Redolent of fragrant spices, this homemade fruitcake will remind you why it became a holiday classic. Look for candied citron in gourmet stores, or buy it online from Vine Tree Orchards (www.vinetreeorchards.com). Store leftover citron in a zip-top plastic bag in the freezer. You can substitute candied pineapple for the citron. Make the fruitcake at least a day ahead so the flavors have time to meld. To freeze, wrap cake in layers of plastic wrap, and place in a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Store up to one month.
5 cups hot water
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 cups raisins
1 cup dried currants
1/2 cup diced candied citron
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brandy, divided
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 250°.
Pour water in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; place pan on bottom rack in oven.
Coat an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 teaspoons flour.
Combine raisins, currants, citron, and 2 tablespoons flour, tossing well to coat; set aside.
Lightly spoon 3/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 3/4 cup flour, nutmeg, and next 5 ingredients (through cloves), stirring with a whisk.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; add sugar, stirring with a whisk. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons brandy, molasses, and eggs. Add flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Gradually stir in fruit mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan; sharply tap pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 250° for 2 hours. Remove pan of water from oven; bake cake an additional 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Brush with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons brandy. Cool in pan 1 hour on a wire rack. Loosen cake from sides of pan with a knife. Remove cake from pan; cool completely. Wrap cake in plastic wrap; wrap cake in wrap with foil. Chill 24 hours before serving.