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St. Nicholas Dried-Fruit Cake

Yield Makes 1 cake; about 25 servings
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Nutrition Information

  • calories 351
  • caloriesfromfat 38 %
  • protein 3.6 g
  • fat 15 g
  • satfat 5.5 g
  • carbohydrate 54 g
  • fiber 2.8 g
  • sodium 105 mg
  • cholesterol 71 mg

How to Make It

  1. Lightly butter a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan. Line with cooking parchment.

  2. In a bowl with a mixer, beat 1 cup butter with sugar until fluffy.

  3. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Beat in molasses.

  4. Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and allspice. Add to egg mixture; beat just until blended.

  5. Set aside 6 to 8 apricots, 10 to 12 pecan halves, and 1 pineapple ring.

  6. 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.

  7. Scrape batter into parchment-lined pan, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; spread top level.

  8. Bake in a 275° oven until cake is firm in center when touched, about 3 hours. If it browns too rapidly, drape with foil.

  9. Cool in pan on rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Lift out cake; peel off parchment.

  10. 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.

  11. Nutritional analysis per 3 ounces.