In case you want to try Rosalie's recipe, here it is. It makes 18 pounds of fruitcake.
Rosalie Kovarik's Fruitcake
1 1/2 pounds margarine (Imperial or Blue Bonnet is preferred)
2 1/2 cups brown sugar (either light or dark)
1 1/2 cups sugar
15 eggs, separated
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 cup juice (raspberry or cranberry)
1 cup blackberry wine (reserve more for basting)
FRUIT AND NUTS:
2 1/2 pounds pecans
1 1/2 pounds pitted and chopped dates, sugared
1 1/2 pounds golden raisins
2 1/2 pounds dark raisins
3 1/2 pounds combined diced candied fruits (cherries, pineapple, lemon peel, orange peel)
1. Batter: Cream margarine, add sugars and beat until smooth. Add egg yolks one at a time until incorporated.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with juice and wine, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
2. Fruit and nuts: In separate large bowl or dish pan, combine and coat fruit and nuts with about 1 cup flour (more if needed), to prevent sticking together.
3. Add batter to fruit mixture and mix thoroughly by hand.
4. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.
5. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place a pan of hot water in the oven.
6. Place batter into whatever size pans you wish. (Rosalie lines her pans with two thicknesses of waxed paper.) A 5-pound ring cake made in a tube pan usually takes 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Fruitcake looks done and also feels done to the touch when baked through. All ovens vary slightly; you have to use your own judgment. Teacake size in paper cup-lined tins take about 1 hour.
7. After the cakes have baked for about an hour, remove from oven and decorate tops with cherries, blanched almonds or pecans. (Rosalie puts decorations on minicakes before baking.)
8. Remove from oven and place pans on cooling rack. Immediately pour as much blackberry wine on top of the loaves as they will readily absorb, about 1/3 cup for a large ring cake, for example.
9. Let cool for 24 hours, then remove cake from pans and remove waxed paper. With pastry brush, baste all sides with wine. Wrap in plastic paper and store in a cool dark place.
Baker's notes: If cakes look dry, brush again with wine. They slice best when refrigerated, but could keep indefinitely and can be frozen.
Advice on making fruitcake
Beaten egg whites make fruitcake "lighter."
Mix the batter into the fruit and nuts by hand. It's the only way to get a good consistency in the dough.
When you buy candied fruit, look for the kind that doesn't have any citron, or very little. Rosalie said it makes the fruit bitter.
Dusting the fruit and nuts with flour keeps them from sticking together.
Low and slow is the way to bake fruitcake. Set the oven at 250 degrees and be patient. Fruitcake is dense, so it takes a while to bake, and even longer to cool.
Don't wrap until completely cooled.
Put a pan of hot water in the oven when baking the fruitcake. It helps maintain moisture.