3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups flour, divided
1 pound mixed candied fruit (see below)
1/2 pound shelled nuts
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup liquor, optional
Preheat oven to 275ºF. Butter and flour 4 (3-by-6-inch) mini-loaf pans (see Note); if you substitute pans of different size and shape, just divide the batter evenly among the pans (the batter should come to within 1 inch or so of the top of each pan) and adjust baking time accordingly.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and beat until light in color. Add vanilla to milk, then add gradually to mixture, alternating with 1 3/4 cups of the flour. Continue to beat until batter is smooth. Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour over fruit and toss to coat (this reduces the stickiness of candied fruit and allows it to distribute more evenly in the batter). Fold fruit and nuts into batter. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff and fold gently into batter.
Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake until lightly browned, and a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. If using 4 mini-loaf pans, this will be about 1 hour 40 minutes. Pour liquor, evenly divided (for 4 mini-cakes, that's 1 tablespoon per cake), over the cakes as soon as you remove them from the oven. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes and unmold. Continue to cool to room temperature before storing in airtight wrap or containers. You may continue to add liquor to cakes every 2 or 3 days, until cake is cut.
Variations: Flavor combinations recommended by the chef include glaceed apricots, candied cherries and candied pineapple with almonds and cognac; candied citron, lemon peel and orange peel with walnuts and rum; and candied pineapple, cherries and white raisins with walnuts or pecans and whiskey.
Note: If you substitute pans of different sizes and shapes, just divide the batter evenly among the pans (the batter should come to within 1 inch or so of the top of each pan) and adjust baking time accordingly.
Share this article