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Traditional Dark Fruitcake

When I was looking for fruitcake recipes, I wanted one that was jam-packed with dried and candied fruit -- like the Trappist Monks make in Oregon. This is the closest I could find. This one come from JoyOfBaking,com, who apparently got it from Nigel Slater's 'The Kitchen Diaries'. I made a few adjustments, but pretty much it is perfect the way it is - if you like fruitcake, that is.

ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup golden bakers sugar
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons brandy plus extra for brushing the cake
Juice and zest (outer orange skin) of one orange
Zest (outer yellow skin) of one lemon
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 cup hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, or almonds - chopped
1 1/2 pounds of an assortment of dried fruits (dried apricots, figs, prunes, etc.), candied and chopped mixed peel, and glace cherries - chopped into bite size pieces
3/4 pound of an assortment of raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries and/or cherries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

directions:
1. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan with a removable bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with buttered parchment paper. Also line the sides of the pan with a strip of buttered parchment paper that extends about 2 inches above the pan.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the brandy, juice and zest of the orange, and zest of the lemon. Then fold in the ground almonds, chopped nuts, and all the dried and candied fruits. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and fold this into the cake batter.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and place the spring form pan on a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and continue to bake the cake for another 1 hour 30 minutes or until a long skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. With a skewer poke holes in the top surface of the cake and brush with a little brandy. Wrap the cake thoroughly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in a cake tin or plastic bag. Brush the cake periodically (once or twice a week) with brandy until Christmas. This cake will keep several weeks or it can be frozen.

Serves 10
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