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.
- 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
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line bottoms of pans with buttered parchment. Combine candied citrus and almonds in a mixing bowl, and set aside.
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.
Reduce speed of mixer to low. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating until just combined. Fold in candied citrus and almonds.
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).
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.