Signature Dish of Damsel in dis Dress

Mom's Black Fruitcake

2 cups golden raisins
2 cups dried apricot halves
2 cups red candied cherries, whole
1 cup green candied cherries, whole
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup currants
1 cup pitted dates
3/4 cup candied citron
4 cups pecan halves
2 cups walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup molasses
2 cups rum
1/2 cup orange juice

For Coating Fruit the Day of Baking

1 cup all-purpose flour

Batter

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound butter
3 cups dark brown sugar
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

The day before you make the fruitcake, combine all the fruits, the nuts and the citrus zests in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle on the spices, and toss well to mix. Add the molasses, rum, and orange juice and mix well. Cover and let stand overnight, stirring once or twice. (The mixture may sit for several days if you wish. Stir it occasionally and add a little more rum if it has been absorbed.)

The day you make the cakes, preheat the oven to 275°F. Grease four 9x5x3-inch loaf pans, line the bottoms with waxed paper, grease the paper, then coat the pans lightly and evenly with flour. Tip the pans upside down and tap firmly to remove the excess flour.

Sprinkle 1 cup of flour over the fruit mixture and stir well. This will prevent the fruit from clumping together and/or sinking to the bottom of the loaves.

Combine 3 cups flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift them together onto a piece of waxed paper; set aside. Cream the butter and the brown sugar and beat well. Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the combined dry ingredients and beat until the batter is thoroughly blended and perfectly smooth. Pour the batter over the fruit mixture (you might need to do this in a large tub or a clean dish pan if you have made the full recipe) and mix well until all of the pieces of fruit are coated with batter-your clean hands are the best tools for this.

Divide the batter among the prepared loaf pans, filling them within 1/2 inch of the top.

Bake the cakes for about 2 hours. Each cake will rise just above the rim of the pan, the top will crack slightly in several places, and there will be a faint line of shrinkage around the edge of the pan. A long wooden skewer inserted in the center of a cake should come out clean, or with just a slight residue of sticky fruit, but no raw batter. Remove the cakes from the oven and place them on a rack to cool for about 30 minutes. Turn out of the pans, peel off the waxed paper, and let cool, top side up, on a rack.

If you wish, pour an additional tablespoon or two of rum over the cakes as they cool.

Decorate tops with candied fruits, attached to cake with corn syrup.

Examples:

To store:

Wrap each cake first in rum-soaked cheesecloth, then in plastic wrap, then in foil. The cakes will keep for months. To serve, cut in thin slices with a long, serrated knife.

Source: "Adapted from a recipe in the Fanny Farmer Baking Book"

Yield: "4 loaves"

NOTES : I found it! This is the fruitcake I grew up with. I have made a few adjustments to approximate what my mother did when she made it.

A million thanks to "pshaw" for posting this recipe to rec.food.cooking on September 4, 1998, so I could find it when I started looking for it.

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