My Mum's Traditional Fruit Cake

by Cindy
(Sidney, Australia)

My mum makes this fruit cake every year at Christmas time and our whole family reckons that its the best tasting fruit cake.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla brandy or vanilla extract if you can't find vanilla brandy
2-1/2 cups golden raisins
1 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
2-2/3 cups dried peaches, coarsely chopped
3-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
2 to 3 cups brandy or dark rum, as needed

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Put butter paper into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and grease, with the ends overhanging the long side of the pan. set aside.

Sift 1-1/2 cups of the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix cream the butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy, add vanilla brandy and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Be careful not to over mix. Toss in the raisins, ginger and peaches with the remaining 1/2 cup flour; fold into the batter along with the walnuts. put the batter in the prepared pan; smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves emerges clean, 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Unmold the cakes; peel away the waxed paper and turn right side up. Cool completely on the racks.

Lay 2 large sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface. Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to wrap the cake; place it on top of a sheet of foil. Baste the top and sides of the cake with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of your choice of brandy or rum, brushing it on and letting it soak in for a few minutes. Brush again twice. Wrap the cakes in the cheesecloth then in the foil. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 months to age and ripen, brushing them with more liquor through their cheesecloth about once a week.

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