- 1 1/2 cups diced dried pineapple
- 1 1/2 cups raisins, golden or regular
- 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) diced dried apricots
- 1 1/2 cups chopped dates
- heaping 1 cup candied red cherries, plus additional for decoration, if desired
- 1/3 cup diced crystallized ginger, optional
- 3/4 cup rum, brandy, apple juice, or cranberry juice
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (15 ounces) dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa, black cocoa preferred; optional, for color
- 1/4 cup golden syrup, boiled cider, or dark corn syrup
- 1/2 cup apple juice, cranberry juice or water
- 2 cups chopped, toasted nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
- rum, brandy, simple syrup, vanilla syrup, or ginger syrup
- To prepare the fruit: Combine the fruit with the liquid of your choice in a non-reactive bowl; cover and let rest overnight. Too impatient to wait until tomorrow? Microwave everything for 1 minute (or until it’s very hot), cover, and let rest 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. This recipe makes enough batter for ONE (not all!) of the following: 3 dozen individual (muffin pan) cakes; 16 mini loaves (about 3 3/4″ x 2 1/2″); 6 to 8 medium loaves (about 3″ x 5″); or 2 standard 9″ x 5″ loaves. Choose your pans (or combinations), and lightly grease them. If you’re making muffin-size cakes in a standard muffin pan, line the pan with muffin papers, and lightly grease the papers.
- To make the batter: Place the the butter and sugar in a large bowl (at least 6-quart), and beat together until well combined.
- Beat in the salt, spices, and baking powder.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and cocoa.
- Add the flour mixture and the syrup (or boiled cider) to the mixture in the bowl, beating gently to combine.
- Stir in the juice or water, then the fruit with any collected liquid. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and stir until everything is well combined.
- Spoon the batter into the pans, filling them about 3/4 full.
- Bake the cakes on the middle shelf of the oven, as follows: about 60 minutes for the individual cakes; 65 to 70 minutes for the small loaves; 75 minutes for the medium loaves, and 2 hours + 10 to 15 minutes for the 9″ x 5″ loaves. The cakes are done when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, and brush them with rum or brandy. Or simple syrup, or flavored simple syrup (vanilla, rum-flavored, etc.). If you like just a hint of rum or brandy flavor, add 1 tablespoon of liquor to 3/4 cup vanilla syrup or simple syrup, and brush this mixture on the cakes.
- When the cakes are completely cool, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature for up to 6 to 8 weeks.
Yield: 2 large loaves to 3 dozen small cakes, depending on size.