Ideally, fruitcake should be made at least a month before you plan to serve it, but it will last for several months when stored tightly wrapped in the fridge.
2 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 2/3 cups chopped pitted dates
1 1/2 cups raisins (you can use all dark or 3/4 cup each dark and golden)
2/3 cup chopped candied orange peel
2/3 cup chopped candied pineapple
2/3 cup candied cherries, halved
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup bourbon, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 250°.
Coat 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray; line bottom and sides of pans with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper with cooking spray.
Combine pecans and next 5 ingredients (through cherries) in a large bowl. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour to pecan mixture, tossing to coat.
Combine 1 cup flour, cinnamon, and next 4 ingredients (through ginger) in a small bowl. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed 3 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour-spice mixture; beat at medium speed until blended. Add 1/4 cup bourbon and extracts, beating at low speed until blended. Stir pecan mixture into batter.
Spoon batter into prepared pans, pressing firmly to pack. Press a piece of parchment paper onto surface of batter in each pan.
Add water to a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish to a depth of 1 inch; place on bottom rack in oven. Place loaf pans on middle rack in oven. Bake at 250° for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove top piece of parchment paper. Immediately pierce cakes several times with a long wooden pick, and brush 2 tablespoons bourbon over each cake. Cool completely in pans on a wire rack. Remove from pans.
Cut 2 (18-inch) pieces of cheesecloth. Soak cheesecloth in 1/2 cup bourbon. Wrap a bourbon-soaked piece of cheesecloth around each cake, and place each cake in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and store in a cool place at least 24 hours.