sobriety as an adherent to AA, with only one inadvertant slip when a new daughter-in-law gifted him one of her family’s proprietary fruitcakes containing an indeterminate but very significant quantity of rum. The resultant hangover served as a reminder for the rest of his days.

  10. punaise says:

    Can’t hear stollen without thing “door-stopper”. Fairly or not, I cut more slack to Tuscan panforte.

  11. Molly Pitcher says:

    Well, since I can’t have raisins, fruitcake and stollen do not make an appearance during the holidays. However, I am going to bend the rules and give you the stupidest, most beautiful and delicious Christmas treat that we do make every year. It is called “Easy Pistachio-Cranberry Nougat”. The link goes to a Martha Stewart recipe because it has such a pretty picture.

    Be sure to lightly toast the pistachios so they are crunchy, and be generous with the powdered milk. I actually cringe as I type that, but they are really good. It is a pretty addition to a cookie platter, easy to make and as far away from haute cuisine as one can get.

    Panettone does show up for our Christmas, and I am not a talented enough baker to make one, so I get them from Zia Martina from Italy, . They have the traditional with all the fruit, but I get the Orange and Chocolate or the Pear and Moscarpone.

    My specialty is Bourbon Pecan Pie Truffles.

  12. emptywheel says:

    Before describing my fruit cake, let me note that that CNN piece on Trump’s discovery stunt is wildly inflammatory. After I saw it I suggested people read my own piece, which unlike CNN, starts from the indictment and establishes what discovery would be at issue then.

    That CNN piece was totally divorced from the rules of criminal procedure, and therefore with whether and when those questions will be addressed.

    Onto my fruitcake. It’s from From the Sweet Kitchen.

    It’s different than yicky fruit cake because it uses only real dried fruit–the kind you get in a health food store. You soak all THAT in whiskey for maybe 8 hours? Along with the other expected dried fruit, it includes dried pears.

    There’s also a fresh pear in it.

    It has little flour (last year I cat-sat in Paris for a couple one member of which has coeliac, so I’m contemplating trying it w/gluten free flour). Instead of that it has a lot of ground cashews and pistachios. I made it last year bc the spouse’s aunt’s spouse is really into fruit cake, but when we had one with him for Christmas last year, it wasn’t as good as he expected.

    Not sure whether I’ll make it this year as standing to cook is a challenge. But then my own spouse wants to use his forced sous chef opportunity to learn to bake more. And this requires REALLY strong stirring had–it’s a stiff dough.

    The recipe is actually too big for the two pans it describes, so instead I make 3 smaller loaves, which leaves two to give away.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL I admit to picking that annoying CNN piece especially because the headline parroted Trump’s Big Lie: Trump demands thousands of classified documents in his court fight to prove the 2020 election was stolen.

      Uh, nope. +60 court cases already and none proved Trump’s Big Lie.

      King Arthur has a recipe for a gluten-free fruit cake recipe but it calls for their own gluten-free baking mix. The problem with the mix is that it contains cellulose and cellulose gum which are irritants to the gut for some people (that’d be me). But the mix contains rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and xanthan gum which would be fairly easily to pull together at home in a GF-kitchen; just reduce the other flour/starch in this DIY mix recipe and squeeze in some sorghum flour since it would add flavor and color.

      • FLwolverine says:

        Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour contains all the ingredients you listed for a possible gluten free mix. No cellulose or cellulose gum. I’ve used this as a substitute for wheat flour and couldn’t tell any difference in texture, moisture, etc. Much easier than mixing your own (although Bob’s Red Mill sells the components for that too).

        Fun fact: The company is employee owned. The founder – Bob Moore – sold it to his employees a few years ago.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh, good point. I knew King Arthur had a recipe for GF fruitcake, didn’t check Bob’s Red Mill — kind of silly of me because I buy so much from the latter. Just got a case of pearled barley last week from Red Mill, in fact.

