Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the perfect hostess gift - recipe: grand marnier pecan christmas cake

Sometime between Labour Day and Halloween, I start thinking seriously about what my hostess gift will be for the upcoming holiday season.

It has to be edible and it can’t take too much time to prepare, because this is by far the busiest season for me at the store. I have a ritual of sorts – I dig out my boxes (and boxes) of holiday cookbooks and magazines to see if I can drum up any new inspiration.

I dog ear several of the pages and always ask my husband David for his opinion. We’ve been together for 10 years so you think I’d know better than to ask him, because his response is always the same, “Sure, sounds good to me.” To which I reply something along the lines of: “But what do you think, do you like the idea?” To which he replies: “Sorry honey, I just can’t get too excited about this sort of stuff.”

Fair enough. Truth be told, a good part of the fun is the first step — looking through the various recipes and “dreaming” about what I might create and how I will present it. In all honesty, I’d say about half the time I’m successful in actually making the particular item, and the other half of the time, I end up giving gourmet gifts from my store.

Here’s a delicious fruitcake recipe that I plan on making this year (the key word being “plan”).

It’s rich and sinful but worth the calories. The recipe comes from my mother and it’s been years since she made it — which is giving me an extra push to make it because she is sure to receive one!

grand marnier pecan christmas cake


  • 1 lb. golden seedless raisins
  • 1 lb. pecan pieces
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier


  • Preheat oven to 250 F.
  • Butter the inside of a 10-inch, 12-cup tube pan.
  • Sprinkle liberally with flour and shake out excess. Combine raisins and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with all of the flour and salt. Toss with your hands until blended. Set aside.
  • Place butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  • Start beating and gradually add sugar. Cream mixture well and add the egg yolks one at a time, beating constantly.
  • Blend the soda and water together and add it to the butter-egg mixture. Beat in the Grand Marnier. Pour this mixture into the nut mixture and blend together with your hands. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in with the hands. Continue folding until whites are not apparent.
  • Spoon and scrape mixture into prepared pan smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for two to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from pan shortly after it is baked.
  • Wrap and store in the fridge at least 10 days. It also freezes well.

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