Use your favorite dried fruits, plus candied cherries and nuts, in this light-gold, mildly flavored cake. Or use the fruit/nut combination suggested below.
2 cups raisins: golden, jumbo, or your favorite type of raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup candied lemon peel
1 3/4 cups candied red cherries
3/4 cup brandy, rum, or whiskey; or apple juice, plus extra to brush over the cakes when they come out of the oven
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, optional
5 large eggs
3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk
2 cups diced pecans or walnuts, optional
To prepare the fruit: Combine the dried fruit (except for the candied cherries)
with liquid in a bowl. Cover and let the mixture steep overnight.
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease the loaf pans of your
choice: two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans OR five 7" wooden bakers OR six 7" paper
bake and give pans.
To prepare the cake: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, corn
syrup, baking powder, salt, and flavors.
Beat in the eggs one at time.
Stir in the flour alternately with the milk.
Add the undrained fruit, the candied cherries, and the nuts.
Spoon the batter into the lightly greased baking pans, filling them three-quarters
Bake the cakes for 50 to 80 minutes, depending on the size of the pans;
smaller pans will bake for the shorter length of time. When done, the cakes
will be a light golden brown all over, and a cake tester inserted into the center
will come out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven. Brush with brandy or the liquor of your
choice while warm.
When completely cooled, wrap well and let rest at least 24 hours (or for
up to a month, brushing with liquor or flavored syrup weekly) before serving.
Yield: Two standard loaves, or an indeterminate number of smaller gift loaves, depending on size
Hands-on time: 25 to 30 min | Baking time: 50 to 1 hr 20 min