Do I need to line a pan with heavy brown paper and grease it when making old school fruitcake? Or can I just grease pans it really well?

My kids and I decided to resurrect my late mom's fruitcake recipe and send it to my siblings for xmas. The recipe says to line the pans with heavy brown paper and grease it well. Do you think that means brown bags? I don't remember this from my mom making it, though my sister and I do remember going to the basement to sprinkle the brandy on the ripening cakes with an eyedropper!

  • Posted by: campbell
  • November 15, 2012


702551 December 22, 2015
The admonition to avoid brown paper bags has nothing to do with sanitation. It has to do with the chemicals used to make those non-food grade paper products.

As mentioned above, a lot of paper products aren't food grade material. Chemicals, animal glue, bleach, etc., much of which may impart off flavors when brought to regular cooking temperatures, and that's ignoring any of the health concerns about such components.
Lisa December 21, 2015
You can use the bags or buy the small brown lunch bags at the store. I make my mom's recipe every year cut paper to fit bottom and sides the grease with crisco ( grease pan before and after putting paper in). Cut around seams of bag BC/ of glue if you want . the person that says they are not sanitary the lunch bags are and the grease is a barrier and the heat all though not high is hot enough over the length of time it takes to cook to kill any germs you think may be present. Good Luck!
rt21 November 16, 2012
The reason for the 'heavy' brown paper was because of long cooking, the rich fruit cake would brown too much on the outside and some of the fruit would burn if you didn't line the tin . Double parchment insulates ut
bigpan November 15, 2012
I use parchment paper "with" butter for the extra flavor - and none of the cake sticks to the pan. Don't trust so-called non-grease pans.
campbell November 15, 2012
Thanks! The reason I wasn't going right to parchment was the "heavy" brown paper, that threw me off. The batter is so thick and heavy, thought it might break the parchment.
ChefOno November 15, 2012

Before parchment became widely available, people used brown paper grocery bags, writing and other non-food safe papers. From the USDA:

Do not use brown paper bags from the grocery or other stores for cooking. They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes...The ink, glue, and recycled materials in paper bags may emit toxic fumes when they are exposed to heat.

Monita November 15, 2012
Sounds like a substitute for parchment paper. If you can, I'd use parchment paper instead of just greasing the bottom of the pan
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