- 2 cups dried cranberries or orange-flavored dried cranberries
- 2 cups dried fruit blend or dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup water, cranberry juice, or brandy
- 1 3/4 cups candied red cherries
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon orange oil or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia, optional
- 4 large eggs
- 3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 cups diced pecans or walnuts, optional
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- enough milk or water to make a thick but pourable glaze
- To prepare the fruit: Combine the dried fruit (except the candied cherries) with liquid in a bowl. Cover and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, stir, then set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease the pans of your choice: two 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans; or five 7″ wooden bakers; or six 7″ paper bake & give pans; or one 12-cup bundt-style pan; or two 6-cup bundt-style pans. For smaller loaves, see baker’s tips, below.
- To prepare the cake: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and flavors.
- Beat in the eggs one at time.
- Stir in the flour alternately with the orange juice.
- Add the undrained fruit, the candied cherries, and the nuts.
- Spoon the batter into the lightly greased baking pans, filling them about three-quarters full. If you have a scale, dividing the batter evenly among the pans is simple math. If you’ve included the nuts, the batter weighs about 90 oz. (2552g).
- Bake the cakes for 50 to 80 minutes; smaller pans will bake for the shorter length of time. Full- or half-size bundt-style cakes will bake the full 80 minutes. When done, the cakes will be a light golden brown all over, and a cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean.
- If you’re planning on using the glaze, stir together the orange juice and sugar while the cakes are baking. Set aside to rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.
- Remove the cakes from the oven. If you’re removing them from the pan(s), wait about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack. If you’re using the glaze, brush the warm cakes all over with the glaze, continuing to brush until you’ve used it all. If you choose not to use the glaze, you may wish to brush the warm cake(s) with brandy or the liquor of your choice.
- When completely cooled, wrap well and let rest at least 24 hours (or for up to a month, brushing with liquor or flavored syrup weekly), before serving.
- If desired, drizzle with white glaze just before serving.
- Yield: 1 large bundt-style cake; 2 small bundt-style cakes; 2 standard loaves; 5 to 6 smaller gift loaves, or 20 mini-loaves.