MAKES 2 CAKES
Not all fruitcakes are dark, dense, and meant for "aging". Some, like this version—inspired by Italy's pandolce d'oro (literally sweet cake of gold)—are light in texture and color, and are best eaten sooner rather than later.
1 1⁄2 cups sliced almonds
3⁄4 cup candied lemon peel, minced
3⁄4 cup candied orange peel, minced
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried apricots, minced
1 cup dried peaches, minced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
1 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground mace
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 cup dried white bread crumbs
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1⁄2 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Combine almonds, lemon peel, orange peel, raisins, apricots, peaches, apple, and orange liqueur in a large bowl and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.
2. Generously grease 2 fluted, 4-cup tube pans. Sift flour, baking soda, mace, ginger, cloves, and salt together into a large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs and set aside.
3. Beat butter with an electric mixer, gradually adding sugar and beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Gently fold in fruit and marinade, then spoon into pans.
4. Cover batter with lids or greased aluminum foil and place in a deep roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come one-third up sides of pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Unmold cakes while warm; cool before serving. (Store, wrapped in plastic wrap, in refrigerator for up to 1 week.)