          Bob’s Red Mill GF fruitcake recipe: — this is a much smaller recipe than the King Arthur one, appears to have a higher cake-to-fruit ratio as well. The King Arthur recipe might be a little moister not only because of the lower cake-to-fruit ratio but the use of golden or corn syrup which is somewhat hydrophilic.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Bob’s makes a good GF flour, too. It needs more leavening than wheat flower, and sometimes an adjustment in baking time.

  13. bgThenNow says:

    We finally baked our fruitcakes tonight. The fruit has been prepped for days. We are a little behind on the baking so they won’t have as long for their daily spritzing of scotch between now and Christmas. I will do my annual cookie baking for the platters I give to friends and neighbors. Last year I was still baking on Christmas morning. We have had a gingerbread baking and decorating tradition too. Last year we didn’t get to that for the first time in about 20 years. I make wreaths for a few people and will purloin greens from a vacant lot and some ditch banks, Maybe I’ll luck into some cutoffs from a tree lot. The luminarias will go up on Christmas Eve. I avoid shopping at this time except for supporting local artists and crafts ppl. I have my little traditions I enjoy, tho the specific holiday is not very meaningful to me at this point. The season is a nice time to get together w friends. I find there is not enough time for friends unless time is made, and that is more important as the years fly by. I hope everyone stays healthy and safe, things not to be taken for granted. Thanks for kicking off the season, Rayne.

  14. Zinsky123 says:

    Our Holiday fruitcake tradition is to go to Costco and buy a fruitcake and ship it to my brother-in-law, who is the only one in our family odd enough to eat the damn thing. I won’t eat them. Anyway, I am sick to death of Trump (and Kari Lake) going around, pretending that he was harmed by the 2020 election results when he clearly got his pimply butt kicked. It is so galling to watch a supposedly grown man act like a petulant child and play act that he was somehow harmed by an election he plainly lost. Get over it, Donnie!

  15. NickBarnes says:

    Every year I have a baking party, ideally on the last weekend before Advent, (but this year it was postponed by a week to 2nd/3rd December). I call it my “Stir-Up Sunday” party, after the traditional name and activity of that day in England, although it may start on the Friday evening and go on until Monday morning. There is food and drink, games, music and dancing, and there is a great deal of baking. We prepare about 12-13 kg of Christmas cake, around 144 mince pies, and perhaps 5-6 kg of Christmas pudding. All of these contain dried fruit as their principal ingredient, followed by nuts, dark sugars, flour, margarine, suet (substitute), spices, etc.

    American attitudes to fruit cake baffled me for years, until I lived in Pittsburgh and ate some cheap and nasty American fruit cake. My riposte is always simply this: not all fruit cake is created equal.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s a LOT of mince to prepare. Whew.

      One thing I don’t think other countries understand about food here: foods since WWII have become increasingly commercialized because traditions brought from the old country are too time intensive, require skills no longer encouraged and kitchen equipment no longer purchased, and when commercialized it must be shelf stable because we don’t go shopping every day. That’s why we have fruitcakes which are hard like bricks and taste like the plastic in which they’re wrapped.

      I had a long chat with an engineer who worked for me whose wife complained that the food here was poisonous compared to the food back home in India. She was used to shopping for fresh foods at the market every day, but our culture isn’t like that with highly individual and disperse locations. Should be, but here we are.

      • NickBarnes says:

        The mincemeat(*) is certainly voluminous, but the Christmas cake mix outweighs it considerably, and is so massive that I mix it in a pair of buckets, with a trowel or spade. The buckets and tools do duty in the garden the rest of the year, and are very carefully and thoroughly cleaned and sterilised in the week before the party.

        The total volume of cake is certainly over 10 litres (2.5 US gallons, it says here).

        (*)Clarifying for non-UK readers: “mincemeat” contains no actual meat; “mince pies” in the UK haven’t contained meat, other than sometimes suet, for probably 100+ years. The “mincemeat” filling is in fact a sweet and juicy mix of chopped apple, dried fruits, sugar, spices, etc etc. One can buy ready-made mince pies, or mincemeat in jars, but of course we make our own. Also I’m vegan, so even the suet in the Christmas pudding is not real suet.

