Preparation / Directions:
Combine all the fruits in a very large non-aluminum mixing bowl and mix well. Add the bourbon and toss together. Cover and set aside in a cool spot for one week, turning the fruit in the juices every other day. In the course of the week the fruit will absorb most of the liquor.
Mix the nuts with the glazed fruit.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar and continue beating for one minute. Add the spices and chocolate and beat until well combined. Gradually pour in the eggs and continue beating until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Remove * cup of the dry ingredients and set aside. Combine the remaining flour with the chocolate mixture and fold together with a large spatula to form a thick batter.
Drain the fruit and nut mixture in a colander, then squeeze to remove most of the liquid still clinging to the fruits. Combine fruit with the reserved flour and toss well, then mix into the chocolate batter, tossing with your hands until well combined.
Butter and line 3 bread pans (about 8-9 inches long) with baker's parchment, or use two smaller bread pans and a large round or square baking pan, or use individual loaf pans for part of the batter. Fill the lined pans about * full with the cake batter.
Bake in a 275 degree oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the cake feels firm and resilient when pressed. Small cakes will need 1*-2 hours, large cakes will need as much as 3-4 hours.
Cool cakes in their baking pans until just warm to the touch, then pour about * cup of the cognac or dark rum evenly over each cake. When the liquor has been absorbed, remove from the pan (with the parchment paper still attached to the cake) and wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil. Store in airtight tins until Christmas, at least 4 weeks.
If you wish, about a week before Christmas, carefully unwrap the cakes and bathe in a little more cognac or dark rum. Be careful not to add more liquor than the cake can absorb easily or it will develop a spongy texture.
Slice with a large serrated knife.
Note: If candied or glazed fruits are not available, dried fruits can be use