Mrs. Maus's Fruitcake
Source of Recipe
Makes five 6-inch cakes
Mrs. Maus, Martha's childhood neighbor, offers a few tips for making the perfect fruitcake: Use the best quality of candied fruit available, hand-cut the candied fruit to assure the proper texture, and use just enough batter to hold the fruit and nuts together. Packed in sealed tins, these spirited cakes will keep for 25 years. You may consider eating yours sooner.
List of Ingredients
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
12 large eggs
4 pounds candied and dried fruits, such as citron, lemon peel, orange peel, sour cherries, and apricots, chopped
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 pounds assorted nuts, such as walnuts and pecans
2/3 cup brandy
Glacéed fruits, such as figs, oranges, pears, apricots, peaches, and pineapple, for garnish
Candied cherries and kumquats, for garnish
1 cup apricot jam
1. Heat oven to 275°. Butter five 6-by-2-inch round cake pans. Butter five 18-by-3-inch strips of heavy brown paper, and fit them into each pan to form a collar.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in 2 cups of the fruit and the molasses, blending well. Remove batter to a large bowl. Sift together flour and allspice, and add to mixture, one cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Reserve 1 cup assorted fruit to use later, for decorating. Add remaining fruit and nuts, stirring with a spoon. Divide batter evenly among pans.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. While cakes are still warm, brush them with 1/3 cup brandy mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar. Let cool in pans on a wire rack. Gently remove cakes from pans, leaving paper collar intact. Decorate cakes with glacéed and dried fruits.
4. Heat apricot jam and remaining brandy in a small saucepan over medium heat. Strain, and brush over fruits to hold in place.