          • NickBarnes says:

            That sounds amazing. Green tomatoes aren’t really a thing here, unless you grow your own, but the recipe looks adaptable to (say) beef tomatoes.
            Perhaps I should add: in the last few years for complicated but happy family reasons, I have been celebrating Christmas with a group including a sufferer from coeliac disease. So these days all of this baking is gluten-free, except that I (with particular attention to gluten segregation) make half of the pie pastry with regular flour. Then over the festive season there is GF cake, GF pudding, and some GF mince pies and some regular ones, all carefully identified and segregated of course. The whole process minds me somewhat of the kitchen practices of some observant Jewish friends of mine.
            I do some non-GF pies because the GF pastry is really hard to get exactly right, and doing 144 of those would drive me spare.

            • fatvegan000 says:

              I’m fascinated by the quantity of sweets you make at your party. I hope this isn’t a rude question, but is it that you have so many people that the sweets are all passed around and eaten, or do you give some away?

              I’ve never been to a party that large – it sounds really fun!

              • NickBarnes says:

                Most of the baking is not eaten at the party (although a lot of other food is). It’s consumed gradually over the whole festive season. Generally I take the very last of the cake and mince pies into my office in the first week of January….
                Attendance at my Stir-Up Sunday weekends varies from about 6 to about 35. On occasion I host (and cook for) much larger parties – there were nearly 100 at my birthday party this year, for which I cooked all the food myself.

  16. Peterr says:

    Down the road from us about 90 minutes is an Amish bakery in the town of Tipton. When my mom lived in southern Illinois, we’d drive by this place on the way to her home, and always had to stop to pick up one or two of their fruitcakes. They make light and dark versions, and she swore by the dark. If we visited in October, she’d take it, unwrap the plastic, then wrap it in an old but clean tea towel. Through the towel, she’d soak it with a significant amount of rum, then put it in a tightly covered container on the top shelf of the kitchen pantry. Every so often (once a week?) she’d take it down, and give it another dose of rum.

    By Christmas, this was a very happy fruitcake, and no one could ever say they were ever served a dry fruitcake, in any sense of the word.

    • FiestyBlueBird says:

      Gene Clark came from small town Tipton!

      ‘Cause for nickels and dimes
      he could play his guitar he could rhyme
      He could do it every time,
      in Denver, or wherever
      He left his happy home,
      his mamma she sat alone,
      she was crying
      You know he went out on the road,
      that’s the only life that he knew worked fine

      I found this “Denver or Wherever” version in past year, likely shortly after Crosby died. It’s lovely. (Sound quality is not great.)

      I saw him play in a dive bar, post Byrds, but with a fractured sort of Byrds band. They were great. They rocked. But Gene was drinking heavily throughout.

      Great posts and comments this past weekend, everyone. Bmaz story and the new sleuth who came along with skills helpful to Marcy. All good.

  17. RMD de Plume says:

    my Mom used to make hot cross buns, (unsure of recipe) adding diced maraschino cherries and walnuts. Warm aromas filled the house. Powdered sugar, water and vanilla were stirred into an icy frosting, after letting it cool in the fridge for a bit.
    Freshly baked and piping hot, they were a favorite with a tab of butter wedged into the middle.

    • Rayne says:

      Was this for Christmas, though? Hot cross buns are typically an Easter baked good — the cross on top means something, yes?

      • RMD de Plume says:

        Agreed, but also cooked around the holidays…. as a ‘go to’ favorite.
        She also made bread loaves with roughly the same recipe.

      • RMD de Plume says:

        Agreed, definitely baked for Easter….but also baked as a ‘go-to’ favorite around the holidays…She also baked bread loaves with roughly the same recipe….which were best eaten fresh out of the oven with tabs of butter.

