Joyce is also a chef extraordinaire and had placed a small plate of her homemade fruit cake out on a (pine cone-decorated) counter in the kitchen. Now I am the first one to say: I am NOT a fruit cake aficionado. Those brick-shaped, brandy-soaked cakes loaded with candied fruit are not for me. I used to make them too....gave them as gifts to everyone! (Mea culpa to all who received them in the 60's and 70's and groaned when they saw them coming!) A friend of my mother's, Martha Kirby, gave me the recipe. For those of you who do love old fashioned fruit cakes, I apologize, but I have to be up front here. I am not one of you. And even though I made them for many years, not once did I ever taste one. But my mother said Martha's recipe was to die for. Oh well, sorry, but you're not going to see that old recipe on this blog.
So when Joyce asked us to taste, I was skeptical (those cherries looked suspiciously like candied cherries to me), but I must admit, the slice itself didn't resemble Martha Kirby's fruit cake one bit. And Joyce assured us: "trust me, this isn't like any fruitcake you've ever had. No candied fruit, lots of nuts and it's really special." So we all tried it and she was right. The cake is light and the crunch of the nuts a nice counter to the fruit and cake. I think you might like it too and since Joyce was sweet enough to share the recipe, I hope you have a chance to give it a try.
Joyce's Brazil Nut Fruit Cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Brazil nuts (I suggest 2 1/2 cups of nuts and imagine you could substitute macadamia nuts if you prefer.)
1 pound pitted dates (I used less)
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9x5 inch loaf pan or three 3½ x 5 inch pans. (I used two 3 1/2 by 7 1/2 pans. I also lined the pan with parchment paper and lightly sprayed it with Pam. So much simpler to get out.)
Mix the flour, white sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the nuts, dates, and cherries in flour mixture. (You'll find it easier to do all the mixing with your hands)
Beat the eggs until foamy add the vanilla. Pour the beaten eggs over the nut, fruit and flour mixture. Mix with your hands until combined. Transfer to the prepared pan/pans, pressing down slightly.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator or freeze. Cakes like this are easier to cut after refrigeration. Use a sharp knife.