Rich Fruit Cake Recipe From Monticello

Monticello in Charlottesville, Va., shares a favorite fruit cake recipe from holiday season parties of the time. Enjoy its old-fashioned charm.
Monticello in the Snow

Monticello in the Snow

Photo courtesy of Monticello.

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Recipe courtesy of Monticello.

No menus of dinners at Monticello have survived. Visitors to the President's House from 1801 to 1809 did provide some information on specific dishes. Monticello's Culinary Historian Leni Sorensen recommends Mary Randolph's The Virginia Housewife as the best source of recipes that most likely would have been served at Monticello. Mary Randolph was Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha's sister-in-law. There was much contact between the Monticello family and Mrs. Randolph (in Richmond) in the ten years before Jefferson's death.


Have the following articles prepared before you begin the cake; four pounds of flour dried and sifted; four pounds of butter washed to free it from salt; two pounds of loaf sugar pounded, a quarter of a pound of mace, the same of nutmegs powdered; wash four pounds of currants clean, pick and dry them, blanch one pound of sweet almonds, and cut them in very thin slices, stone two pounds of raisins, cut them in two, and strew a little flour over, to prevent their sticking together, and two pounds of citron sliced thin; break thirty eggs, separating the yolks and whites.


Work the butter to a cream with your hand, put in, alternately flour, sugar, and the froth from both whites and yolks, which must be beaten separately, and only the froth put in. When all are mixed, and the cake looks very light, add the spice, with half a pint of brandy, the currants and almonds; butter the mold well, pour in part of the cake, strew over it some raisins and citron, do this until all is in: set it in a well heated oven, when it has risen, and the top is colored, cover it with paper; it will require three hours baking-it must be iced.

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