I advise using disposable mini loaf pans for this recipe. Measurements for these pans vary widely; this recipe was tested with pans that measured 7″ x 2.5″ width, 1.8″ high, and the batter filled three pans. If you’re making these loaves as a holiday gift, plan to bake at least 6 weeks before the gift-giving date. The loaves will need to be basted with a simple sugar glaze each week for those 6 weeks in order to “ripen” the fruitcakes. After the glazing is done, the loaves can be removed from their pans to be frozen indefinitely, or well-wrapped and stored in a cool, dark location for months.
Prepare the fruit:
Combine the fruit with the liquid of choice in a non-reactive bowl; cover and let rest overnight, at minimum.
Prepare simple syrup:
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the liquor, if using. Cool completely. Keep stored in jar in fridge to brush the loaves over the coming weeks.
Preheat oven at 300-degrees. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together, followed by the salt, spices, and baking powder.
Beat in the eggs, scraping the bowl after each addition.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa.
Add the flour mixture and the corn syrup to the butter mix. Scrape bowl well, then add the juice, the fruit with its liquid, and the nuts.
Apply nonstick spray to the mini loaf pans; pan measurements vary, but this recipe should use 3 to 4 pans. Spoon batter into the pans, filling them about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 1 hour to an 15 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. If desired, poke the cakes throughout with a skewer to allow more liquid to seep in. Brush tops with simple syrup for the first time.
Allow loaves to completely cool, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge or in a cool, dark location.
Once a week for the next six weeks, unwrap loaves to brush with more simple syrup (making more in needed).
After 6 weeks of ripening, the cakes can be eaten, stored in fridge longer, or frozen.
OM NOM NOM!