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!


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” 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: Wesson Oil, 1953
  • 1 cup Wesson Oil
  • 1 1/2 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
  • 1 1/2 cups whole candied cherries
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Diamond Walnuts
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped mixed nuts
  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 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a slow oven (275 degrees). *Mine took 2 1/2 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!


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.


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


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!).


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


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.