Photo: Sheri Giblin; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling: Amy Stone  
Active Time
1 Hour
Total Time
13 Hours 30 Mins
Yield
Serves 36 (serving size: 1 slice)

If you're going to make a classic fruitcake, conquer it with this foolproof recipe. Start your fruitcake the day before; candying your own citrus is well worth it. The result is gooey, moist, and dense. The rum taste is bold and delicious, but you can also use apple cider, if desired. This recipe makes four loaves that will keep for a month, so it's perfect for gift giving.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place orange and lemon peel in a small saucepan; add cold water to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high; drain. Repeat process 3 more times using cold water each time.

Step 2

Place 1 cup water and 2 cups of the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high; bring to a boil. Add orange and lemon peels to pan; reduce heat to low, and simmer until peel is tender and translucent, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool completely. Dice orange and lemon peel.

Step 3

Combine diced orange and lemon peel, raisins, and rum in a bowl; stir gently. Cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight.

Step 4

Preheat oven to 275°F. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine applesauce and vinegar in a separate bowl.

Step 5

Place butter and remaining 2 cups sugar in a large mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add flour mixture alternately with applesauce mixture in 5 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in raisin mixture and pecans.

Step 6

Divide batter evenly among 4 (9- x 5-inch) loaf pans coated with baking spray. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 2 hours. Cool in pans on a wire rack about 30 minutes. Remove fruitcakes from pans; cool completely on rack, about 1 hour. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

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