2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla brandy* (see below, may substitute vanilla
extract with good results)
2-1/2 cups golden raisins
1 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
2-2/3 cups dried peaches, coarsely chopped
3-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
2 to 3 cups brandy or dark rum, as needed
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Cut 2 sheets of
waxed paper each 9 inches wide and about 12 inches long. Fit each
sheet of paper into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, with the ends overhanging
the long side of the pan. Butter the waxed paper and the short ends
of the pans; set aside.
Sift 1-1/2 cups of the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking
powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream
the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add vanilla brandy and
mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
one. Lower the speed to slow, and gradually beat in the sifted
mixture, being careful not to over mix.
Toss the raisins, ginger and peaches with the remaining 1/2 cup
flour; fold into the batter along with the walnuts. Divide the
batter between the prepared pans; smooth the tops. Bake until a
toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves emerges clean, 2-1/4
to 2-1/2 hours. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20
minutes. Unmold the cakes; peel away the waxed paper and turn right
side up. Cool completely on the racks.
Lay 2 large sheets of aluminum foil on a work surface. Cut a piece
of cheesecloth large enough to wrap each cake; place each on top of
a sheet of foil. Place 1 cake on each piece of cheesecloth. Baste
the top and sides of the cake with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of your choice of
brandy or rum, brushing it on and letting it soak in for a few
minutes. Brush again twice. Wrap the cakes in the cheesecloth then
in the foil. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 months to age and ripen,
brushing them with more liquor through their cheesecloth about once
Makes: two 9 x 5 inch loaves.
Note: *To make vanilla brandy, soak two vanilla beans, cut up, in a
small bottle of brandy and let steep for about a week.