Oh NO you don't! This is not the dreaded fruitcake your Grandma has on her Christmas table. AND it is not to be used as a doorstop or a "White Elephant" Christmas gift. If you like moist cake, you will LOVE this! Look for dried fruits that do not have added sugars. They are out there, if you look.
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup currants
1/2 cup sun-dried cranberries
1/2 cup sun-dried blueberries
1/2 cup sun-dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1/8 cup candied ginger, chopped
2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1 cup Splenda
1/2 cup Diabetisweet brown sugar (reasonably available on Amazon.com)
10 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 3/4 cups flour ( I prefer 50/50 flour - that is half All-purpose and half Wheat)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
extra apple juice for spritzing
Combine dried fruits, candied ginger, and both zests. Add 1 cup of apple juice and microwave 5 minutes to rehydrate fruit.
Place fruit and liquid in a non-reactive pot with the sugars, butter, other cup of apple juice, and spices. Bring to boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool at least 15 minutes. (batter can be completed to this point and refrigerated up to 2 days. bring to room temperature before completing cake)
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a wooden spoon, then stir the eggs in, one at a time, until completely integrated then fold in nuts. Spoon into a greased 10-inch loaf pan (or 5 greased baby loaf pans) and bake 1 hour (40-ish minutes for the baby size). Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake another 10 minutes and check again.
Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack. Baste or spritz top with additional apple juice, and allow to cool completely before turning out of the pan(s). When cake is cool, seal in air-tight container. Every 2-3 days feel the cake, and if dry, spritz with apple juice. Flavor will be enhanced considerably over next 2 weeks.
I often double this recipe and bake in a bundt pan. That will last for the entire holiday season, so I do not have to bake a 2nd cake later.
IF USING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS, MUST REFRIGERATE. SPLENDA SPEEDS UP THE MOLD-FACTOR WHEN LEFT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.