Let me say right up front - fruitcake gets a bad rap. My theory is that many object to the darker types, with lots of spice and molasses. Or the sheer size or amount of this rich cake is enough to last folks til next Christmas. You will be pleasantly surprised though with Mrs. Harvey’s White Fruitcake. In the ’50s, Lucile Harvey submitted a recipe to The Tampa Tribune for a fruitcake – she won $5 and second place! But for the next several years, the newspaper got so many requests that they finally reprinted it – and the popularity of that recipe continues to grow ~ so much that the recipe is now reprinted in the Trib each year right after Thanksgiving, and HAS BEEN FOR THE PAST 60 YEARS. Mrs Harvey died in the mid ’80s, but her fruitcake recipe lives on as her memorial. Compare this to other fruitcake recipes and you’ll see why it’s so special. Pecans, candied cherries and candied pineapple - but no mixed candied citron. That’s for starters. Then there’s no spice at all; instead are the refreshing flavors of vanilla extract and lemon extract. To be correct, with the butter and eggs, this is actually a blonde not white fruitcake. Regardless of color, most everyone I’ve shared it with loves it. To be on the safe side I usually gift fruitcakes in petite or small sizes. That way, no one can say “too much fruitcake!” With Mrs. Harvey’s, in my opinion, there’s no such thing as too much!
There are endless possibilities for pans or tins to bake fruitcake. You can use one 10-inch tube pan or large fruitcake tin for the whole recipe; 2 or 3 medium loaf pans; 6 or 7 mini loaf pans 5 1/2 x 3 1/2, or 18 to 24 petite loaf pans 4" x 2 1/2, depending on desired fill amount.
Whichever you choose, it is best to line them with parchment paper, clean brown paper bag paper cut to size, foil, or for smaller loaf sizes, commercial paper liners. I don't find the need to grease them or spray. The liner helps them release from pan without tearing, and protects fruits and nuts.
Chop nuts and fruit into medium-size pieces (see photo for approximate size). Dredge with 1/4 cup of the flour (see photo); set aside.
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and lemon extracts.
Stir together remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder in medium bowl; fold into butter-egg mixture. Using strong wooden spoon, blend in fruit and nuts (batter will be stiff.)
Push batter into prepared pan(s).
Place in cold oven and turn the oven to 250 degrees.
When done, the fruit cake will be golden and firm on top with no wetness, and golden brown on sides and bottom (see photos).
Remove from oven; cool in pans on cake rack. Remove wrappers or liners if desired and re-wrap in plastic wrap or foil. (Batter has a lot of butter so liners might be greasy.)
Approximate baking time:
FOR 10-INCH TUBE PANS OR LARGE FRUIT CAKE TIN: Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check cake 1 hour before earliest done time and again 30 minutes before to make sure it doesnât over bake.
FOR MEDIUM LOAF PAN SIZES: 1 3/4 to 2 hours; check one half hour before earliest time to make sure it doesnât over bake.
MINI LOAF PANS: About 1 to 1 1/4 hours total; check after 50 minutes.
PETITE LOAF PANS: About 45 - 50 minutes total; check after 35 minutes.
Yield: 4 1/2 pounds of fruitcake, or 24 servings (3-ounce generous slice size.)