A fruitcake without brightly colored fruit. Based on Judy Lawson's "Mom's Fruit Cake."


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups brown sugar, light or dark
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour, separated
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup raisins plumped in coffee
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins plumped in coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cups mixed candied fruit (e.g., cherries, cranberries, pineapple)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped nuts (e.g., walnuts, pecans, almonds)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper and spray with vegetable spray.
  3. Cream together the shortening and brown sugar (about 4 minutes). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, except for the reserved flour.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the liquid ingredients.
  6. Alternate adding the sifted ingredients and liquid ingredients into the egg/sugar mixture.
  7. In the bowl that contained the flour mixture, add the fruits and nuts. Mix in the reserved flour. Stir into the batter.
  8. Bake at 300 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until done.
  9. Let cool completely in the pans on a rack.
  10. Remove and brush with brandy.
  11. Wrap in plastic and store in an airtight container. Check every few days and brush top with brandy if dry.


The original recipe called for using Jack Daniels in the cake batter. I used Irish whiskey because I didn't have any Jack Daniels.

In the original recipe, the cooled cakes are wrapped in a wine-soaked cotton towel or cheesecloth before storing.

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