Marsha Canham's Blog

December 15, 2011

By request…the Canham Christmas Cake

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 2:50 pm

Maybe if I write down the recipe here it won’t get lost for another decade *s*.

Seriously, some readers asked for it, and I don’t mind sharing just as long as you know how to measure a whack and a half whack LOL. As near as I could guess at the time, a whack was a little more than a cup…sort of a coffee mug size. That’s what I used anyway.

1 whack of craisins

small package (4 oz, I think) of chopped pecans

1 cup of diced citrus peel (the little 3/4-whack container size)

1/2 whack of dried apricots chopped

3/4 whack of slivered (not sliced) almonds

1/2 whack each of red and green marachino cherries chopped+ about a dozen of each left whole for decorating the top

hefty handful of diced dried pineapple

zest from one large lemon

1/2 cup flour

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder (it was originally measured using a desert spoon, which was heaped, so I guessed @tsp)

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar (I used Splenda and it worked just fine)

5 eggs

half whack of rum


Put the craisins (or raisins if you don’t like cranberries) in bowl, add the rum, microwave for a minute then let sit for a half hour or so to let the craisins absorb some of the rum and plump up. Drain and keep the rum. (Pithy Baker’s tip, add more rum than called for cuz after you soak the craisins and drain them, the rum is yummy and having a little snort just makes the whole baking process go smoother *g*)

Combine all the chopped fruit and nuts and zest in a big bowl with the craisins then toss with the 1/2 cup of flour. (This Somewhat Skeptical Baker’s note: my mother used to say this kept the fruit from sinking to the bottom, but frankly, there’s so much fruit in there anyway, there’s no where for it to sink)

Cream the butter and sugar (or Splenda) till fluffy, about a minute, then add the eggs one at a time and beat for 1/2 min each egg. (Erudite Baker’s note: I added the eggs all at once and the world did not implode)

Add the dry ingredients and 3-4 tbls of the drained rum.

Gently fold it into the bowl of fruit and mix until everything looks coated. There’s a lot of fruit and not much batter so don’t panic if it looks fruit-heavy.

Butter up a ring mold baking pan and scoop the batter in then decorate the top with the whole red and green cherries

Bake at 300F for 1hr 45 min or until done. That usually means sinking a steak knife into the middle (gently, as you would to an Ex Husband’s liver) and seeing if it comes out clean but again, a lot of fruit kind of muddles the *clean* part so just use your judgement.  I baked it the 1.45 then left it in the oven to cool with the door opened the width of a wooden spoon rest.

When it’s cool, remove it from the ring thing and either hermetically seal it in a large air tight cake thing (I use my big round tupperware bowl–with lid– that I’ve had as long as I’ve had the recipe because it just fits nice and snug (with a slice removed for tasting of course) *s*) or wrap it in saran and refrigerate.  If there aren’t too many children indulging, blast it with another few tblsps of rum before hermetically sealing it.

There you have it. Do NOT murder it with marzipan or any other kind of icing. If you cut it too soon, like before it’s cooled completely, it will crumble, but don’t panic. Cut a bigger wodge and press it together to even the edges of the gap, then sprinkle with more rum.




  1. I’m glad you explained the “whack”. I’ve written these same type of recipes, IE: a pinch, a tad, etc. but never heard of the whack. LOL Love recipes like this; the more vague, the better they turn out and they leave room for plenty of imagination and altering. In my checkered past, I have been a semi-professional chef/baker, so I’m going to try this out. My husband is a fruit cake fanatic!

    Comment by S.L. Bartlett — December 15, 2011 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

    • Exactly why I liked this recipe, nothing was really precise. If you have 6 oz of almonds instead of 4, add em all. If you don’t like pecans, use cashews. And if you don’t like rum, use Amaretto. Or Cointreau. Or if you don’t like liquor at all (*GASP*) use vanilla or rum extract. And if you make it now, it keeps through Christmas into New Year…if it lasts that long *s*.

      Comment by marshacanham — December 15, 2011 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

  2. Great recipe! I, too, never heard of a “whack” , but I don’t measure anything precisely anyway, so it doesn’t matter. If the ingredients (as in this one) sound good, I’ll always try a new recipe. I have one for an old German Christmas cookie that’s been passed down in my family for generations. Also filled with fruit and booze…think there’s any connection here?

    Comment by Shirl Henke — December 15, 2011 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  3. Shirl…well if you post the recipe here, we can test it and see if there’s a connection LOL.

    Comment by marshacanham — December 15, 2011 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

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