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                                                                  Our version of the classic (a.k.a. dark) fruitcake is packed with warm spices, nuts, sweet dried fruit, dark molasses, and brandy. And the balance of butter and molasses means the cake ages beautifully—no worries about it becoming a brick, or a shot of alcohol with some fruit in it. What to buy: Use our recipe for Candied Grapefruit Zest and swap out the grapefruit peel for orange. A homemade candied citrus yields the best results, but if you’d rather purchase some, use a high-quality candied zest, which usually appears in the fall at gourmet or specialty stores. Don’t even think about using the scary, Day-Glo fruit found in tubs—it tastes as horrible as it looks. Game plan: We found this cake equally delicious eaten fresh or after it had aged a bit. For the aged fruitcake, we felt the flavor was best at 6 weeks. This recipe was featured as part of our Shockingly Tasty Fruitcakes project.

                                                                  • Yes No 3 cup all purpose flour
                                                                  • Yes No 2 tsp baking soda
                                                                  • Yes No 1 tsp allspice, ground
                                                                  • Yes No 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
                                                                  • Yes No 1 tsp grated nutmeg
                                                                  • Yes No 1 tsp kosher salt
                                                                  • Yes No 3 12 oz stick unsalted butter
                                                                  • Yes No 2 cup packed dark brown sugar
                                                                  • Yes No 6 large egg
                                                                  • Yes No 1/2 cup molasses
                                                                  • Yes No 3 tbsp grated lemon zest
                                                                  • Yes No 1/2 cup brandy
                                                                  • Yes No 2 cup dried, unsulfured apricots
                                                                  • Yes No 2 cup almond
                                                                  • Yes No 1 1/2 cup golden raisins, also known as sultanas
                                                                  • Yes No 1 1/2 cup medjool dates
                                                                  • Yes No 1 cup candied orange zest
                                                                  • Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with butter and flour; set aside.
                                                                  • Combine flour, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
                                                                  • Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add brown sugar, and continue beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, letting each mix in fully before adding the next.
                                                                  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium-high speed, add molasses and lemon zest, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup of the brandy, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining 1/4 cup brandy, and finally the last 1/3 of the flour. Mix until flour is just incorporated and batter is smooth.
                                                                  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in remaining ingredients. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.
                                                                  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.
                                                                  • Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan. Turn cakes out onto the rack and cool completely before slicing and eating, or aging.
                                                                  • To age, brush each cake with 1/4 cup brandy, and then completely bury each in 4 pounds of powdered sugar for up to 4 months.
                                                                  Yields: 2(9-inch) loaves
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