Irish Christmas Cake

posted by Queen Bee

Irish Christmas Cake

1 lb. citron, chopped
1/2 lb. candied orange and lemon peel, chopped
1/2 lb. preserved or glanced cherries, chopped
1/2 lb. dates, chopped
3 3/4 cup raisins
3 3/4 cup currants
1 lb. almonds, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup brandy
1 lb. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 lb. butter, softened
15 large eggs, separated; yolks beaten until thick
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tbs. each cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg
1 1.2 tbs. ground mace

Preheat oven to 300-F degrees and place a large baking pan full of water in the oven as it warms Lightly grease and line a 12-inch spring form pan with waxed paper; set aside.

Blend together the chopped citron, candied orange and lemon peel, cherries, dates, raisins, and currants. Add the almonds and toss to blend again. Pour the brandy over the fruit and set aside to plump while combining the remaining ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg yolks gradually, blending constantly. Reserve about one cup of the flour and sift the remaining three cups with the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and mace into the creamed eggs and butter. Add the dry ingredients gradually, making sure to blend well after each addition.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until glossy. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.

Dust the brandy-soaked fruits with the remaining cup of flour, then fold the fruits into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and gently tap on a counter to remove any air bubbles.

Bake the cake with the tin of water for approximately 2 1/2 hours or until a cake tester can be cleanly removed from the cake. Let the cake cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Soak a large cheesecloth or other clean muslin fabric in about a cup of brandy. Wrap the cooled cake with the brandy-soaked cloth, and place the cake in an airtight container. Refrigerate or place in a cool, dry area for at least three weeks.

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