Wesson’s Famous Fruit Cake – A Mid-Century Christmas Recipe Re-Run

Posted on Dec 20 2016 - 4:22am by RetroRuth

A few years ago we tested out a bunch of vintage quick fruit cake recipes for the blog. This was the best of the bunch; quick, easy and good to eat right away. And it’s even better after it is been wrapped in some alcohol-spiked cheesecloth. Enjoy!

This year for our Christmas baking we decided to throw all caution to the wind and to venture into the land of doorstops and vibrantly-colored, nuclear fruit.

That’s right. This year it’s fruit cake for all!

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What’s funny is that during the mid-century, fruit cake was already considered a “grandma’s dessert” and the butt of many a joke. So we thought it would be interesting to test out a couple of recipes from magazine ads of the time to see what the interpretations of “hip” or “quick” fruit cakes of the day would be.

But we had to have a place to start, so we picked this classic Wesson Oil fruit cake recipe from an ad in a  1953 Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Wesson's Famous Fruit Cake
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Wesson Oil
  • 1½ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted Gold Medal flour
  • 1 tsp double-action baking powder
  • 2 tsp salf
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup pineapple, apple or orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped candied pineapple
  • 1 cup thinly sliced citron
  • 1½ cups whole candied cherries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Diamond Walnuts
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped mixed nuts
Instructions
  1. Mix together oil, brown sugar and eggs in a bowl. Vigorously beat with a spoon or electric mixer for two minutes.
  2. Sift together 2 cups of flour and rest of dry ingredients. Stir into oil mixture alternately with the juice.
  3. Sift remaining cup of flour over combined fruits and nuts. Pour batter over fruit and mix.
  4. Line 2 greased loaf pans with paper. Pour batter into pans. Place a pan of water on lower rack of oven.
  5. Bake cakes for 2½ to 3 hours in a slow oven (275 degrees). *Mine took 2½ hours to bake*
  6. Cool on racks without removing paper. When cool, remove paper and seal in a covered container in a cool place to ripen.

Wesson Oil Holiday Baking001 BHG Dec 1953

We mostly picked this because of the “famous” in the name. I assumed this meant that this recipe had been around for some time!

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This was a really easy cake to put together. Actually, it wasn’t so much as a cake as a quick bread, like banana bread.

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It even looks like banana bread batter! Except for the red and green cherries.

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The biggest difference between this and banana bread was the incredibly long cooking time, similar to the long cooking time in our previous adventures into fruit cake (pork cake!).

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But all-in-all, this bread came together quickly, smelled good while baking and looked pretty festive.

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I don’t even mind the cherries that much!

Tom TastesIMG_4670

“This is good. Tastes like a fruit and nut cake.”

The Verdict: Good

From The Testing Notes:

Good fruit and nut flavor. Not too moist, but not dry either. Cake itself is good, but not very spicy. Would benefit from extra spices and some rum or brandy! Good overall-would be very tasty as a breakfast bread.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Patricia Holt October 22, 2017 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Could you tell me if the 1953 Better Homes and Garden magazine you got the Famous Wesson Oil Fruit Cake recipe from was the Christmas edition. My mother-in-law saved this recipe and made it often. I would dearly love to have the magazine it came out of.

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