Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Kally's Kentucky Fruitcake Is The Best Ever!

All photos and recipe by Rita Mackin Fox
Ready or not, the holidays are coming. Today I'm sharing my schoolmate, Rita Mackin Fox's Kentucky (Bourbon) Fruitcake. This is not your typical yucky fruitcake. People who don't like fruitcake, agree on how scrumptious this recipe is! 

As well as her culinary skills, Rita is a talented writer with many worldwide fans. For her Romance novels, she writes under the pen name Kallypso Masters. "Like" her Facebook page to find other delicious recipes, information and entertainment. Thanks, dearest Rita (mostly for being you, and) for letting me share your mother's recipe, plus giving my readers a chance to connect with yours!

Kally's Kentucky Fruitcake 

Makes 3 regular loaves, or one 5+ pound loaf: Rita says, "It can take 6 weeks, from start to finish, so don't wait too long to start!"


4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large whole eggs
1/2 cup bourbon (this is just for the cake recipe, not the soaking).
4 cups pecan pieces, soaked in bourbon
1 pound candied cherries (8 oz each of the red and green)
8 ounces raisins, or Craisins, soaked in bourbon
8 ounces candied pineapple
1/2 cup orange marmalade (Rita doesn’t like citron, and this is SO much tastier.)


pecan halves and red/green whole cherries to decorate the top of cake(s)
cheesecloth (a package of 6-yards, cut into three relatively equal sections will do it)
1 - 1.5 litres of fine Kentucky bourbon (Rita prefers sourmash.)   


1) At least the night before mixing and baking the cake (and even several days or a week before is okay), soak raisins/Craisins and nuts in bourbon in separate containers. Says Rita: "I just put the pecans into a quart Mason jar and the raisins/Craisins into a pint jar, cover with bourbon, and put them in the fridge until I’m ready for them. They will plump up with the liquor, so don’t overfill the jars, but try to keep the fruit and nuts covered in bourbon."

2) Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and another rack below it on the lowest spot. Put a pan of water on the lowest rack. This will add moisture to the oven when baking. Heavily butter a 10-inch tube pan or three loaf pans. Set aside.

3) Sift the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg into a medium bowl.

4) In a separate, large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating with a mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending completely after each addition.

5) Drain the bourbon from the raisins and nuts. Measure out and set aside 1/2 cup of the bourbon for later. Pour the rest into a small bowl and add the strips of cheesecloth to soak it up. We NEVER waste good Kentucky bourbon! Set aside.

6) Preheat oven to 325 F.

7) Add the flour mixture to the eggs in two additions, alternating with the 1/2 cup bourbon. Stir in the pecans, marmalade, raisins/Craisins, pineapple, and cherries.

8) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s). Rita sometimes decorates the top with bourbon-soaked pecan halves and red/green whole cherries, but that's optional. 

9) Bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. APPROXIMATE baking times (ovens vary; also consider altitude adjustments):

  • coffeecake pan or tube pan: about 1-3/4 to 2 hours. (Rita’s is usually done within the 1-3/4 hour.)
  • bread loaf pan: 75-90 minutes
  • 5-inch gift size pans: 60-75 minutes

10) If the top of the cake begins to brown substantially before the cake is set, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.

11) Remove the cake(s) from the oven and let cool 15-30 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife down the sides to help loosen the cake from the pan. If you made a huge ring cake, before or after turning the cake out, you might want to cut it into three wedges (unless it will be given whole as a gift--and then good luck getting it out without having it break up; Rita's always brakes up). That's why she goes with wedges when she uses a ring pan.

12) When completely cool, wrap each section in a 2-yard strip of bourbon-soaked cheesecloth until covered in several layers.

13) Place the cake(s) in airtight, leak-free containers. (For a ring cake, Rita uses a large Rubbermaid or Tupperware container big enough to fit three loaf-pan sized cakes.) 

14) Liberally, but slowly (so more of it can soak in), pour bourbon over the cake(s). It's okay if liquid is swimming at the bottom a bit in the first week. If you do have a lot of liquid in the bottom, you might not need to add more. Once or twice a day, flip the cakes over so that the bourbon will run back through the cake slowly. Do this for 2-3 weeks, but when you don’t see any standing bourbon at the bottom of the container any longer, and the bottom is no longer “soggy,” you can quit turning it. After a few weeks to a month where no liquid bourbon has been visible, it should be ready to serve or gift, but the cake will keep for months (some even say years). No rush!

This is the best fruitcake you will ever eat! Unlike most, these friutcakes make wonderful gifts!


  1. I must admit that I am not a fan of fruit cake; however, this recipe does look very good. I do have a recipe for whiskey cake, which I haven't made in years but remember that everyone seemed to love. I may just have to either try this myself or share it w/one of my southern friends who keep Bourbon handy.

    I'll let you know.

  2. Oh, please do let me know, M-T. Homemade is always better so I can see liking a cake you normally don't if store bought. With all the Bourbon soaked up by this loaf, you may find yourself in a state where you love everybody and everything!😊