Wild Turkey Fruitcake
Makes one 9½-inch round cake (or whatever size pans you desire). Recipe is by Cynthia L. Nobles, who notes, “Before refrigeration, baked goods were often preserved in alcohol.”
2 cups chopped dates
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup black or yellow raisins
1 cup Wild Turkey bourbon, divided
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. iodized salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 tbl. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
Grated peel from 1 large orange
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1½ cups chopped pecans
1½ cups chopped walnuts
1. In a glass bowl, mix together dates, cherries, raisins and ½ cup Wild Turkey bourbon. Cover tightly and let fruit soak at room temperature 12-24 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Place a rack on lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 300 F and place a pan of hot water on the bottom of oven or lowest rack. Grease the inside of baking pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper. (A 9½-inch springform pan with a removable bottom was used for testing. But you can use just about any size pan. Just remember not to fill more than 2?3 full). In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together molasses, vanilla, almond extract and orange peel and set aside.
3. In a large bowl using medium mixer speed, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs until batter is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir half of flour mixture into butter, then stir in molasses mixture, then rest of flour, just until combined. Fold in soaked fruit, pecans and walnuts.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan. (Remember, do not fill more than 2?3 full). Level off top and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, or when a thermometer inserted in the center reads 200 F, about 1¼ hours for a 9½-inch pan. (Start checking miniloaves and muffins at about 45 minutes).
5. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Poke holes with a toothpick or fork in top of cake and pour on ¼ cup bourbon. Cool another 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan and peel off parchment. Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to wrap around cake and soak in remaining ¼ cup bourbon. Wrap cake tightly in soaked cheesecloth and pour any of the bourbon that wasn’t soaked up on top of cake. Wrap cheesecloth-covered cake with plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Let cake age at cool room temperature up to 2 months. If desired, sprinkle cake with bourbon once a week as it ages.