Notes: Bake this cake at least 1 day or up to 2 months ahead; cool and wrap in cheesecloth or a thin towel saturated with orange-flavor liqueur. Chill airtight, and about every 10 days, moisten cloth with more liqueur. Serve thin slices of cake plain, with vanilla ice cream topped with rum-plumped raisins, or with rum-raisin ice cream. Wrap and continue to age extra cake.
About 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pound (2 2/3 cups) dried apricots
1/2 pound (2 cups) pecan halves
1/2 pound dried lightly sweetened pineapple
1/2 pound (2 cups) dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 pound (2 cups) dried cherries or blueberries
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur
How to Make It
Lightly butter a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan. Line with cooking parchment.
In a bowl with a mixer, beat 1 cup butter with sugar until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Beat in molasses.
Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and allspice. Add to egg mixture; beat just until blended.
Set aside 6 to 8 apricots, 10 to 12 pecan halves, and 1 pineapple ring.
Cut remaining pineapple into 3/4-inch pieces and add to batter along with the remaining apricots and pecans and the cranberries and cherries. Stir until well mixed.
Scrape batter into parchment-lined pan, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; spread top level.
Bake in a 275° oven until cake is firm in center when touched, about 3 hours. If it browns too rapidly, drape with foil.
Cool in pan on rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Lift out cake; peel off parchment.
Mix apricot jam with liqueur and brush over top of cake. Decoratively arrange reserved apricots, pecans, and pineapple in apricot glaze; brush more apricot jam mixture over fruit. Wrap airtight and chill at least 1 day.