We call him "Dad" and he has a connection to all of us at a Busy Nest. He has been making this Brazil Nut Cake for 20 years and it puts standard fruit cake to shame. Take it away Dad!
A friend in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Elaine Morehead, gave this recipe to me nearly 20 years ago and I've made it almost every Christmas since. I've wanted to experiment with it, so this year I did. The recipe follows and I'll then tell how I changed it this time.
Brazil Nut Fruitcake
3 cups Brazil nuts (2 pounds unshelled, 1 pound shelled)
1 pound chopped dates
1 cup red and green maraschino cherries (drained) (I usually use 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line greased loaf pans (2 regular size pans or 4 or five small pans) with wax paper or brown paper (I also spray the wax paper with a cooking spray, such as PAM).
Place in a large bowl the nuts, dates, and cherries (if you chop whole dates or if they are not powdered, roll the chopped dates in flour or powdered sugar to separate).
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt over the mixture. Mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Slowly mix in the vanilla to the eggs. Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until the mixture is fully coated. Place the mixture into the pans. Space pans in oven and cook 1 hour and 45 minutes (reduce time about 15 minutes if using small pans; check with a tooth pick).
Remove from oven and let cool before serving (it is easier to remove the wax paper from the cake if it is done while the cake is still warm).
This year, I increased the recipe by 50% and used a variation of ingredients. I simply added half again the amount of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and cherries. I used just one extra egg. Instead of increasing the Brazil nuts and dates, I added a cup of pecans and chopped dried mission figs.
I think my experiment was successful but I’ll see how it goes with those who try it. We tried one small loaf and the Empty Nester was not excited about the figs; she didn’t like the crunching of the fig seeds when chewing it. I’m sure it will all be gone shortly after Christmas. I’ll probably tinker with it some more. Maybe, use equal parts Brazil nuts, pecan, and walnuts. Maybe find another dried fruit to use with the dates.