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Dark Fruit Cake

['1/4 pound butter, or 1/2 cup shortening', '1 cup dark-brown sugar, firmly packed', '1 teaspoon lemon extract', '2 eggs', '1/2 cup molasses', '2 cups flour', '1/2 teaspoon baking soda', '1 teaspoon cinnamon', '1/2 teaspoon allspice', '1/2 teaspoon mace', '1/4 teaspoon cloves', '1/2 teaspoon salt', '1/2 cup milk', '2 cups small pieces mixed candied fruit', '1/2 cup small pieces candied citron', '1 cup raisins', '1 cup chopped pecans']

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans, line them with foil, then butter the foil. Cream the butter or shortening, add the brown sugar, and beat until light. Add the lemon extract and eggs and beat well. Stir in the molasses and blend. Mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, mace, cloves, and salt; beat into the first mixture. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Stir in the candied fruit, citron, raisins, and pecans, and mix well. Spoon into the pans and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out onto racks to cool. When completely cool, wrap well and store in an airtight container.
Soak two large pieces of cheesecloth in brandy. Wrap each fruit cake in the cheesecloth, covering all sides, then wrap well in foil. Moisten the cheesecloth with additional brandy every few days for about a week. The brandy will flavor the cake and help preserve it too.

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