A few years ago, my mother-in-law Gayle invited me to help her with the annual Christmas Cake extravaganza. The day when she bakes about 15 loaves of fruit cake. The recipe was handed down to her from her mother-in-law, and with each passing down substitutions and alterations are encouraged to suit personal preference.
I am no fruit cake snob. I love it all. I know I'm not supposed to love candied cherries, but I do. Despite this, I decided that my alterations would be healthy ones. Gayle's recipe called for 3 lbs of candied cherries. I swapped out all of them for dried fruit soaked over night in liquor (to make up for the syrup that the cherries are in). The green and red of traditional Christmas Cake comes from the dried cherries, cranberries, green raisins and pumpkin seeds. I also swapped sour cream for Greek yogurt for extra protein.
Every year, my sister Angela comes up with some hair-brained scheme to save money over the holidays. It usually involves me having to cook or bake something that she can give away to all of her friends. Luckily, we have many mutual friends, so it is of some help to me too. This year I suggested the fruit cake wrapped in reusable wrap made of cotton fabric and beeswax.
Anne was quite insistent that I name my cake in order to make it my own. It wasn't much easier than naming my baby! Angela made some passing comment about "the survival loaf" and then it hit me how hilarious of a name that would be - as we were delivering to friends on December 21st, 2012. Happily we all survived the end of the world, and I like to think that the Holiday Survival Cake played a small part in that.
I also got to use my early Christmas present - the Kitchenaid stand mixer.
|Weighing fruit beside the beautiful mixer.|