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St. Nicholas Dried-Fruit Cake

Makes 1 cake; about 25 servings

Notes: Bake this cake at least 1 day or up to 2 months ahead; cool and wrap in cheesecloth or a thin towel saturated with orange-flavor liqueur. Chill airtight, and about every 10 days, moisten cloth with more liqueur. Serve thin slices of cake plain, with vanilla ice cream topped with rum-plumped raisins, or with rum-raisin ice cream. Wrap and continue to age extra cake.

  About 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
 1 cup sugar
 6 large eggs
 1/4 cup molasses
 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
 1 pound (2 2/3 cups) dried apricots
 1/2 pound (2 cups) pecan halves
 1/2 pound dried lightly sweetened pineapple
 1/2 pound (2 cups) dried sweetened cranberries
 1/2 pound (2 cups) dried cherries or blueberries
 1/2 cup apricot jam
 2 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur
Step 1

Lightly butter a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan. Line with cooking parchment.

Step 2

In a bowl with a mixer, beat 1 cup butter with sugar until fluffy.

Step 3

Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Beat in molasses.

Step 4

Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and allspice. Add to egg mixture; beat just until blended.

Step 5

Set aside 6 to 8 apricots, 10 to 12 pecan halves, and 1 pineapple ring.

Step 6

Cut remaining pineapple into 3/4-inch pieces and add to batter along with the remaining apricots and pecans and the cranberries and cherries. Stir until well mixed.

Step 7

Scrape batter into parchment-lined pan, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; spread top level.

Step 8

Bake in a 275° oven until cake is firm in center when touched, about 3 hours. If it browns too rapidly, drape with foil.

Step 9

Cool in pan on rack at least 2 1/2 hours. Lift out cake; peel off parchment.

Step 10

Mix apricot jam with liqueur and brush over top of cake. Decoratively arrange reserved apricots, pecans, and pineapple in apricot glaze; brush more apricot jam mixture over fruit. Wrap airtight and chill at least 1 day.

Step 11

Nutritional analysis per 3 ounces.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 351Calories from Fat 38
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g24%

Saturated Fat 5.5g28%
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 105mg5%
Total Carbohydrate 54g18%

Dietary Fiber 2.8g12%
Protein 3.6g8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.