Fruitcake often gets a bum rap. It's the butt of many Yuletide jokes that usually involve someone trying desparately to pawn it off on someone else, but instead wind up getting it back because no one wants it.

However, fruitcake is really a fine dessert. Certainly, it's a bit heavy. And, like any baked good, it can be truly horrible if prepared by, say, Aunt Ida who can't read the recipe so she uses 2 teaspoons of sugar instead of 2 cups. But, like most baked goods, fruitcake can be blissful if prepared properly by, say, Swiss Colony. Its dense sweetness and candied fruit can't be beat. Try it with egg nog. You'll love it.

Here's one recipe, for Old-Fashioned Light Fruitcake, from the kitchen of Dora Grimm:

Ingredients

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2-1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 Tablespoons brandy flavoring
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 lb.. coarsely chopped pecans (about 6 cups)
1-1/2 lb.. mixed candied fruit and peel (about 4 cups)
15 ounce package golden raisins
honey
Additional candied fruit and nuts, optional

Directions

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after additions; stir in brandy flavoring. Combine dry ingredients, pecans, candied fruit, and raisins; mix well. Add fruit mixture to creamed mixture, blending well. Spoon batter into a well-greased 10-inch tube pan or two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans lined with brown paper. Bake at 275 degrees for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Brush top with honey 30 minutes before cake is done; then decorate top with additional candied fruit and nuts, if desired. Remove from oven when cake tests done; when completely cool, wrap cake tightly in aluminum foil. Store several weeks to allow flavors to mellow.

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