9-12 servings - One 9- by 5-inch loaf, 9-inch round, or 9-inch tube cake, or four 5- by 3-inch loaves
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
- 2 cups sifted cake flour, or 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (7 ounces/200 grams)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (65 to 67°F) (2 sticks/8 ounces/225 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, or 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (9.25 ounces/265 grams)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten (¾ cup/7 ounces/200 grams)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk (2.125 ounces/60 grams)
- 2 tbsp brandy or sweet wine (such as Port)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or rosewater
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped raisins (8 ounces/225 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups dried currants (8 ounces/225 grams)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, 9-inch springform pan, 9-inch (9-cup) tube or Bundt pan, or four 5- by 3-inch (2-cup) loaf pans, line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, and grease again.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium, gradually add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Total time for beating in the eggs is about 4 minutes.
- Add the cream, brandy, and vanilla.
- In 3 additions, fold in the flour mixture.
- Stir in the raisins and currants.
- Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1¼ hours for a large loaf pan or springform pan; 1 hour and 5 minutes for a tube pan; or 40 minutes for the small loaf pans.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 1½ hours. Wrap tightly in plastic, then foil. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices.
- Double the recipe and bake in a 10- by 4-inch (16-cup) tube or Bundt pan for about 1¼ hours.
- Spicier Washington Cake: Omit the fruit and cloves, and increase the nutmeg to 2 teaspoons and cinnamon to 1½ teaspoons.