Here's a favorite recipe that Rick and I make each Christmas; follow it EXACTLY and you will have a fruitcake that is out of this world. I promise, even non-fruitcake eaters will ask for another slice of this creation. This recipe does not require anything other than your two hands, a can opener, and 15 minutes of prep time. It can be made up to 3 months in advance or at the last-minute, which is pretty much how I roll in December.
The World's Greatest Fruitcake
14 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
8 oz. chopped, sugar rolled dates
16 oz. pecan pieces
8 oz. candied cherries
8 oz. diced candied pinapple
2 (14 oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the coconut, dates and pecans in a large bowl. Use your hands to break up chunks and blend. Add the cherries, pineapple and sweetened condensed milk and mix very well with your hands. Let this sit at room temperature while you prepare the pans.
Loaf Pans: 2 - 9x5 or 4 - 3x6 loaf pans (I use 4 and give these little cakes as gifts). Line the pans with a strip of parchement paper so that you will be able to lift the finished cake up out of the pan. Spray the paper lined pan with PAM.
Mix the cake batter again, and then divide the batter equally between your pans. Pack the mixture VERY TIGHTLY and smoothly into the pans. Wet your hands so they won't stick to the batter.
Place the pans on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour or until lightly browned around all 4 sides.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Then gently lift the edges of the paper to release the cakes, use a sharp knife to loosen the edges of the cake if needed. Turn the pan upside down on the cooling rack and lift the pan off of the cake by pulling up on the parchment paper flaps. Let the cakes cool completely. Refrigerate the cakes overnight. Do not wrap the cakes yet. The next day, turn the cakes upside down to slice and wrap the slices in parchement or waxed paper. Refrigerate up to 3 months or freeze for up to 1 year.