|dates, orange rind, and a knife given to me by my grandfather many years ago|
|A 1/4" slice from a two-year-old cake is still moist... and as you can see from the bite mark.. still delicious! This one had no blanched almonds but lots more orange rind.|
The recipe below is as it was given to me. As long as the cake and proportions stay the same, you can make many alterations to suit your tastes. This batch makes two loaf sized cakes and one word of caution - this recipe may seem like there is not enough flour - there is. Trust me (she who cannot bake unless the recipe is chemistry correct). It will work. Also, if your oven is a hot one, cook it at a much lower temperature until it passes the dry toothpick test.
|pistachios, citron, orange rind substitutes for red and green maraschino cherries|
2c Thompson raisins
1c chopped dates
2-8oz packages glace cherries (green, red - you choose)
1-8oz package of chopped mixed candied peel
1/2c blanched almonds
2c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1tsp ground cloves
3/4c apple juice
2c lightly packed brown sugar
Combine the Fruit Group, soak in the Brandy and let stand overnight. When you're ready to make the cake the next day preheat oven at 275. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper.
Dredge brandied fruit mixture in 1/2c flour and set to the side. Sift the dry ingredients into their own bowl. In a separate bowl, blend the Binder Group: cream 1c butter and gradually beat in 2c lightly packed brown sugar and the 6 eggs, one egg at a time. In yet another bowl, mix the Liquid Group of molasses and apple juice. It's best to slowly whisk the apple juice into the molasses. Finally, add sifted dry ingredients to the binder mixture alternately with the molasses mixture. It's advisable to add 1c dry, whisk a little, then add one cup wet and whisk again. Mixing these three groups together in small quantities will result in a thick liquid without lumps. When these three sets of ingredients are blended, fold in flour dredged fruit ensuring all the fruit is well coated with cake mix. Turn this mixture into the two pans.
Bake at 275 for 3 - 3 1/2 hours or until they pass the cake test - toothpick comes out clean. This cake is very dense, so cooking it slowly ensures the bottom doesn't burn. When the cake is done, remove from pan and lift off paper when it's still a little warm. Cool the cakes thoroughly and drizzle an ounce of brandy onto each. Wrap in cheese cloth, seal in foil and repeat the brandy drizzling once every two or three months. Take care not to saturate the cake though. The idea is to have a moist cake, not pudding, ten months or so down the road.
To go the mile with this cake you could always add a marzipan icing, which is readily sold in lots of stores these days. I find it a bit over the top of the sweetness charts and prefer to have just a small piece of unadorned cake with a very strong cup of delicious coffee... with rum. Merry Christmas, Happy Channuka, Salubrious Solstice!