Many people feel that fruitcakes improve greatly with age. When they are well saturated with liquors, which raise the spirits and keep down mold, and are buried in powdered sugar in tightly closed tins, they have been enjoyed as long as 25 years after baking.
Fruitcakes are fundamentally butter cakes with just enough batter to bind the fruit. Raisins, figs and dates can be more easily cut if the scissors or knife used is dipped periodically in water. If you do not care for the usual candied fruits, do as one fan wrote us. She cooked chopped dried apricots, dates, raisins and currants in orange juice, used whole-wheat flour and added pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
For a 2 1/2-pound cake, use an 8-inch ring mold or a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan, either filled to about 2 1/2 inches. To prepare a tube pan, line the bottom with a round of greased parchment paper or foil and cut a straight strip for the sides. Bake as long as indicated in individual recipes or until the cake tests done by pressing lightly with a finger.
Fruitcakes, still in the pan, are cooled from 20 to 30 minutes on a rack. After removing the cakes from pans, the parchment or foil in which they are baked is carefully peeled away and the cake rack-cooled further until entirely free from heat.