Mrs. Swan’s Christmas cake.
Years ago, Louella’s childhood friend, Mrs. Edith Swan in Hull, Georgia, yearned for an easy-to-make version of the classic Fruitcake. Over the years, she succeeded in coming up with her own recipe for a very rich and delicious (but much lighter) Christmas cake that delivered an abundance of candied red and green cherries, candied pineapple, and savory southern pecans. Make no mistake, even with a lot less fruit, this heavenly concoction is still VERY rich and not without the requisite calories demanded by our decadent flavor libidos during this joyous season. After all, this awesome cake does contain a full pound of farm-fresh butter. Unlike traditional fruitcakes, Mrs. Swan’s Christmas cake isn’t anywhere near as dense, heavy, or filling as a traditional fruitcake would be, but it does virtually scream for a steaming cup of hot coffee (or tea) as a partner in “calorie crime.”
This recipe is not fictional; it is the real deal, and if you decide to bake it, it will take its place as an often-used chapter in your baking repertoire. This cake makes grown men weak in the knees and has been known to propel unsuspecting women to WeightWatchers meetings all over the State of Georgia.
So, here it is: Mrs. Swan’s Christmas Cake!
Preheat your oven to temperature of 275 degrees.
1 pound fresh butter (at room temperature)
1 box light-brown or dark-brown sugar
1 oz. Lemon Extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 pound candied red and green cherries (total of 1/2 pound)
1/2 pound diced candied pineapple
2 cups chopped pecans. (optional)
In a large bowl, measure out your flour.
In a separate bowl, place 1/4 cup or so of your measured flour and mix all of your candied fruit and nuts into it. (This keeps your fruit from clumping together.)
Hint: Louella chops the nuts and fruit slightly. Mrs. Swan always kept hers whole.
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and brown sugar (until light and fluffy)
Add lemon extract and mix.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix.
Gradually add flour to the egg/flour mixture and mix well. Scrape down sides often.
Stir in the fruit and nuts.
Pour into a greased and floured, or Pammed, Tube or Bundt pan. Louella uses PAM.
Bake until done (a toothpick probe will come out clean).
Hint: Mrs. Swan’s oven takes two hours, fifteen minutes. Depending upon you own individual oven, result may vary by a few minutes.