Ada Yeatts Moore was my grandmother's first cousin, so it would be expected for me to say that this recipe was handed down to me through my family. Not so!
On Sunday morning, November 11, 2001, we had an unexpected knock at the door and discovered on our porch Bobby and Frances "Bea" Redd. Since we own a B&B, this sort of occurrence is not unusual at all, but in this case it was quite remarkable. Bea was a babysitter for my husband Henry when he was a tyke about 50 years ago, and he had not seen them since. In that long-ago time, Bobby and Bea were newlyweds, Bobby was teaching in the same high school and department as Henry's father, and the Redds were renting an apartment in Ada Moore's home at 309 South Main Street in our little town of Chatham, Virginia. Henry still remembers how long, high, and scary the outside back stairs at the Moore house were for a little guy (see below).
After a delightful reacquainting visit, the Redds were on their way, but Bea wrote back quickly, sending a photocopy of this handwritten recipe for white fruit cake given to her by her landlady:
- 6 eggs
- 10 oz. sugar
- 10 oz. Crisco
- 10 oz. flour
- 2/3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup orange juice or sherry wine (I used orange juice - AYM)
- 1 pkg. white raisins
- 1 lb. almonds in shell
- 1 lb. pecans in shell
- 1 lb. E[nglish] walnuts in shell
- 4 oz. citron, candied
- 4 oz. orange peel, candied
- 4 oz. lemon peel, candied
- 4 oz. white pineapple, candied
- 4 oz. green pineapple, candied
- 1 lb. cherries, candied
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Cut fruit and nuts (leave enough whole to put on top). Mix with 1/3 of the flour and let set awhile or overnight.
Cream Crisco and sugar. Add egg yolks. Sift flour, salt, baking powder and flavoring together. Add to mixture along with [sherry or] juice. Pour this over fruit mixture. Mix well with hands.
Add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat until stiff, then fold in fruit mixture.
Line 10-inch mold with brown paper. Pack in mold well with knife. Bake at 250° F. for 3 1/2 hours, or until done. (I test mine with a straw to see if done. I place a shallow pan of water in bottom of oven the last two hours. Makes it more moist. Good luck to you. AYM)
Willie and Ada Moore in the yard of their home.
Ada Moore in her garden.
Bobby and Bea Redd lived in the upstairs apartment. Henry Mitchell was quite awed by the rear outside staircase when he was a toddler, around 1951.
Copyright © 2001 Patricia B. Mitchell.