Mr. and Mrs. Maus's Fruitcake
This recipe was developed by Mr. and Mrs. Maus, Martha's childhood neighbors. For best results, they suggest using the best-quality candied fruits available and to use just enough cake batter to hold the fruit and nuts together.
- Yield: Makes two 9-inch cakes
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 cups sugar
- 12 large eggs
- 6 pounds mixed candied fruits and fresh nuts, such as citron, lemon, and orange peel, and cherries, apricots, walnuts, and pecans
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 2 tablespoons ground allspice
- 1 cup apricot jam
- 1/3 cup brandy
- Whole dried apricots, for garnish
- Pecan halves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper; butter paper, and dust with flour. Tap out excess, and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl at least twice. Batter should be fluffy. Stir in fruits, nuts, and molasses until blended.
Sift flour and allspice into a medium bowl; stir mixture, 1 cup at a time, into batter.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. Set pans in a larger baking pan filled with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of hot water. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack.
Remove cakes from pans; peel off paper. Place apricot jam in a small saucepan. Add brandy; heat over low heat until mixture is warm and syrupy. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Brush fruitcakes with glaze. Garnish cakes with dried apricots and pecan halves, and glaze again. Let glaze harden before wrapping fruitcakes in parchment paper.