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.


Ingredients
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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