yeah, well, there's really no hiding it. i can't even claim it's not like a traditional cake made with all fresh or dried fruit, or some sort of pierre herme creation. it's not lightweight, it's not soaked in tequila--it's a number-one-bona-fide-brick of butter, sugar, eggs, and fruit. i adapted a recipe from jeffrey steingarten--the other one who ate everything--that was adapted by annie over at bon appegeek; she is a hardcore fruitcake fanatic, so if she liked the recipe, and if jeffrey steingarten liked the recipe, there's a pretty good chance that i...might not. hey! like i said, i'm not a big fruitcake fan. i don't know why i wanted to make it, maybe it's some sort of sick manifestation of holiday spirit or something. (you know what? it probably is. i mean, i've been watching straight-to-basic-cable holiday movies all week--diva whose ghost of present is the bass player for duran duran? seen it. sabrina the teenage witch kidnapping the cha cha king for a family dinner? seen it. also, who's been scanning the FM dial for a chance to hear mariah carey for the fifteenth time? that day? nyahh. say what you want, it's teh awesomeest.)
so anyway. i've never read steingarten's book, don't really know the exact mods that annie did to his cake, and there's talk of some sort of "fatal flaw" in the crust. i wasn't worried too much about it, though, because the ingredients list reads like a french pound cake recipe with the addition of a lot of stuff--i can do that. the french pound cake--quatre quarts, literally "four fourths"--is made with equal amounts of four ingredients: flour, eggs, butter, and sugar; only a little variation on that, and some advice taken from one of the dozens of googled fruitcake recipes i've looked at for weeks: the addition of 3.5 pounds of fruit. yeeeeeeahboyyyy. can't mistake that for anything else then. i used a mix of dried and candied fruits, chopped them up to 1/4-inch anonymity to protect the innocent, which made the cake more like a jammy poundcake than dough studded with sugary unidentifiable lumps. walnuts added some needed texture, and like annie and jeffrey, i didn't bother to liquor it up. didn't need it. also didn't get the hard crustiness as described by both, but i baked them in smaller loaves, so the cooking time was reduced significantly; what i got was a beautifully golden, sugary-coated shell that made the cake irresistible directly out of the oven. of course, all that fruit and sugar makes it molten-hot, so perhaps you'd like to wait for it to cool completely, or even refrigerate it for easier slicing.
3 1/2 lbs of any combination of dried fruit and candied fruit you like--i highly suggest using a lot of citrus peel in the mix (i used 8 oz each of candied orange peel, lemon peel, and pineapple, golden raisins, chopped dates, 4 oz of finely diced candied ginger in syrup, and made up the rest with a dried fruit blend, then chopped down to 1/8"-1/4" pieces)
1 lb of nuts, your choice (i used roughly chopped walnuts)
1 lb of flour, sifted
1 lb of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lb of white sugar
2 teaspoonfuls of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoonful of salt
preheat oven to 325˚F.
in a large bowl, combine all fruit and nuts, mixing well. set aside. cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. add vanilla and salt. fold in flour until completely incorporated. mix fruit/nut mix into batter. transfer batter into well greased pans. bake until golden, and toothpick inserted in center comes out relatively clean (roughly 35 minutes for small muffins, 1 hour for small loaves, and 2 hours for large ones).