I used to make fruitcakes every year, my family loves them. They also love plum puddings though, and these are far more difficult to find these days, so I have switched over to making them instead.
Here is the basic recipe I use:
In my Gran's large beige, "Green's" mixing bowl, I put about 8 cups of dried fruit. This year it was cherries, cranberries, pineapple, mango, and apricots, plus a goodly handful of very sticky, candied ginger, all chopped up in bits. Over this I poured a bottle and a half of Capt. Morgan's Spiced rum. I have used many different kinds of hooch over the years, from scotch to dark rum, to light rum. Apart from the year I used the 15 year old black rum from Jamaica that everyone was afeared to drink, the spiced rum is by far the best hooch to use, in my opinion.
I let this sit, contemplating it's own drunkenness for two or three days, stirring it once a day to make sure all the fruit gets drunk.
When I'm ready to make some pudding, I remove half the fruit from the bowl. I make my puddings in two batches. This is from the 1938 Watkin's cookbook.
In a separate bowl, I combine:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2tsp baking powder
I pour this over half the fruit in the big mixing bowl, stirring all to combine and coat the fruit.
Then in the other bowl, I combine:
1/3 cup grated butter (use frozen, it grates up well)
1 cup milk (this year I used chocolate milk)
1/3 cup molasses
splash of vanilla
I pour this into the big "Green's" bowl with the fruit and mix well.
I now am the proud owner of four pudding tins. 1/2 of the fruit mixture with one batch of the pudding batter will fill two of these tins. Make sure you grease them well, even if they are non stick. Trust me!
Two tins will fit nicely inside my large roasting pan, which I half fill with water. I then set it into the oven which has been preheated to 400F, then turned back to 300F. I steam them in the oven for about 2-3 hours, making sure to keep water in the bath.
To serve, steam the pudding to reheat. In our house we serve it with butterscotch sauce and whipped cream...a little goes a long way. In my grandmother Mackie's house, she served it with hard sauce:
Also from the 1938 Watkin's cookbook
3/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Cream butter, add sugar, beat well. Add vanilla. Pack smoothly in a small dish, sprinkle with nutmeg. Chill until ready to serve.