All the recipes here would be called artisan...made with traditional and imported ingredients, non mechanized equipment and assembled by elbow grease.
From 50 years of watching southern cooks set aside a whole day to the sacrament of making these bejeweled creations, listening to hours of discussion including warnings about baking or steaming them, I have seen many a cook fall in a chair in a state of despair when a fruit cake turns out to be not up to standard. I would guess from very personal experience that it takes at least three days to recover strength to try again.
I heard my Aunt Sarah say every year since I can remember...’’ l have never made a dark fruit cake black and moist enough since we did away with mama’s stove. You could pour brandy over it to sit for a month and the texture would be up to producing almost paper thin slices that the light would shine through like a stained glass window...and moist and almost black.’’
Then she would give you a slice of this gorgeous black fruitcake that was bitingly aggressive with hints of chocolate, raisins, spices and molasses lovingly cohabitating intimately with brandy, bright red cherries, glistening citron and pineapple crystallized to perfection. And there was no use trying to convince her it was devilishly divine.
All the women in my family had fruit cake and or plum puddings during the holidays.
The Wallis Windsor white fruit cake is almost identical to ‘’Miz Adickes’ Fruit Cake.’’ Wallis Windsor was the wife of the abdicated King of England, Edward the eighth. She was a Baltimore girl of high breeding who had to push all her life against genteel poverty and homely looks. Not to mention being an orphan raised by Aunt Bessie and educated at a fine girls school by a pecuniary uncle who let her wardrobe run ragged and her shoes have holes in them. She married twice, stepping upward to respectability and developing a sense of style that made her a fashion and entertaining icon after marrying the King who adored her to the end of her days. Still, she was never satisfied.
‘Miz’ Adickes’ White Fruit Cake contains most of the identical ingredients in what is now called
The Windsor fruit cake created by the Windsor’s chef...full name Jean-Louis - Pierre Auge...
who created it from Wallis’s memory of her Aunt Bessies white fruit cake. A dark version is available from Assumption abbey.org/ fruitcakes ($35).
If you want to buy a white fruit cake delicate enough for Wallis, Miz Adicks’and The Wall Street Journal’s food column, order California chef Robert Lambert’s white fruit cake at
Following is Mrs. Adickes’ fruitcake....the queen of white fruitcakes in the county of York. If you add candied ginger, Brazil nuts, candied lime peel and blood orange and bergamot, you will be incorporating the Wallis cake ingredients.
Order rose water from CaswellMassey.com.
ELEGANT WHITE FRUIT CAKE BY MRS. ADICKES
3/4 Pound butter
1 pound flour
1 pound sugar
12 egg whites beaten stiffly
1 fresh coconut grated
1 pound slivered and cut blanched almonds
1 pound crystallized citron cut small
1/2 pound crystallized red cherries
1/2 pound pineapple crystallized cut small
2 teaspoons baking powder
Juice of lemon
Cream butter, add sugar, flour and egg whites. Add 5 of the yellows. Have fruit, almonds and coconut in bowl..sprinkle some flour over and rub together to keep from sticking. Add to first mixture. Add flavoring. Put in greased and floured cake pan with steeple. Bake at 300 degrees about 3 hours. Mrs. Adickes used a pan of water in oven on lower rack/
Black fruit cake, British plum pudding, Scottish plum duff next week.
Also icing recipes for the traditional wedding fruit cake of the British Isles. The grooms cake is iced in chocolate and the brides in vanilla white.
Take a piece of cake home with you and put it under your pillow. You will dream of your future mate. English weddings often have small boxes containing slices of bride’s cake tied with ribbon to take home with you as a remembrance.