Same with my mom. Not a day goes by when I don't think about her and how much I miss her. Sure, the rest of us are plodding along; I would even go as far as to say we've actually got some routine going. But it isn't much easier now. The pain has not gone away. A co-worker told me it won't ever go away, but it just becomes more bearable as time passes. We'll see.
One thing that my mom during the holidays every year, as far back as I can remember, is bake fruitcake. Her fruitcake was called "light" or "white" fruitcake; it is not the kind of fruitcake which comes in the metal can. That type is laden with fruits and is more fruit than cake. My mom's fruitcake was definitely more cake than fruit. The cake was dense, similar (but not identical) to a poundcake in texture. It was more dense, actually.
And I never liked it (sorry, Mom).
My mom's fruitcake was too intense for me. Her siblings in town actually loved her fruitcake. In fact, I would always hear UJohn ask her when she was going to make it. I much preferred it when, on rare occasion, she strayed and made a more poundcake-like version. In hindsight, I think she made it so she could say how much she preferred her version.
There will be none of my mom's fruitcake this year. At least no rendition of it will come from my kitchen. Instead, I will be making the fruitcake I like. My fruitcake is like the "other" version which my mom would make, the one with the poundcake texture and flavor, studded here and there with bits of candied fruit (I fondly recall Pennant brand in the tubs) and pecans (Mom used walnuts). There will also be no raisins. One thing I remember was my mom adding whiskey to the batter. My recipe has no whiskey, but I highly recommend generously brushing the finished loaves with rum. The rum will add a nice flavor and help keep the cake moist. My friend Sid's mom would actually soak cheesecloth in whiskey or rum and wrap each loaf in the alcohol-soaked cheesecake prior to wrapping in plastic.
Oh, I'm certain my mom's family will ask if I plan to carry the fruitcake-making torch. I will politely shake my head. No point in leading them on only to end up with unfulfilled expectations.
click on recipe title for printable recipe
1 c butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 c flour, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 c assorted dried/candied fruit
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/4 c rum
Grease and flour 5 mini loaf pans (cut parchment to fit bottom) or 1 tube pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 2 c flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, toss 1/4 c flour, fruit, and nuts until all coated. Fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). If using mini loaf pans, a little more than 3 #10 dishers will go into each pan. Bake for 45 minutes (mini loaves) or 1 hour and 20 minutes (tube pan). Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan and set on wire rack. Brush top and sides of cake with rum. Cool completely then wrap with plastic wrap.
*NMMR=Not My Mother's Recipe