Updated Friday, October 17th, 2008
Total Time: 45
Yield: one 6-inch cake
A modern twist on the traditional holiday confection, this recipe for the best fruitcake ever uses a mixture of dried fruits instead of the standard candied and glacéed fruits. Not only are dried fruits more readily available at your local market, but they also have a deeper and more natural flavor (not as sweet). Ground almonds help keep the cake moist during the long baking time, so you don't have to keep soaking it afterwards.
Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 6-inch round cake pan with butter, line with parchment (a 6-inch round on the bottom, plus a collar at least 4 inches high to cover the sides), and set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, combine currants, dates, apricots, and cherries. In a small saucepan, warm brandy gently over low heat. Add to fruit mixture and stir to coat. Let mixture cool slightly, about 10 or 15 minutes.
In a clean medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In the large bowl of a standing or electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and citrus zests on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three parts, mixing until just incorporated.
Fold in fruit mixture by hand, and scrape batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack until room temperature, about 3 hours, and serve.
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