Old-Fashioned Brandied Fruitcake
I didn't think I liked fruitcake until I started making my own. Start this fruitcake about a month before you want to enjoy it. This recipe makes two 9-inch loaf cakes, so you'll have one for yourself and one to give. OR do as we have done in our photo, above, and use a 10-inch springform pan to make one great big lovely fruitcake.
In this instance, I used 1/2 cup less brandy than the recipe calls for. After it was baked and cooled, I wrapped it well in two large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil. A week later, I unwrapped it and sprinkled 1/4 cup of brandy on the top, turned the fruitcake over and sprinkled the other side with 1/4 cup brandy. I repeated that task for the next two weeks, and a week after the last brandy spike, I could wait no longer. It was ready -- moist, fragrant, delicious.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Using 1 tablespoon butter for each, butter two 9-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumbs, and rotate to coat evenly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, allspice and cinnamon. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream 1 cup butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with the coffee, stirring after each addition, until batter is just blended.
Pour batter over the fruit mixture and blend thoroughly. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 1-1/2 hours (or 1 hour 45 minutes for a single round fruitcake) or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 20 minutes, and then turn out onto racks, and cool completely. Place each cake on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Sprinkle each cake with 1/4 cup brandy. (See Note, below) Wrap each cake tightly in the aluminum foil, sealing well. Store in a cool dark place.
After seven days, unwrap the cakes and sprinkle each with an additional 1/4 cup brandy. Rewrap. Repeat this procedure each week for the next two weeks. Then let the cakes mellow for a final week before serving.
Makes two 9x5-inch fruitcakes (or one 10-inch round fruitcake).
Prep time: 4 hours; Cooking time: 90 minutes; Total time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Fruitcake Notes: Don't just dump the brandy over the cake. It takes a little patience, but let the brandy drip onto the cake so that it is absorbed. If you like, use a toothpick to make small holes in the surface of the cake.
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