|Old Fashioned Molasses Fruitcake
3 cups (one 15 oz. package) of dark raisins or 3 cups of chopped dates or pitted prunes
3 cups (one 15 oz. package) of golden raisins or 3 cups of dried apricots, chopped
2 packages (16 oz. size) of mixed candied fruit
3/4 cup of brandy or rum or apple juice
3 cups of butter, margarine or shortening
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 bottle (12ozs) of dark molasses
1 tablespoon of grated orange rind
1 tablespoon of grated lemon rind
1 package (2 lbs.) of all purpose flour or 7 cups of unsifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon of ground cloves
2 cans (8 oz. size) or 4 cups of walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup brandy or apple juice
1/2 cup of light corn syrup
2 tablespoons of water
Candied cherry halves
In a large bowl combine dark raisins, golden raisins and mixed candied fruit. Toss with brandy. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to soak overnight at room temperature.
Next day, preheat oven to 300ºF. Tear off four 13x 18 inch sheets of heavy duty foil and line four 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Carefully press foil into corners and smooth out folds; allow some of foil to hang over edges of the pans. Do not grease.
In a large bowl with electric mixer at medium high speed, beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Clean side of bowl and beaters.
Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla extract. Gradually beat in molasses until well blended. Stir in orange and lemon rinds. Turn into large pot.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to creamed mixture and beat until well blended and smooth.
Stir in brandy soaked fruits and walnuts. Spoon batter into foil lined pans and spread evenly into corners.
Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until cake tester poked in center of cakes comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift loaves from pans; place on wire racks cool completely. Remove foil.
Cut 4 lengths of cheesecloth to wrap around each cake. Soak cheesecloth's in 1/2 cup brandy and wrap each cake. Overwrap completely and securely with foil or plastic wrap. Store in tightly covered container in cool, approximately 50 atmosphere.
If stored more than 2 weeks, unwrap and resoak cheesecloth and wrap again. Repeat every 2 weeks. Store fruitcakes up to 4 to 6 weeks. The fruitcakes may be served immediately after making, but the soaking and storing process gives a mellow, rich flavor to the cakes.
After storing time is up, make glaze: Combine corn syrup and water in small saucepan. Bring to rolling boil, cool slightly.
Unwrap fruitcakes, brush off surface crumbs, brush with glaze. decorate with candied cherry halves, bits of citron and walnut halves. Brush with glaze again, allow glaze to set 15 minutes. Cut in thin slices to serve.
To present fruitcakes as gifts: wrap each decorated, glazed fruitcake in plastic wrap. Tie with ribbon, label and decorate with holiday stickers. Place in appropriate tissue lined box ( a decorated shoe box is good).
Wrap entire box with gift paper and tie with ribbon, finishing off with a sprig of holly or Christmas evergreens. Makes 4 (3 pound) Fruitcakes