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Prohibiton Fruit Cakes (Not as much of an oxymoron as one might think)

[During Prohibition, substitute liquids had to be found for the traditional but now forbidden liquor in fruit cakes. This recipe, from Every Woman's Cook Book by Mrs. Chas. A Moritz, published by the Cupples & Leon Company in 1926, still lists the traditional ingredients, but also suggests legal substitutes.]

                        FRUIT CAKE
  1 lb. butter                                 12 eggs
  1 lb. sugar                                   1 teaspoon ground cloves
  1 lb. flour (sifted)                         1 teaspoon ground allspice
  1 lb. seeded raisins                       1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  2 lbs. currants                            1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 lb. shelled almonds (cut fine)   1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. shelled pecans (cut fine)        1 teaspoon soda (sifted)
1/2 lb. citron (cut fine)                     1 wineglass wine
1/4 lb. crystalized pineapple (cut       1 wineglass whisky (grape juice
       fine)                                               may be substituted for liquor)
2/3 pkg. dates (cut fine)            1/4 lb. candied cherries (cut fine)
 
  Wash and clean currants, dry in warm place.  Separate raisins.
Dry all fruit by rubbing with an extra one-quarter cup flour.
  Cream butter soft, add sugar gradually, mix until light, add well-
beaten egg yolks.  Add stiffly-beaten whites.  Add wine, whisky,
or grape juice alternately with flour.  Stir in spices and salt.  Add
nuts and fruits alternately until all are used and well mixed in.
  Sift in soda with teaspoon flour that was reserved.  (Do not add
soda until just before putting cakes in oven or they will fall.)
  Bake in very slow oven three and one-half to four hours.  This
quantity will make one large cake or two medium size ones.
  When cakes are done, invert pans on large plate or board, do not
force from pans, they will drop out.  After standing a day to harden,
cakes should be wrapped in cloth saturated whisky, if they are
to be kept for a long time.  Cakes should always be kept in tin box.
Apple peeling put in cake-box will keep fruit cake moist.  Cakes may
be steamed in oven five hours, then dried out one hour if preferred.

[notes: It is probable that "seeded raisins" refers to white raisins, white grapes being, to the best of my knowledge, the only seedless kind at this time.
Use small eggs, or about 8-9 medium ones.
"very slow oven" -- Probably about 250-275 degrees F., judging by similar recipes.
"wine" -- Other recipes in this book specify "home made wine," an acknowledegement that the store-bought kind wasn't available.]


[This recipe, from A Modern Kitchen Guide, published in 1934 by Sears, Roebuck and Co., uses grape, orange, and lemon juice.]

                  CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE
      1 cup brown sugar                  3/4 teaspoon salt
      1 cup butter                               1 pound raisins
      6 eggs                                        1 pound currants
    1/4 cup lemon juice                   1/2 pound sliced citron
    1/4 cup grape juice                    1/4 pound candied lemon rind
    1/4 cup orange juice                  1/4 pound candied orange rind
      2 cups bread flour                      1 package dates
      4 teaspoons baking powder      1/4 pound almonds
  1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon            1/2 cup candied cherries
    1/2 teaspoon mace                      1/2 teaspoon soda
    1/2 teaspoon allspice

  Combine sugar and butter.  Break in one egg at a time and beat well.
Add spices sifted with flour, baking powder and soda, alternate with
the fruit juices.  Add floured fruit last.  Bake slowly in moderate oven
(250 degrees) for 2 1/2 hours.  Fill baking pan 2/3 full of mixture, on which
arrange cherries and blanched almonds in flower fashion or in rows.

[note: Use small eggs, or about 4-5 medium ones.]


Substitute liquids in other fruit cake recipes in this era include coffee and milk.


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