Gluten Free Christmas Fruit Loaf

Serves about 16 people.

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (210 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
3 x-large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (35 grams) alcohol (Grand Marnier, brandy, rum, etc.) plus need extra for brushing the cake
Juice and zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
1 cup (100 grams) almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
2 1/4 pounds (1 kilogram) of an assortment of dried fruit (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.) all chopped into small chunks
2 cups (260 grams) Blends by Orly Sydney Blend
3/4 cup (75 grams) finely ground nuts or almond meal
1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

Heat: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 9 inch loaf pan. To prevent the cake from sticking, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment paper that extends about 2 inches (5 cm) above the rim of the pan. 

Mix: In a separate bowl, whisk together the Sydney Blend, almond meal, salt, and baking powder.  In another large bowl place the dried and candied fruits, along with the chopped nuts. Remove about 3-4 tablespoons of the flour mixture and add it to this mixture, tossing well to coat all the fruits and nuts.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed. Add the alcohol, orange juice, orange zest and lemon zest. Then beat or fold in the chopped nuts and all the dried and candied fruits. Then beat or fold in the flour mixture.

Bake: Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Place the loaf pan on a larger baking sheet. Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and continue to bake the cake for about 80-90 minutes or until a long skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Then, with a skewer, poke holes in the top surface of the cake and generously brush with the alcohol. Wrap the cake thoroughly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in a cake tin or plastic bag. Store in a cool dry place. Store in the fridge to let the alcohol seep in.  Brush once more with alcohol before serving.  This gluten free fruit loaf is complemented perfectly with a tall glass of eggnog.