Dowager Duchess Fruitcake

Make sure to plan ahead: This cake needs to sit for at least one month to allow the flavors to develop. To serve, slice it as thinly as possible.

  • Yield: Makes five 5 3/4-by-3-inch tea loaves, or two 9-by-5-by-2 1/2-inch tea loaves
Dowager Duchess Fruitcake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2000

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 pounds plus 4 ounces candied citrus peel (6 cups), such as grapefruit, orange, or lemon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 15 ounces (2 1/2 cups) whole almonds, blanched
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more for dousing
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line bottoms of pans with buttered parchment. Combine candied citrus and almonds in a mixing bowl, and set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl at least twice. Stir in 3 tablespoons sherry and the citrus zest.

  3. Reduce speed of mixer to low. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating until just combined. Fold in candied citrus and almonds.

  4. Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake until golden and set and a cake tester inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes (20 to 30 minutes for larger cakes).

  5. Remove the cakes from oven, and douse each with 3 tablespoons sherry. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack. Remove cakes from loaf pans, and discard parchment paper. Wrap the cakes in muslin or cheesecloth. Store in a cool, dark, dry place, dousing cakes with several tablespoons of sherry once a week for at least 1 month before serving.

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