¼ pound butter
1 cup dark-brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon lemon extract
½ cup molasses
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon mace (can substitute nutmeg—preferably freshly grated)
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 cups small pieces mixed candied fruit
½ cup small pieces candied citron
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans*
(Makes two 9x5 –inch loaves)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans, line them with foil, and butter the foil. Yes, trust me.
Executing the Plan:
Cream the butter, add the brown sugar, and beat until the mixture is light. Add the lemon extract and eggs and continue to beat until it cries for mercy. Then stir in the molasses and blend it all together.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, mace, cloves, and salt. Add this to the molasses mixture and beat it some more. Add milk and beat until smooth.
Stir in the candied fruit, citron, raisins, and pecans (if using). Mix it up good.
Spoon the batter into the loaf pans, divvying it up nice and equal. Bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hours. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick stabbed into the cake comes out clean. Nothing half-baked here. Turn the loaves onto a cooling rack. When completely cool, wrap well and store in an airtight container.
For the Spirited Among Us:
Pick your poison! Brandy, cognac, and orange liqueur make a fine addition to fruitcake—either individually or mixed to your own liking. Just drown a couple of pieces of cheesecloth in the liquid, then wrap it around the cooled fruitcake, making sure all sides are covered. Wrap that in foil. Add more liqueur to the cheesecloth every couple of days for about a week.
There you have it.
Best served with a cup of tea, good friends, and a sense of humor.
*Unless someone has a nut allergy. Personally, I omit the nuts and add a bit more candied fruit. One can never be too careful!