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Chocolate and Dried Cherry Fruit Cake

Makes two loaf cakes

Ingredients:

2 cups dark raisins
2 cups dried sour cherries
1/2 cup maraschino cherries
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup brandy, very hot
2 cups walnuts, broken
1 /4 cup coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup raspberry or apricot jam
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa, measured then sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Davis Baking Powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Soaking Liquid:
Brandy or coffee liqueur or strong coffee

Instructions:

A day of four hours before. Place fruit in a large bowl and cover, then toss with hot brandy. Cover and set aside. Before making cake, add in raspberry extract, vanilla, jam and stir in walnuts. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with non stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

For cake, blend melted butter with eggs, then dry ingredients and then fold in fruit/nut mixture. Blend well. Spoon into loaf pans. Place loaf pans on baking sheet and bake 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours until cakes test done.

Cool well, then wrap in brandy-infused cheesecloth and wrap in a clean tea towel then place in a plastic bag. Refresh brandy once a week until serving time. Without soaking, this cake is still fine to eat a few hours out of the oven.

Comments:

A travesty to some; heaven-in-a-fruitcake for others. A dense chocolate pound cake enlivened with dried sour cherries, chunks of chocolate and nuts laced with brandy or strong coffee. This makes a fine holiday cake that is festive but gourmet, and perfect for slicing - a must for any Purim party. (it is also a no-aging fruitcake)