As far back as I can remember, we had my mom’s holiday ring cake at Christmas time. Not to be confused with those (and I mean no disrespect) brandy-laden dark, fruit-filled bricks, this moist, white version of a “traditional” fruit cake packs a secret weapon: cream cheese. Oh, and a helluva lot of love.
My mom died in 1998. On what may have very well been her last Christmas on Earth, she gifted one of the most special gifts: a green tube pan, and her hand-written recipe for “Mom’s Holiday Ring Cake”. On the back of the recipe card, at the bottom of the recipe instructions, is written, “Think of me. Love, Mom.” And I do, every single time. Excuse me while I ugly-cry.
One year, I thought I had lost the card and, my husband will attest to this, I was distraught. Tears soaked my cheeks as I turned my recipe box and every cook book inside out until, at last, I found it. If you’ve ever lost someone dear to you, the simplest of mementos — in this case, a handwritten recipe — can mean the world.
And now, I share this little piece of my heart with you. I urge you to try it. Serve it up alongside your morning coffee, bring it to brunch and enjoy with a mimosa or curl up by the fire with a slice and a cup of tea. I promise you, you will never look at a fruit cake the same way again.
Mom’s holiday ring cake has become as much a family Christmas tradition in our home as cutting down the Christmas tree. I have it baked and ready for my dad’s arrival at Christmas and I always bake two extras to send to my brothers. I’d love to hear what you think if you decide to make it. And if you have a favourite baking tradition I encourage you to share it in the comments.
May your homes be filled with warmth and love this holiday season. Merry Christmas!
Mom's Holiday Ring Cake
This is the only "fruitcake" you will ever need.
- 1 C Butter, at room temp
- 1 pkg Cream cheese (250g or 8oz)
- 1 1/2 C Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 tsp Lemon rind, grated
- 4 Eggs
- 1 3/4 C Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 C Sultana raisins
- 1/2 C Golden raisins
- 1/2 C Mixed candied fruit or peel
- 1/2 C Maraschino cherries (red and/or green), drained and chopped
- 1/2 C Chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
- 1/4 C Flour
- 1 C Icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp Milk
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Grease and flour tube or bundt pan and set aside.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until well blended.
Add sugar and cream well.
Beat in vanilla and lemon rind.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift 1 3/4 cups flour with baking powder and blend in.
In a separate, medium bowl, combine fruit and nuts and toss with 1/4 cups flour.
Stir into batter. Pour into greased and floured tube pan.
Bake in centre of oven 70-80 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and let cool completely.
For the glaze:
In a small sauce pan, warm milk and stir in icing sugar until smooth. Drizzle over cake and enjoy.
Cover cake in plastic wrap or in a tightly closed cake container to maintain freshness for up to 3-4 days. Freezes beautifully with or without icing and ships really well. Once cake has cooled completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and wrap again in tin foil.
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