Saturday, December 21, 2013

Vintage Memories and Paleo Loaf aka Fruitcake

We used to get a box of goodies from my grandmother. I think I waxed poetic before about the fudge and date nut cookies. But I love, absolutely loved the fruitcake cookies and fruit cake. Guess that makes me a bit weird. Fruitcake is one of those things that folks either love or hate. But for me, it is all about stoking memories of  bygone times by making vintage recipes.

I am all about vintage these days as I will be starting an etsy shop sometime in the new year focused on table top arrangements designed to invoke memories of the past of whatever decade. Gotta balance out the writing with a different kind of creativity. My market will be those who love vintage and also those who want something to spark conversation and memories with relatives and friends in nursing homes or the hospital.

The picture of me and my sisters in buns inspired the search for an angel with the same hairdo. The ornament on the top of the tree is from when I was little.
Isn't it funny how a recipe, a picture, a statue, a scent bring the past rushing back?

Did you have one of these?

Or did you have these on your Christmas cupcakes at preschool?

Did you have one of the mass produced fruit cakes that was all fake corn-syrup soaked fruit at Grandma's?  Or was it just about getting a candy cane at her house?

Here is a recipe that evokes the memory of fruitcake but is better for you and good to eat in the first place. None of that corn syrup-laden almost fake fruit. (Though I do miss the glazed cherries in all their red neon glory.) So you can make a new fruitcake memory! Maybe a better one, depending on who you are!


Gluten Free Fruitcake (adapted from

Note: You can make this recipe more paleo (low carb) by deleting some of the fruit and all of the sugar. If you sub out the fruit, be sure to add in the same amount of nuts.

1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup dried cherries

1 teaspoon lemon rind (dehydrated) or 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon rind

1 teaspoon orange rind (dehydrated)

1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup figs and 1/2 cup chopped dates (or any combination to make 1 1/2 cup dried fruit)

1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1 cup chopped almonds (or any combination to make  2 cups nuts) 

1 cup gluten free baking mix

1/2 cup sugar (or none if you want to rely on the sweetness of the fruit)

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten well

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Put cherries and peel in orange juice to soak thirty minutes. Then drain, reserving liquid for later by storing in fridge.

Combine fruit, rind, and nuts.

Sift baking mix and salt.

Add to bowl and mix well.

Make sure the fruit and nuts are coated by the baking mix and looks like this!

Lightly stir in beaten eggs to moisten but don't over mix.

Spoon mixture into a buttered parchment lined large loaf pan. Drop pan on counter to get rid of air bubbles.

Bake at 300 for 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours (or longer) depending on how hot your oven runs and if you use a non-stick pan. Test with toothpick.

Immediately after taking the pan out of the oven, pour reserved orange juice over the loaf while hot.

Cool in baking pan for 30 minutes.

Transfer to wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

So what do you make this time of year that evokes a memories of Christmas or holidays long past? Have you gone paleo and are good during the holidays or do you set aside restrictions in your diet for the holidays?


  1. Gluten free door stops aka fruit cake!!! Who knew?? Actually I am one of the few people who actually likes fruit cake.

    1. I consider it a great fiber filled treat but I totally get the door stop! Talk about something dense.

  2. Fruit cake gets a bad rap. It's only fruited spice cake and I love spice cake! Love the pics of you and your sisters with buns!! That was the dress-up hairdo!

    1. Yes it was. Buns for everyone! And smocked dresses.

  3. JULIE!!!! Oh, I'm a fruit cake lover too, with some kind of "hard sauce"... one that doesn't taste alcoholic. I like the spicy flavor and the fruit/nut mix but I'm the only one who does so I haven't made one in forever.... What a fun walk down memory lane, though!

    Do you guys remember Polly Flinders dresses? I would get those at garage sales for my girls. They were crazy pricey but at garage sale prices, affordable and beautiful smocking!

    And I taught myself how to smock for some special occasion dresses. I think Sarah's First Communion dress was one, and it was charming.... With Anne-of-Green-Gables Puff sleeves, LOL!

    I love little girl things because they're so fun. Sturdy boy stuff is fine, but I'm so glad to have a few little girls to buy ruffles, lace, glitter and faux fur for! #HAPPY!!!!

    1. Ohhhhh, I loved those dresses. And that I am not alone in fruitcake love.

  4. Julie, this looks great! I don't really like fruit cake, but hubby's parents used to order one for us each year from a place that made amazing ones. (Don't remember the company now, though.) I'll have to give this a go!

    I love vintage ornaments and decorations! I think your new business will do really well.

    1. Was it Southern Supreme out of Bear Creek NC? That is pretty famous around here. And they ship everywhere.

      We will see how the business goes. But it will be great to exercise a different part of my creativity. I am sure that will energize my writing as well.