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Author Notes: I don’t know where this recipe originally came from but it has been in my handwritten recipe collection for at least 15 years. When I first made it, I macerated the dried fruit in amaretto liqueur overnight. As my taste has become more sophisticated, I switched to bourbon. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use a really strong flavored tea, such as earl gray.
I love making this at the end of the year to use up all the odds and ends of dried fruit in the pantry. You can change up the dried fruit as long as you follow the recipe as to quantities.
I’ve tried this using whole wheat pastry flour and even maple syrup sugar. The results were good but the basic recipe yields a better tasting loaf, or I should say loaves because this recipe yields two 9X5 cakes.
They are chock full of fruit and nuts, and don’t resemble any of the traditional “fruit cakes” that might come to mind. A slice or two is perfect with breakfast or a cup of tea in the afternoon.
If you want to be really decadent, add a smear of cream cheese or a dollop of whipped cream.
The batter is really thick and it needs a slow bake.
They freeze beautifully, and it’s easier to slice when just out of the freezer. —At Home with Friends
Makes two 9x5 loafs
- 1 pound pitted prunes, quartered
- 15 ounces package of raisins OR a combination of golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries
- 8 ounces dried apricots, quartered
- 8 ounces dried figs, quartered
- 3/4 cup bourbon
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (approximately 3 bananas)
- 2 cups walnuts or pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
- Macerate the dried fruit in the bourbon overnight.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Drain the fruit. Most of the bourbon will have been absorbed. Toss the fruit with lemon zest and set aside.
- Grease and flour two 9X5 inch baking pans.
- Combine flour and all spices in a bowl and set aside.
- In bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one a time. Add the flour mixture alternating with the mashed bananas. Remove bowl and by hand add in the drained fruit and nuts.
- Turn into two 9X5 loaf pans. Bake 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours, at 275 degrees.
- Cool in pan 15 minutes or turn out and allow to cool completely on wire rack. When completely cool, wrap in saran and then aluminum foil and freeze. Properly wrapped, it will freeze for several months.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Dried Fruit