(modified from Joy of Cooking)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Grease and line with wax paper or parchment, 2 loaf pans (6 cups each)
or use small fluted molds for gift cakes. Fill pans about 2-1/2 inches deep.
Adjust baking time. Use a shiny metal pan rather than glass to prevent excessive browning.
1. In a small bowl, soak in orange juice, brandy or rum:
4 cups diced, mixed candied fruit
2 cups dates
2 cups raisins
2. In a small bowl toss with 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour
1/2 pound each:
coarsely chopped pecans and almonds
or other nuts such as walnuts and hickory
3. Sift together:
4 cups all-purpose flour (use some of this flour to toss with nuts)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cloves
4. In a large bowl, beat until creamy
1/2 pound butter
5. Beat in:
2 cups brown sugar
then 1/2 cup molasses
then zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
then 6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6. To the large bowl add the flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with
3/4 cup orange juice, brandy or rum
7. Stir in candied fruit and nuts
8. Scrape the batter into the baking pans
9. Bake until a toothpick comes clean from the middle. Depending on pan size, 1 to 3-1/2 hours.
Tent cake with aluminum foil if top gets too dark.
10. Let cool in pan on a rack about 1 hour. Un-mold carefully.
Invert the cake and remove the paper liner. Let cool completely right side up on rack.
11. When the cake is cool, you can puncture it a few times with a skewer and very slowly pour up to 1 cup of liquor over the cake, allowing it to absorb.
12. For long storage: Wrap the cakes in clean brandy soaked linen or cheesecloth. Then wrap in plastic and place in plastic bags.
Do not use foil unless cakes are first wrapped in plastic