PAN SIZE BATTER AMOUNT BAKING TIME
9-or 10-inch tube or mold 2-1/2 quarts 3 to 3-1/2 hours
9x5-1/2x3 inch loaf pan 6-1/2 cups 2-1/2 hours
8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2 inch loaf pan 5 cups 2 hours
1-pound coffee can 3-1/2 cups 1 hour 50 minutes
5-1/2x3x2-1/2 inch loaf pan 1-3/4 cups 1-1/2 hours
4-1/2x1-1/2 inch round foil pan 1-1/4 cups 1 hour 25 minutes
6-ounce juice can 1/2 cup 50 minutes
3x1-1/2 inch cupcake pans 1/3 cup each 40 minutes
1-3/4x1 inch cupcake pans 1 rounded tbsp 20 minutes
AGE OR FREEZE? For a fruitcake that will be aged, choose a moist and dense recipe, one that is heavy with dried and candied fruits and nuts, rather than one with more cake in the base. (The latter calls for more eggs and flour proportionate to the total ingredients.) If you want to bake ahead but prefer the cakier varieties, wrap well and freeze them so they won't go stale or moldy. To age a cake, cool completely; wrap in cheesecloth that has been soaked in brandy or rum. Then wrap with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. A garage, unheated bedroom or closet works well.
INGREDIENTS The secret to a good fruitcake is the same as with any good cooking; the ingredients. Select only the best. Rancid nuts and dried out candied fruit will not produce a good cake. If a recipe calls for liquor, add it to the candied fruits after they have been mixed together; let the mixture sit overnight if possible. When preparing the cake batter, reserve some of the flour to mix with the candied fruits before adding them to the batter; this prevents them from sticking together or sinking to the bottom of a thinner batter.
BAKING TIPS Fill pans no more than 2/3 full; press the batter down with a spatula to release air bubbles. Many older recipes don't specify baking temperatures and time. A general rule is 300 degrees F or less. If the cakes seem to be browning too quickly during the long, slow baking, cover top of cake with foil for the rest of the baking period. To keep heavy cakes (those that require more than 1-1/2 hours of baking) from drying out, use on the following methods: 1. Place a
pan of hot water on the bottom of the oven during baking. 2. Place the fruitcake pan on a cookie sheet that's topped with four layers of newspaper that have been soaked in water. If you want to glaze the cakes, apply warmed corn syrup, honey or light molasses with a pastry brush while the cakes are hot from the oven, then decorate with whole nut meats and candied fruit if desired.
PAN SIZES When baking fruitcakes, pan sizes can be changed if baking times are adjusted accordingly. Fill pans no more than 2/3 full. The following are guidelines for pan sizes, amount of batter and baking time in a 300 degree F oven.
Many fruitcakes improve with age. Soaking them in brandy or rum every couple of weeks makes them moist and flavorful. The less fruity ones can be baked, wrapped well and frozen until the holidays. If you think of fruitcakes as the traditional heavy, dark cake loaded with hard citrus peel, citron and candied fruit and say "no thanks," take a look at some of the newer, simpler versions using dried fruits, such as cranberries, cherries, peaches, pears and pineapple.