I’ve never cared for fruitcakes.
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
MY NOTES: I soaked the fruit in a Sherry. I replaced the raisins, candied lemon peel and candied cherries, with a combination of dried cranberries, apricots and walnuts.
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 (I used vanilla)
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.
Preheat the oven to 300°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 & 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 (save a few for garnish if you like), and the nuts and combine well.
Spoon the batter into the lightly greased baking pans, filling them three-quarters full.
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.
NOTE: I brushed the cakes with rum and when cool, I brushed them again and wrapped them in rum soaked cheesecloth. The loaves were wrapped well and refrigerated.