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Jamaica Light Fruitcake

November 26, 2009


~ Patty ~


This is Patty’s response to the question “where did the Aunt Eva’s Mud Hen Bar’s recipe come from?”. 

The recipe is from my Mary Hart Favorite Recipes published in 1979. She was the Food Editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for many years.  It is one of my FAVORITE cookbooks. I have yet to find one of her recipes that hasn’t become one of our favorites as well!


Some of you may remember she came out to our house to interview me about getting you to eat your lunch.  I served her my Jamaican Fruit Cake. Our picture appeared in the paper with our cowboy hats and I was strumming my ukulele. We were singing “Polly Wolly Doodle All The Day” I was pregnant with Sean, so the picture was of Kevin, JP, Mary and Katy.

Food does bring back memories, doesn’t it?



You could let that fruit soak forever and it wouldn’t hurt it, so I  just started the process the day after Thanksgiving and soaked and stirred it until I was ready to bake fruitcake.


For the final wrapping I remember wrapping it in rum-soaked something….was it cheesecloth?….for many weeks. When I served it to Mary Hart, it was way too early for it to have blended flavors. But, what can you do, she came over on December 4th and I had just made the fruitcake before Thanksgiving.


I’ll bet it would be good with craisins substituted for the currants.  We didn’t have craisins in 1964.


Jamaica Light Fruitcake

From Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook

makes 10 pounds of cake 


     1 pound currants

     1 pound prunes

     1 pound dates

     1 pound seedless raisins

     2 cups dry white wine

     2 cups rum

     6 cups all-purpose flour

     4 teaspoons baking powder

     1 teaspoon cinnamon

     1 teaspoon nutmeg

     2 cups butter, at room temperature

     2 cups granulated sugar

     8 eggs, well beaten

     1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Wash the currants and prunes and dry. Pit the prunes and dates and cut them into small pieces. Mix all the fruits with the wine and rum and let stand three days, stirring every day.  We put ours in a large, gallon size, Ziploc bag and just turned it over every day until we were ready to bake.



2. Preheat oven to slow (300 degrees F.)



3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.



4. Cream the butter, add the sugar and cream well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture gradually, stirring until blended. Fold in the prepared fruit and liquor.



5. Grease four 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/4 inch loaf pans, line with waxed paper and grease the paper. Fill not more than three-quarters full with the batter.



6. Place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom of the oven; place the cakes on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake about three hours. Remove the pan of water thirty minutes before the cakes are done.



7. Remove the cakes with the paper and place on a rack to cool. Wrap in fresh waxed paper or aluminum foil and store in an airtight container in a cool place. Allow at least two weeks, preferably longer, for aging.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2009 11:45 am

    absolutely superb!happy thanksgiving dinner!

  2. November 26, 2009 10:45 pm

    This blog sounds like a great way to share recipes with your family! Great idea. I too grew up in Minnesota, although now I am on the East Coast.

  3. November 28, 2009 7:18 am

    Nice looking fruit cakes!

  4. November 29, 2009 8:20 pm

    Nothing like the fruitcake I’m accustom to seeing! This looks really good, and I agree with you on the craisins. I love those.

  5. November 29, 2009 9:06 pm

    This looks so so awesome. I can’t wait to try these. I love FDM! You guys are so talented!!!

  6. November 29, 2009 9:53 pm

    Love the picture! I’m not a fruit cake fan, but those look good!

  7. November 30, 2009 8:25 am

    Love the photo and the packaging. Now I know what it’s also called the booze cake. hehe.

  8. November 30, 2009 9:18 am

    You had me at “booze.”

  9. November 30, 2009 10:01 am

    Honestly, I’m not that into fruitcake. But your little cakes looks too pretty in the photo.

  10. November 30, 2009 12:09 pm

    What a great story! Lovely fruit cakes!

  11. November 30, 2009 5:46 pm

    My Christmas cake is full of booze too. Don’t feel bad. It’s tradition! 🙂

  12. December 1, 2009 10:45 am

    Booze? Tis the season! I make a version of this and soak for 2 weeks in Grand Marnier! Ooooooh baby! Not grandma’s fruit cake to be sure!

  13. December 12, 2009 12:13 pm

    Love the newspaper clipping! Great story!

  14. Emma permalink
    December 13, 2009 2:19 pm


  15. April 8, 2010 4:49 pm

    I have a very old article from the Mpls Star and Tribune from Mary Hart’s column. It has some great holiday recipes in it and great patterns for crocheting dish cloth tops. I was hoping to find recipes and patterns from her old articles. Does anyone know of a blog, or book created with all those tips and recipes from Mary’s column. I am a Californian now but will always be a Minnesotan at heart. Please email me if anyone out there would like to start a blog with any known Mary Hart tips or recipes. The fruitcake, and especially the nostalgia, look delicious.

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