Dark Fruitcake

(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

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