  18. Footymann says:

    I don’t have any choice recipe to share with you, but fruitcakes bring back great memories, although not from their consumption. In the very early’70’s our high school band sold them to make a few bucks. The kind of moist, sticky, heavy fruitcakes best used as door stops. As full of preservatives as a Twinky, I never ate more than a cherry or two. But the fun was delivering them to the families who supported our effort. Lived in a high elevation town in Colorado, so in those days the snow banks were as high as you could throw with a snow shovel. Every house we delivered to was in the midst of the beautiful chaos that happens when there are kids running wild in anticipation of Christmas morning. Everyone so grateful that we were braving the snow and cold, and actually appeared happy to get the fruity doorstop many had forgotten they had ordered.
    Presently my wife and I are on an extended European vacation, and as it happens, she picks up Stollen at every opportunity in every Christmas market we wander through. (I always ask her if she paid for it, or if it was Stollen. No, never funny).
    Italian Stollen we have found to be more sticky and fruity, but here in Germany the markets feature a more bread-like texture and much less fruity. Chock full of raisins however and sweet creamy topping, it never lasts long, especially if coffee is involved.

  19. Matt Foley says:

    MAGA fruitcake recipe
    1 C orange koolaid
    1/2 C bleach
    2 C flour (may substitute cocaine powder; thanks to Mike Lindell for the tip!)
    2 unfertilized eggs
    Dash ivermectin
    Pinch hydroxychloroquine
    Bake 20 minutes at 350 F.
    Guaranteed to disappear by April.

  20. Jeffrey Kavanaugh says:

    Here’s a dark fruitcake recipe from my honourary Canadian grandmother. The end result is absolutely incredible. I’m transcribing this from a recipe card she hand-wrote for me:

    Dark Fruitcake
    → 3 bread pans

    line pans with brown paper + grease

    1-1/2# raisins – golden + sultana (678 gm)
    1/4# currants (125 gm)
    3/4# butter
    3/4# brown sugar – generous (452 gm)
    1/2 dozen eggs
    1/4C maple syrup
    1/2# (236 gm) candied peel – mixed + cherries
    1/2 wine glass milk + brandy
    2-1/2t vanilla
    1/2t cinnamon
    1/2t salt
    1/4t ground cloves
    1/2t baking soda
    1 pint flour – do not add extra flour
    1/3# blanched almonds

    Cream butter + sugar.
    Add eggs 1 at a time.
    Sift flour, soda, spices.
    Combine liquids.
    Alternate dried + liquids
    Add raisins, currants, almonds+ peel
    Add more brandy every week or two
    Cook 3 to 3-1/2 hours at 250°F in a pan of water
    Cool + add icings

    Almond Icing
    → 3 cakes
    1# ground almonds = 5 x 3-1/2 oz pkgs
    3 eggs
    juice 1/2 lemon
    1# icing sugar
    1/2-3/4 t vanilla

    Stir almonds with sugar
    Add lemon juice + vanilla
    Beat eggs + add to bind.
    Spread on cakes + leave for 24 hrs to dry in warm room
    Add butter icing + any decorations such as cut cherries into Xmas tree

    Some comments:
    1. I love the precision of some measures (to the gram), followed by the vague “1/2 wine glass” instruction – half glass each? Total? (I use 3/4 wine glass each milk and brandy – works a treat.)
    2. If you know your metric system, that “generous (452 gm)” comment w.r.t. brown sugar will probably make you chuckle (as a full pound is 454 g).
    3. What really makes these cakes – besides the candied fruit and peel, of course – is the brandy. I bake my cakes each Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (early-mid October) and feed them every other weekend with 3 Tbsp (each) of brandy, which means that by the holidays they’re *very* boozy, having received 6-8 shots of brandy each. (The instructions, as written, mention weekly feedings before it mentions baking the cakes. This is wrong – bake first; leave in paper-lined pans; cover with aluminum foil and store in a cool dry place to age.)
    4. This recipe calls for two frosting layers. The first is an almond frosting (essentially, a marzipan) that goes on top; the second is a butter frosting (pick your favourite recipe) that encases the whole thing. This is handy, as it allows you to cut the cakes into smaller portions (after applying the almond frosting) and seal them up, top and sides, with the butter frosting. This lets you share more widely.
    5. One final note: the cakes this recipe yields are so far removed from the fruitcake doorstops most folks are familiar with that they’re not just a different species, but a different phylum.

