Computers come and go, but my fruitcake recipe has been with me since the early 80's. The point about computers, though, is that that's where I keep my fruitcake recipe, on the computer. I keep losing it, as we upgrade computers and programs. Hopefully, putting it online will end any question about where the recipe is.

What I like about this recipe is that it uses dried fruits only (no citron!). But, I doubt any two years have ever been quite the same recipe. If I can't find enough currents, I use more raisins. I love dates, so I always use more dates and less prunes. I just try to keep the proportions the same. There was even one year when I tried to make a more healthy fruitcake, with less butter than the recipe calls for. I don't know that the cake was bad, it's just that because the logistics are daunting for modifying such a large recipe (I double it, and used to triple it), and there's so much time that goes into preparation--it just didn't seem worth the risk.

Also, I cut up the fruit and nuts well in advance of baking day. The recipe calls for soaking them overnight. One year, Carolynn, Tom, Jim and I cut up fruit and nuts all day (this was before I had a food processor). The next morning, I woke up too sick to cook. I just had Jim pour all the "wet" ingredients over the fruit and nuts and let it soak for a whole week. The results were so good that I've stayed with this method ever since. Then, you have to add a bit more wet ingredients to the recipe (in addition to the eggs). I use fruit juices of whatever kind I have on hand.

One other thing is that I'm allergic to nuts. I just keep out a small amount of fruit, before I add the nuts, for a small nutless fruitcake. It's a bit sticky--but the taste is great.

Also, I've had to endure countless jokes over the years about fruitcakes. Mostly, I just figure you either like them or you don't. Now that I've got this online, I'll try adding the jokes too.

2 cups golden raisins
1 cup dark raisins 
1 cup currants
2 cups dried apricot halves 
2 cups figs, halved         
1 cup pitted prunes
1cup pitted dates         
4 cups walnuts 
2 cups pecans
3 small jars orange flavoring (oil)
3 small jars lemon flavoring (oil)
1/2  cup candied ginger 
2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup molasses 
2 cups brandy 
1/2 cup prune juice (or juice of choice) 
4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tbsp baking powder 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 pound butter
3 cups dark brown sugar 
8 eggs 

The day before you make the fruitcake, combine all dried fruits, nuts, and citrus zests in large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle on candied ginger and spices and mix well.  Add molasses, brandy, and prune juice; mix well.  Cover and  let stand overnight, stirring occasionally.  (Mixture can sit longer; stir occasionally; add brandy as it becomes absorbed.)                          

The day you bake cakes, preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Grease four 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans, line bottoms with waxed paper, grease paper, then flour lightly.  Knock out excess flour. (I never bake four 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaves--I use a variety of sizes. But, you'll get approximately 4 loaf pans worth of cake batter, so this gives you some idea of what quantity to expect.)                                     

Sprinkle 1 cup of flour over the fruit mixture and stir well.  Combine the remaining 3 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt, and sift them together onto a piece of waxed paper; set aside.
Cream butter, add brown sugar and beat well.  Add eggs, two at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla.  Add combined dry ingredients and beat until batter is thoroughly blended and perfectly smooth.  Pour batter over fruit mixture (use large tub or dishpan) and mix well until all fruit pieces are coated with batter.  Use clean hands if necessary to mix.                                                           
Divide batter among prepared pans, filling to within 1/2-inch of top.  Bake about 2 hours:  each cake will rise just above the rim of the pan,     the top will crack slightly in several places, and there will be a faint line of shrinkage around the edge of the pan.  An ice pick or long wooden skewer inserted in the center of a cake should come out clean, or with just a slight residue of sticky fruit, but no raw batter.  Remove the cakes from the oven and place them on a rack to cool for about 30 minutes.

Turn out of pans, peel off paper, and let cool topside-up on a rack.  If  you wish, pour an additional tablespoon or two of brandy over the cakes as they cool.  Wrap and store.                                             

6 cups nuts = 32 oz shelled halves. 

1 1/2tsp salt was also in recipe, I use about 1/2 teaspoon (I used to not use any, but then I read that salt brings out the flavor in sugar, so I went back to adding a bit).
Recipe makes four 9x5x3 cakes.  For 1988, I tripled the recipe.      This made 1 cake measuring 9x5x3, 8 cakes measuring 7.25x3.25x2.25, 10 cakes measuring 6.5x2.75x2, 8 "baby" loaves, and one tired person!

Recipe varies from year to year, depending on availability/ease of finding dried fruit. I try to keep amounts consistent, rather than type of fruit.

Original recipe called for zest of rinds from 3 grated oranges and 3 grated lemons. For ease (and because I don’t know what to do with leftover oranges and lemons with no rind) I’ve always used the lemon and orange flavorings (essentially the oil of the rind). These are found in the baking section, along with vanilla and spices. I don’t use artificially-flavored ingredients.

Also, I originally was unable to find candied ginger, so I used the grated ginger spice. Trader Joe’s has made candied ginger both available and affordable.