Susan Juster Viner’s Modified California Fruit Cake

Submitted by Susan Juster Viner

In the mid 1970’s, I chaired a cookbook for my synagogue. It was a three-year project, went into two printings and sold out both. Recipes were tested, and there was an emphasis on mixing the traditional with some of the modern recipes. My dear cousin Rose Carlin Juster contributed a recipe for California Fruit Cake, but because of some of the ingredients, it didn’t seem appealing to me – until I realized I could change some ingredients to those more of my liking and still obtain the final result. This is a one-bowl cake that when cooled and sliced thinly is always a hit, wherever I bring it. This is an opportunity for the bake to choose the ingredients, as long as they include dried fruit in the total amount mentioned. 

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup whole pitted dates

1 cup whole pitted sweet dried prunes

1 1/2 cups dried apricot halves

2 cups walnut halves

1 cup dark or golden raisins

3 extra large or jumbo eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

In a large, deep bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and brown sugar well. Add all dried fruits and nuts and again mix well so that fruit and nuts are coated with flour mixture. In small bowl or mixer, beat eggs with vanilla. Add egg mixture to large bowl and mix well. To make sure all fruits and nuts are coated with egg mixture, it is best to mix with gloved hands. 

Pour mixture into greased loaf pan that is lined with waxed paper. Bake at 300° for 1 1/2 hours. Turn cake out on rack to cool, and remove waxed paper when cake is cool enough to handle. When cake is completely cooled, slice very thin. 

Rose Carlin Juster and Susan Juster Viner

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