    Happy holidays, everyone!

    • Rayne says:

      Laughing at the proportions in this because they’re both amusing and yet effective. Like the maple syrup — that’s the nod to Canada but it’s a relatively small quantity of sweetener in a recipe this large. BUT…the maple syrup and the little bit of baking soda do a little chemical dance to lighten the batter a touch.

      A standard wine glass is about 3/4 cup or 6 ounces in imperial measurements. Your wine glass may be larger (or smaller) than standard, which I’ll bet your honourary Canadian grandmother would lean into, making this a moister cake.

      Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks like a lot of fun!

      • Jeffrey Kavanaugh says:

        Oh yes – I’m pretty sure the wine glass was used as a measure mainly because it was readily at hand. And that chemical dance makes room to accommodate all that brandy.

        You’re right – the cake isn’t particularly sweet, but the two layers of frosting make up for it.

        Nothing else I’ve baked has made the kitchen smell so wonderful. She made these for decades, and once she turned a certain age she passed the recipe on to her sons, in the hope that they’d carry on the tradition (without success). I made them for her for a few years, until she passed. It’s been a treat to carry on the tradition.

        • Jeffrey Kavanaugh says:

          Oops – just noticed a typo. That should be “3/4# butter,” not “3.4# butter” – that’s… a significant difference. Feel free to correct in my original comment, if you are able to do so.

          [Moderator’s note: revised, swapped the period for a slash. /~Rayne]

  21. Russalnyde says:

    Pardon my punctuation and grammar…I’m hastily trying to get this sent before heading out for an appointment.

    I’ve lived in New York City and coastal Delaware now for the past 35+ years. I grew up in lily-white northern Arkansas and fruitcake was always lurking around at Christmas time. I recall that it always seemed a joke, I couldn’t stand it (despite the ofttimes charming illustrations on the lid of the round tins – usually saved to store buttons, pennies, and various odds and ends), and it was always languishing on the Christmas desert buffet.

Fast forward to my younger brother’s early 1990s wedding in Arkansas. He married a lovely lass of half Scottish and half Malaysian descent who was bound and determined to have a fruit cake for the wedding. I believe she bought it from the grand Jenners department store in Edinburgh. I remember me and my family members sort of quizzically watching her as she patiently formed a layer of white marzipan around the top and edges of the round cake, adding fresh flowers along the top until she had concocted one of the loveliest wedding cakes I’ve ever seen. It ended up being delicious and the guests at the reception after the ceremony managed to gobble down every bit of it.

Fast foward another 20 years or more to a little over a year ago when I had to undergo a cardiac catheterization (all turned out to be OK) and as a get well follow-up one of my husband’s best gal pals (who splits time living in NYC and Hudson, NY) sent us a couple of fruit nut loaves from Talbot & Arding in Hudson. She added a note that they would freeze well along with “this isn’t your grandmother’s fruitcake”. Lo and behold she was right! We devoured both loaves and. Last year I sent them as Christmas gifts to family and friends. Pricey and smallish but packed with punch and crunch (they are non-alcoholic – just zesty fruit) for the holidays.

    Finally, here is a recipe that a friend mentioned that is from Southern Living which can be found by googling Really Good Fruitcake.
    It sounds delicious to me but is likely too ambitious for my baking skills. We’ll see if I can get all of the ingredients.


    * 1 cup chopped dried pineapple, from 1 (5.7-oz.) container
    * 1 2/3 cup chopped dried mission figs, from 1 (9-oz.) container
    * 2 2/3 cup dried chopped apples, persimmons, and peaches, from 2 (3-oz.) containers, such as Rind
    * 1 cup golden raisins
    * 1 cinnamon stick
    * 1/2 cup bourbon
    * 1/4 cup brandy
    * 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    * 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
    * 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    * 5 large eggs, at room temperature
    * 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1 cup peeled and grated Honey Crisp apple
    * 1 tablespoon lemon zest, from 1 lemon
    * 1 tablespoon orange zest, from 1 orange
    * 1/2 cup orange juice, from 2 oranges
    * 2/3 cup drained Luxardo maraschino cherries
    * 1 cup chopped pecans
    * Cheesecloth, for storing
    * Bourbon, for storing

    1. Place pineapple, figs, apples, persimmons, peaches, golden raisins, cinnamon stick, bourbon, and brandy in a large bowl; stir to coat fruit in liquid. Cover and let stand at room temperature 24 hours, stirring once every 8 hours. Discard cinnamon stick. 

