Here's my late friend's unusual recipe:
POLLY'S PEOPLE-PLEASING FRUITCAKE:
3 c applesauce or other fruit sauce
2 c sugar
7 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp nutmeg
1 c preserves or jam, any kind
1-2 c raisins
1-2 c chopped nuts
up to 16 oz. chopped dried fruit or candied fruit
In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring ALL of the above to a boil, stirring often, and boil 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Then stir in:
2 beaten eggs
4 c flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
optional: 1/2-1 cup booze of your choice?
Pour into a greased and floured bundt, tube, or angel food pan and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours. When cool, drizzle with a simple icing of fruit juice and confectioner's sugar, if desired.
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I have made this several times. In addition to the above, I have done all-pear and all-apricot versions that were good. People always look skeptical when they hear the word "fruitcake", then are enthusiastically surprised when they taste it.
Now I want to try an all-cherry version. I do not have cherry sauce so I will puree the drained contents of a jar of TJ's morello cherries. I have dried cherries, TJ cherry preserves, slivered almonds, and amaretto. I will not use raisins, increasing the amount of dried cherries instead. In addition, I have dark chocolate-covered dried cherries that I could also include. I am not keen on the recipe's spices with a cherry profile. I have mahlab, which should be ideal, and also cardamom. How much should I use? I will use a cup of almond meal in place of one of the 4 cups of flour Should I substitute almond extract for vanilla, or will that risk having the almond part drown out the cherry flavor? Also, I plan to use a loaf pan and a few mini-loaf pans so the baking time will be shorter, which means the amaretto flavor may come through more, if less alcohol evaporates.
I'm doing this tomorrow. Any suggestions appreciated.