Growing up, I never really understood fruitcake jokes, because Mom’s Chocolate Fruitcake was something you waited for all year. A rich, fudgy bundt cake baked with Jack Daniel’s in the batter and studded with chocolate chips, chopped pecans, raisins, maraschino cherries and candied pineapple pieces.
Oh, you don’t even know.
It’s unconventional and delicious and slightly trashy, and I wish I had a great, epic story about the making of this fruitcake. Something like Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” with Mom using a dilapidated baby carriage to gather pecans and buying bootleg whiskey down by the river. But actually, she starts with a cake mix (devil’s food with pudding), moistens it with Jack Daniel’s and sour cream (instead of oil and water) and a few eggs, and stirs in all the good stuff.
Pair a dark, chocolaty slice with an embarrassingly mountainous dollop of freshly whipped cream, and you’ll understand why I have no idea whether it really can last two weeks in the fridge.
Chocolate Spirit Fruitcake
Adapted from “Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Cookbook”
Yield: 12 to 15 servings
- 1 18.5 ounce package devil’s food pudding cake mix
- 1/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and halved
- 1 cup candied pineapple pieces, halved
- 1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
- Corn syrup (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup fluted tub pan.
- In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cake mix, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, sour cream and eggs on low speed until moistened, then beat for 2 minutes on high speed.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the corn syrup.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center. Cool for 20 minutes. Turn out on a rack and cool completely.
- To serve, brush warm corn syrup on the top for a glossy finish. Slice thinly for serving.
STORAGE: Cake will keep for two weeks wrapped tightly in foil or plastic and stored in the refrigerator.