    2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Spray 2 8.5×4.5-inch loaf pans with baking spray; line pans with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the two long sides. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar to butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to mixer bowl; beat on low until just combined, about 30 seconds. 

    3. Remove mixer bowl from mixer. Fold in zests, juice, cherries, pecans, and soaked fruit mixture. Batter will be very thick. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of each fruitcake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. 

    4. Place pans on a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Remove fruitcakes from pans. Slice to serve, or if storing, dampen cheesecloth with bourbon and wrap fruitcake tightly with cheesecloth, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 month, changing cheesecloth once a week. To store for a short period of time (less than 1 week), wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

    • Russalnyde says:

      Yikes…double checked while out and about and thought my post had not gone through and then modified and resent…..Sorry for double posting.

      [Moderator’s note: Looks like you had a typo in your username in two of three attempts. I think you’re all set now. /~Rayne]

  22. IainUlysses says:

    Thanks for the timely thread, I need to put my name in for the yearly stollen my wife loves. It used to come from a different local bakery. They were sold right before the pandemic and did not survive, ending a many decade long run. They made sure the recipes were translated and handed on to another local bakery that, thankfully, does them well.

    But you do have to order the stollen ahead.

  23. Boss Tweed says:

    My family had been in Texas since it was Spain. But somewhere along the line, some horses went missing, fingers got pointed, a posse got mounted, and a hasty ocean voyage to San Pedro, California initiated a century of familial estrangement. The California and Texas clans are still pointing fingers over those missing horses.

    A few years ago we had family reunion at a hotel in Corsicana, Texas. The Texans held up in the hotel meeting room, peering out the windows, while their estranged cousins – the California horse thieves – roamed the parking lot, smoking cigarettes, and purposely loitering around fancy pick-up trucks.

    Absent all of the horse thieving, we’d still be fighting over religion or politics. The Texas clan are alt-right MAGA-hats, and home schooled religious cultists, while the Californians are blue-collar, west coast liberals. The intersection between the two clans is the empty set, a discreet instance of nothing. Except perhaps a fruitcake.

    Someone had brought to the reunion, a locally made fruitcake from the Collins Street Bakery, and we all stopped fighting long enough to devour it. To this day, It’s the best fruitcake I’ve ever had, and I don’t have to visit Texas to get one.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      The Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana! My family’s required stopover between Houston and Dallas. We always picked up the sand tart cookies. You can’t order those online. It wouldn’t be the same. Need to be experienced fresh from the oven.

      Now you’ve got thinking about a drive up to Corsicana.

    • Lisa in NC says:

      @Boss Tweed, we just discovered the Collin Street Bakery fruitcake magic this spring – on a deep cave expedition in Mexico. They donated an enormous supply of fruitcake bites – nothing has ever tasted so good 2000ft underground! – and some full-size fruitcakes, which were fantastic for building relations with the local landowners. Thank you for mentioning them here – you remind me that I want to order one for a Christmas treat!

  24. Orestes Secundus says:

    I really don’t understand why everyone calls Stollen a fruitcake. Nevertheless, I’ve been running off that marzipan stollen I pigged-out on for the last four days, running around the Ilmpark with my chocolate lab. Then my daughter brought baumstreichen home from the Weihnachtsmarkt – a roasted thin bread rolled in butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Not to mention the garlic Langos breads, Thüringen bratwurst, and fried mushrooms. And Glühwein, holunder, with a shot of rum. God how I hate the Weihnachtsmarkt! I have to run every morning for the next four months!

