Fruit cake is one of those foods you either love or hate; there seems to be no middle ground. Many weighty and deadly-dry versions appear every Yuletide season.
This recipe, however, is one of the best of the fruit cake tradition. Loaded with nuts and fruit (no citron), and bound with a smidgen of butter to hold it all together, it's more fruit than cake — which is as it should be!
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Heavily butter a 10-inch tube pan or 2 loaf pans, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg into a medium bowl.
In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending completely after each addition.
Add the flour mixture to the eggs in two additions, alternating with the 1/2 cup of bourbon. Stir in the pecans and fruits.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 2 hours. If the top of the cake begins to brown substantially before the cake is set, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool 15 minutes on a wire rack before turning out of the pan. When completely cool, liberally sprinkle the cake with some of the additional bourbon, and wrap the cake in several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Allow the cake to mellow for at least a week, preferably longer, dousing with more bourbon every 5 days.