First posted in 2010, here it is with an updated presentation twist – wrap in brandy-soaked cheesecloth, tie with twine and decorate with a slice of dried orange and a bay leaf. You can dry the orange slices in the oven when you’re baking the fruitcakes. Keep an eye on them, it doesn’t take long.
Mrs. Merino, Steve’s friend Gordy’s mom, perfected her fruitcake recipe over many years. This one stands out by the perfect balance of warmly spiced, moist cake studded liberally with, but not overwhelmed by, brightly colored candied fruit.
Mix all this together and let stand overnight
Next day, sift together:
1/2 c. flour
2 T. cinnamon
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. ground cloves
1/2 T. salt
1/2 T. baking powder
Add 2 c. pecans
1 1/2 c. butter
2 1/2 c. sugar
Add 6 eggs, one at a time
Add 1/2 c. molasses and beat well
Mix 1/2 c. flour to the soaked fruit and then mix that into the butter mixture.
Add this to the flour mix, alternating with 1/2 c. strong coffee
Grease 3 loaf pans or 8 mini-loaf pans, add batter, and bake 1 hr. in a preheated 275 degree oven. Then reduce heat to 250 and continue to bake another hour and 45 minutes for the full sized loaves, about one hour fifteen minutes for the mini-pans.
It helps to put a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven to keep the air moist.
Let cool a little, run a knife around the sides of the loaves and then invert to release from the baking pans.