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Bushmills Boiled Fruitcake - Margaret Johnson of


Bushmills Boiled Fruitcake
- By Margaret Johnson

• 1 large (20 ounces) can crushed pineapple
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 2 cups sultanas or golden raisins
• 4 ounces candied cherries
• 4 ounces mixed peel
• 1 cup self-raising flour
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon soda
• 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 or more tablespoons Irish whiskey


This version of the popular Irish Christmas cake is an interesting one given the fact that the fruits are boiled with the butter and brown sugar before being added to the dry ingredients. This technique, along with the unusual addition of crushed pineapple, makes it exceptionally moist. The recipe was given to me nearly a decade ago by the chef at The Hillside Restaurant in Hillsborough, County Down, and it’s become a family favorite. Unlike other fruitcakes, it doesn't need to mature and is especially nice to give as gifts when baked in small tins.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the pineapple, butter, brown sugar, and fruit. Bring to a boil and stir continually for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Prehea the oven to 325° F. Generously grease one 8-inch loaf pan or 4 mini-loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine flours, soda, and mixed spice. Stir in the beaten eggs. Add this to the fruit mixture, and with a wooden spoon, blend thoroughly. Spoon mixure into pan(s) and smooth top with a wet spatula. Bake 8-inch cake for 60 to 75 minutes (test with a toothpick after 60 minutes); bake 4 mini-loaves for about 55 minutes (test with a toothpick after 45 minutes). When the cake is done, remove and cool on rack. Prick the top with a skewer, and drizzle with the whiskey while the cake is still warm.

Cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. (For those who like the idea of a daily dose of "spirits," unwrap and re-drizzle at your own discretion.) Cakes can be kept at room temperature for several days, or refrigerated for a week. They can also be frozen.

Serves 10 to 12.

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