    Grüße aus Weimar

  25. DML_04DEC2023)1452h says:

    I find it fascinating that the picture associated with this article in the front page isn’t just any “fruit cake,” but a Portuguese bolo rei (king cake). Kind of an obscure thing, but as someone of Portuguese ancestry, I’m not complaining.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. **I did remind commenters in the first comment of this thread. ** Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      It’s not a king cake; go to, scroll down the right side of the site and you’ll see the photo I used which is labeled “Stollen” having been uploaded originally to Flicker as “Stollen.”

      This is a bolo rei:

      Traditional Portuguese bolo rei has two attributes which set it apart from German stollen: much higher egg-to-dough ratio, and a crown shape (for the King of Kings, yes?). The stollen was originally a response to a change in German butter and milk laws and shaped like a stone marker.

      Bolo rei image above at this recipe:

      IIRC, Portuguese malasadas and filhós also differ from other fried dough sweets because of their higher egg content. Very rich!

      • DMLouMTW says:

        Ah, in the close-up it was hard to recognize exactly what it was and it looked a lot like the bolos rei I had growing up. :)

        Also sorry for missing the 8 character username bit… I’ll be better now.

  26. susan pasek says:

    Slovenian holiday bread
    Walnut Bundt Pan Potica

    1 C. butter
    1/2 C. milk
    2 pkgs. dry yeast
    1/4 C. warm water
    3 eggs separated
    2 1/2 C. sifted flour (11oz bread flour)
    1/4 t. salt
    1/2 C. sugar
    2 C. finely chopped walnuts
    1 t. cinnamon
    3 T. sugar
    3/4 C. milk
    1/2 C. honey
    Heat butter and milk together until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm. In bowl dissolve yeast in warm water and beat in egg yolks. Blend in cooled milk and butter mixture. Sift in flour, salt, and 1/4 C. sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy in color. Cover bowl and refrigerate over night (or for six hours).
    On the following day, blend walnuts, cinnamon, 3 T. sugar and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir until thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. Beat egg whites until stiff and slowly add 1/2 C. of honey beating until meringue-like. Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut it into 2 equal parts (work fast, dough is easier to work with when cold). Dust each half with flour, roll out one half at a time. Make an 18-20 inch circle of dough. Top the dough with 1/2 of filling mixture. (You may decide to use a little less. The potica is hard to roll and then seal closed, if it is overfilled with the filling.) Spread mixture to within 1 inch of edge of dough. Roll dough into a jelly roll shape. Place in well greased (use generous amount of PAM) bundt pan. Follow same instructions for second potica and put on top of other potica in pan. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Allow potica to cool in pan for about five minutes, and then turn onto a plate.

    If you prefer a chocolate filling, here’s the recipe:
    Chocolate Filling
    1 C (scant) butter
    1/2 C. sugar
    5 egg yokes
    6 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
    2 egg whites beaten stiff
    2 T. sugar (optional)
    5 oz. chopped almonds (optional)
    2 T. breadcrumbs
    Cream butter with sugar add egg yolks mix well. Heat chocolate add to mixture. Fold in stiff egg whites. Mix other ingredients. Spread on potica dough, roll into jelly roll shape and bake.
    Again use PAM to grease the pans.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Any chance you have a potica filling recipe with some sort of fruit? I know somewhere along the line I’ve seen raisins. Thanks!

      • Susan says:

        Yes, potica can be filled with a mixture cinnamon, honey and raisins.
        At Christmas I make three poticas: 1. walnut, 2. chocolate, 3. raisin
        All are good.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        This is the closest to my mother’s recipe I’ve found. In addition to orange and lemon zest, she usually also added raisins and brandy or rum. There are many different fillings that can be used, sweet or savory, as the article (and recipe) below mentions. Below that is a fun video to watch.


        “Bite Into the Rich Tradition of Potica | Relish with Chef Yia Vang”

        • Rayne says:

          Ooh, a cheese filled potica? I will have to hunt that down now that I’ve read it in that link. Thanks!

