All ingredients are flexible. Some prefer more butter, some more flour, some fewer cherries and pineapple. Coconut is optional, as are raisins. Dates are acceptable if you prefer them over raisins.
The amount of pecans, a quart is kind of dear if you don't grow your own. You might use walnuts if they are more readily available or even almonds or mixed nuts. Optional spices make a darker cake.
Here's what I put in mine this year:
1 pound of candied cherries
1 pound of candied pineapple
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup of flaked coconut
4 cups of pecans
1 cup of butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla -- you could use half lemon flavoring, or rum flavoring or even brandy.
2 cups of flour.
I use self rising flour. If you use plain, you'll likely need to add a bit of baking powder but if you beat the batter a long time, it's like pound cake, not necessary.
Dredge all the fruits and nuts in a little of the flour. I leave everything whole. Chop if you wish before you dredge.
Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time, add the flavoring, then the flour, divided, just like making a pound cake.
Pour the batter over the dredged fruits and nuts. Mix well -- a real task.
Bake at 350º for 30 minutes, then 1 hour at 250º -- check for doneness before removing from oven.
Oh, did I talk about greasing the pans and putting wax paper in the bottom? Do that.
This makes 6 pounds of fruitcake. I baked mine in a big tube pan and two small loaf pans. You could put it in a tube pan and only one loaf for thicker cakes, or make several small cakes for gifts.
Fruitcake is an art, not a science. We've never had one we couldn't eat.
After the cake cools, immediate begin to eat one of the small loaves. The rest of the cakes should be wrapped in waxed paper or Cheesecloth and put into an airtight container with an apple or two until Christmas or a time you get a notion to eat the cake. All that soaking in spirits is another optional treatment that I do not do. I like cake and I like fruits and I like nuts. I am not so fond of the taste of spirits, so I just leave off that part.
Claxton fruitcake was on sale at the grocery and He Who Mows bought one. It tastes of citron, but it's still delicious. There's not much left. It cost $3.99 on sale. Six pounds would cost about $27.00 with the tax, cheaper than baking homemade.