The clock’s ticking on getting traditional fruitcakes done by next week — but all’s not lost! My pal Frank Morgan’s Nanna Jepson from Walpole, Mass, passed down this recipe for a light, white fruitcake that is good to go as soon as comes out of the oven. Sweet, cakey, colorful. It will stand out on a holiday buffet and better still, those bah-humbug “I hate fruit cake” cranks will be hard pressed not to nibble on this welcoming loaf.
This pristine Jepson light fruitcake recipe is admittedly a tad waspy. But what a wonderful counterpart to the more familiar dark, sticky genre. I’m not saying choose one over the other — Christmas ain’t done ’til it’s overdone, so two fruitcakes are de rigueur for a truly lavish Christmas spread.
Nanna Jepson’s fruitcake calls to mind the pristine white clapboard churches that are the focal point of small towns from Massachusetts to Maine. Proud and beautiful in their honest simplicity. In contrast, Mrs. Merino’s Fruitcake recipe evokes a more Roman Catholic vibe — elaborate, mysterious, the suffering of saints on display, sunlight dimmed by stained glass.
Cream together 1/2 c. of butter and 1 3/4 c. sugar
Add 3 eggs and stir
Mix in alternately 3 c. flour and 3/4 c. milk
Add 1 c. white raisins, 1 c.chopped walnuts, 1 c. mixed dried fruit
Add 1 T. almond extract and 1 T. vanilla extract
Toss fruit with 1 T flour so fruit doesn’t stick.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hour; test with a tooth pick
makes 1 loaf