  27. earthworm says:

    Am enclosing the Christmas pudding recipe (modified from Julia Child’s, Parade magazine, 12/15/85) that I made and gifted for many years.
    (It is a very good Christmas pudding; I’ve aged them in the downstairs beer box for as long as a year.)
    Plum Pudding
    Make 3 c breadcrumbs from white or multi-grain loaf in food processor bowl. Chop 1 c each: prunes, yellow raisins, currants/black raisins in food processor bowl with crumbs
    Add ½ lb granulated sugar to bowl, buzz to clean bowl,
    and then turn out into large mixing bowl. Toss bowl contents with ½ lb melted butter and then spices mixed together (1/2 t each, more if needed) cinnamon, mace, & nutmeg.
    Then add to mixing bowl mixture: 4 eggs lightly beaten, few drops of almond extract, ½ c bitter marmalade, ½ c rum or bourbon. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more spices if needed. Toss thoroughly.
    ~Steaming (@ 6 hrs): pack pudding into a buttered/floured mold leaving head space. Cover with a round of wax paper and lid, set clamps/cover tightly. Set on steamer basket in kettle with water to come up 1/3 of way up the mold. Steam 6 hrs — wood stove is perfect — do not let water boil out. Pudding is done when when dark brown and firm to touch.
    ~Cure & store: let cool in mold, then un-mold with care after ½ hr and store covered. Let cure in a cool place until serving day.
    ~Before serving, steam until warmed through, about 2 hrs. Use a fireproof serving dish: pour @ ½ c hot rum or whiskey around warm pudding on a hot serving dish (we use an old silverplate collection plate) ignite and bring flaming to table, serve with hard sauce, foamy sauce, or other favorite sauce.
    (Obviously, Rayne is very experienced and I hope she’ll edit in any improvements.)

    Is it only Orange twatwaffle who seems to have stollen all my seasonal joy and energy? I doubt I am headed into former years’ orgy of holiday production.
    A parent was a German refugee, with a perpetual yearning for decent bread, decent butter, decent cheese, fabulous torte, especially when made with nut flours.
    So I became interested in producing all of the above, also including Christmas pudding and a molasses ginger cookie that went out to all the dispersed fam.

    • Rayne says:

      Prunes! Yes! I might swap part out for figs and dates, though, to increase textural variety.

      Only other improvement I’d make is cooking this in an instant pot for 2 hours instead of steaming for 6 hours, or consider steaming in a slow cooker big enough to hold the sealed mold as the slow cooker’s temperature will be stable for the 6 hours without needing much attention assuming the cooker is covered. Thanks for sharing!

  28. P J Evans says:

    When I was in HS, we moved to a house in a new city. The neighbor on the west was a Greek widow (Orthodox, of course). On the east, we had an Italian couple – he’d done decorative work in plaster and concrete, for buildings, mostly, and the inside of their plain-looking ranch house was anything but. So we got Christmas and Easter treats on two calendars, and, from the Italians, home-made wine and bags of oranges.

    • Rayne says:

      I do love celebrating both western Christmas and Orthodox Christmas! I miss seeing my former sister-in-law’s Greek and Cypriot family members over the holidays and all the trays overflowing with baklava, koulourakia, kourabiedes, and melomakarona. So good.

  29. Susan Pasek says:

    This is more of a side dish than a dessert, but it’s very good. (My Slovenian grandmother made it often.)
    It is called Štruklji, and it is a typical Slovenian dish. It consists of rolled dough which is filled with either savory or sweet ingredients such as cottage cheese, walnuts, apples, and poppy seeds.
    (There are many online recipes for it. I pronounce it strukla, but that may not be correct.)

  30. Suburban Bumpkin says:

    I started making fruitcake regularly when I regularly watched Alton Brown’s Good Eats. I liked the looks of his Free Range Fruitcake which I think used dried fruits and none of what I call mutant fruit like the candied stuff. Since then I have become a devoted King Arthur Baking fan. I use their Everyone’s Favorite Fruitcake recipe and their Mince Tart recipe. Bonus these are favorites of my mom. I will be delivering some of each to her next week.

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