Afternoon tea in Scotland wouldn't be complete without a slice of something sweet. This dense cake, studded with dried fruits, is a favorite in the UK. Many kinds of dried fruits work well, including apricots, cherries, dates, pineapple, apples, and pears, so use whatever favorites you have on hand. This cake isn't particularly sweet, so try it lightly toasted for breakfast.
assorted dried fruits (chopped into 1/4-inch dice)
(2 sticks) butter (softened)
eggs (room temperature)
unbleached all-purpose flour
finely minced crystallized ginger (optional)
Combine the raisins, currants, and dried fruits in a medium-sized bowl. Add the brandy and whiskey, cover with plastic wrap, and let the fruit macerate overnight at room temperature. The fruits will absorb all of the liquor.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and line with the paper.
Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a mixer. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate on moderate speed.
On slow speed, add the flour and spices, mixing to just blend. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dried fruits and ginger, if using. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 2 to 2-1/4 hours.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan to finish cooling. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The cake can be frozen for 2 months.