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Author Notes: My mother and I were big fruitcake fans, always looking for a favorite recipe. When I found a recipe in Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything", I thought we had a winner. We turned our noses up at "mixed red and green pineapple" and went straight to Harry & David's for candied apricots, beautiful glazed cherries and premium dried pineapple. After several Christmases of revising cooking times and instructions, we finally nailed it in 2002. I hadn't made our fruitcake since my mother had died in 2007, but dusted off the recipe and baked a batch this week. Fruitcake 2010 was an instant success in our household, and I believe my Mom would be proud. - Lizthechef
Makes two 8 cup loaf pans
- 1 pound candied red cherries
- 1 pound best quality dried pineapple, cut into chunks
- 1 pound golden raisins
- 1 pound best quality dried apricots, cut into quarters
- 1 pound walnut halves or pieces
- 1 pound best quality unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature
- 2 cups white sugar
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons lemon extract
- zest and juice of one Meyer lemon, or any organic lemon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Rinse the candied cherries and combine in a very large bowl with all the dried fruits and walnuts. (I use a plastic dish pan.)
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light. Add the sugar and mix well.
- Beat in 3 of the eggs to mixture, then 2 cups of flour. Mix well. Beat in 3 more eggs and final 2 cups of flour. Mix well.
- Add the lemon extract, zest, lemon juice and vanilla to cake batter and combine.
- Pour cake batter over fruits and nuts. Use a sturdy hand spatula to thoroughly combine ingredients. Batter will be very stiff!
- Butter loaf pans and line with parchment paper. Lay one piece lengthwise, another crosswise. Trim to fit pans. Butter fitted parchment paper.
- Pour batter into pans, leaving one half inch of space at the top of each pan.
- Cover pans with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and then bake, uncovered, for 60 additional minutes.
- Cool in pans on racks. Unmold, remove paper, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until serving. Cake keeps for at least two weeks in fridge. Ours never lasts that long...NOTE: This year's batter was so full of ingredients that I was able to bake a third loaf in a smaller-sized pan. I cut its baking time to 45 minutes once I had removed the foil from the cakes.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Confection