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    Dark Fruit Cake
    
    This recipe is over 100 years old. It takes two days to make, and three weeks to ripen, but well worth the time investment. If properly stored, the cake can be made as much as two months before Christmas.
    
    Ingredients - Fruit Mixture
    1 pound candied fruit (mixed and chopped, see note)
    2 ounces candied ginger (chopped fine)
    1/2 pound raisins (seedless)
    1/2 pound golden raisins (seedless)
    1/2 pound dried currants
    1/4 pound candied cherries (coarsely chopped, save 4 whole cherries for decoration, if you like)
    1/4 pound walnuts (or pecans, shelled, finely chopped, save 8 halves for decoration, if you like)
    2 lemons (rind only, finely grated)
    1/2 cup orange marmalade
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup brandy (or orange juice)
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    
    Ingredients - Cake Mixture
    2 cups flour (sifted)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon mace
    1/4 teaspoon cloves
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 pound butter (or margarine)
    1 cup sugar
    6 eggs
    
    
    Directions
    1. Place candied fruit, ginger, raisins, currants, cherries, walnuts
       or lemon rind, orange marmalade, lemon juice, brandy or orange
       juice and almond extract in a large bowl; toss well, cover and 
       let stand overnight at room temperature. 
    2. Grease, then line the bottom of a 10-inch tube pan with wax 
       paper. Preheat oven to 250 F. 
    3. Sift together twice the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, 
       allspice, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. 
    4. Cream butter until light, add sugar gradually, and continue 
       creaming until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well 
       after each addition. 
    5. Add to dry ingredients, about 1 cup at a time, beating just to 
       blend. (Note: Unless you have an extra-large mixing bowl, you 
       will have to transfer batter to a large kettle at this point.) 
       Mix in the fruit mixture.
    6. Spoon batter into the pan and, if you wish, decorate the top with
       halved candied cherries and walnuts. Place on center oven rack;
       half fill a roasting pan with water and place on the rack below.
       Bake uncovered, 4-1/4 hours until cake shrinks slightly from 
       sides of the pan and a metal skewer inserted midway between the
       edge and the central tube comes out clean.
    7. Spoon batter into the pan and, if you wish, decorate the top with
       halved candied cherries and walnuts. Place on center oven rack; 
       half fill a roasting pan with water and place on the rack below.
       Bake uncovered, 4 1/4 hours until cake shrinks slightly from 
       sides of the pan and a metal skewer inserted midway between the 
       edge and the central tube comes out clean.
    8. Wrap in brandy or rum soaked cheesecloth then in foil, and store
       in an airtight container about 3 weeks to ripen. If you wish to 
       store it longer, sprinkle cheesecloth wrapping with 2 to 3 
       tablespoons brandy or rum at 3-week intervals.