Grandma’s Christmas Applesauce Fruitcake

When we were visiting my husband’s family in Las Vegas, my mother in law asked if I wanted to make her mom’s Christmas applesauce fruitcake.  Did she even need to ask?  Of course!  That’s exactly the kind of thing I love to do 🙂  My mother in law said that her mom would make this every Christmas, and that the smell of it baking in the oven always reminds her of the Christmas season.

grandma's applesauce fruitcakeIf you’re thinking that you don’t like fruitcake, you have to try this one!  It’s absolutely delicious…buttery and so satisfying since it is filled with raisins, dates, walnuts and pecans.  My mother in law said she remembers there being maraschino cherries in there, so if you like those you could always add them in for some festive color!  Or substitute craisins for some of the raisins to get some red color in there…it’s an easily adaptable recipe!

grandmas applesauce fruitcakeWe had this handwritten recipe, but weren’t sure how many loaves it would make.  Given that the recipe calls for 10 cups of flour, we were pretty sure it would make a lot…and we were right…it made 6 big loaves and 4 mini loaves, perfect for sharing as gifts!  Patrick’s grandmother and her sister got a job during the war as cooks for the nuns in a convent, so I guess they were used to cooking in large quantities!  By the way, don’t you love handwritten recipes?  There’s just something about reading the person’s handwriting that makes the recipe even more personal and special to me 🙂

malia and grammyDid I mention how much I love my mother in law?  She is such an upbeat, patient, and fun woman to be around…I love our talks and feel like I can go to her for advice whenever I need a listening ear.  Three generations of O’Donnell women in the kitchen here, with Malia doing the hard work 🙂  The smell when this comes out of the oven is heavenly, just like my mother in law said it would be!  She serves it sliced thin with cream cheese on top.  It’s the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack…I’ve been eating it every day for the past week or so, and I can’t get enough!

grandma's christmas applesauce cake
Grandma Hogan’s Applesauce Cake

Makes 8 loaves

4 cups applesauce

4 cups sugar

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, melted

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

4 eggs, beaten

2 packages (12 oz each) raisins or craisins (boiled in water and drained)

1/2 package of prunes, chopped

1 package (12 oz) of chopped dates

Chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) – we added a heaping cup of chopped nuts

About 10 cups of flour

Mix applesauce with sugar and melted butter.  Stir in baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.  Whisk in eggs.  Stir in raisins, prunes and nuts (if using).  Then, add in 10 cups of flour and mix just to combine.  The batter will be very thick.  Spoon into greased disposable loaf pans and bake at 350 F for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Allow to cool.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place back in the disposable loaf pans.  Wrap with a pretty ribbon and give them away to friends and family 🙂

Do you have any recipes that your grandparents or parents passed down? 

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?


17 thoughts on “Grandma’s Christmas Applesauce Fruitcake

  1. I love applesauce cakes… my sister has a great recipe for one that I intend to blog about… someday. Also “applesauce cake” sounds much more appetizing than “fruitcake” with the bad reputation fruitcakes sometimes get… This looks totally delicious!

    • Ooh, I can’t wait to see your sister’s recipe! I know, there’s something about the word “fruitcake”! It makes me think of those candied fruits, but I totally loved all the dried fruits in this one!

  2. What fun! I love making fruitcake. I make my fruitcake with applesauce and dried fruit too. I like it so much better than the candied stuff. My mother made up cookbooks with handwritten copies of some of her favorite recipes (some from grandma, great grandma and favorites aunts) for her girls. She also put a photo of her cooking in her kitchen on the cover. Those books are very special to us now that she’s gone.

    • Me too, I love all the dried fruit!

      What a wonderful idea for a recipe book, I’m sure you treasure that so much! That must bring back such lovely memories of your mom. Now I’m thinking of doing that for my daughter too…there’s so much history and family love in these recipes, and I want her to feel that too 🙂

    • Haha, yes it’s definitely not like the stuff in the store! Is that why fruitcake got a bad name?? You can play around with the dried fruit and nuts in here, whatever you have on hand 🙂

  3. Recipes that are passed down from generation to generation are so special! My grandma used to bake 20+ mini fruitcakes during the holiday season, and would wrap them up with pretty ribbon and deliver them to friends and family. She’d also make jars of lemon curd, which she’d gift along with the fruit cakes. My favorite recipe of hers, however, is her fudge pie. It’s like a decadent brownie, but in pie form. 🙂 When she died, I inherited her recipe box, which is filled with hand-written recipes. Even though most of them are pretty heavy and outdated (marshmallow jello mold, anyone?), I love thumbing through and touching each card–many of which are splattered and stained. It’s so meaningful knowing that my grandma once held those cards, too!

    This fruitcake recipe sounds perfect. I’ve never been a huge fan of candied pineapple or cherries, which usually rules out most fruitcakes, but this is one I know I’d love. Thanks so much for sharing! ❤

  4. I must agree! There’s something so special and heartwarming about hand-written recipes! I’m actually trying to get my mom to write down some of her “recipes” for me. However, she just gets annoyed. She HATES measuring and she doesn’t understand the need for recipes. She is an exceptional cook (it’s not bc I am biased..well I am, but she’s pretty famous for her cooking) so whenever I go home, I always watch her like a hawk.

    I LOVE to give baked goods as presents! Very thoughtful and personal ;).

  5. Pingback: Applesauce Cake | familyrecipebooks

  6. Pingback: Applesauce Fruit Cake | familyrecipebooks

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