Mix the dried fruit, cherry liqueur, and 3 tablespoons of brandy in a small bowl and set aside.
Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Let the mixture rest for five minutes.
Heat the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of brandy, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Let cool.
Add the milk mixture to the yeast.
Gradually mix in 1 cup of the flour, beating until smooth. The dough will not look like typical bread dough. It will be soupy. Don't panic like I did! You didn't do anything wrong. It will work out just fine!
Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours - until it has doubled in size. (If you want to keep baking, you could use the two hours to make snickerdoodles or go play in the snow, make Christmas cards, and be merry.)
When the dough has risen, punch it down and mix in the dried fruit, almonds, candied orange peel, and zest.
Add the eggs, 3/4 cup of the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg.
Stir in 3 more cups of flour and mix the dough until smooth.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
Knead in the remaining 1 cup of flour until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners.
Melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter and brush it over the uncooked cupcakes.
Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the cardamom in a bowl.
Sprinkle the tops of the cupcakes with the mixture.
Cover the cupcake trays and let rise for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. (While you are waiting, why not make some gingersnaps?)
Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Lemon Glaze Recipe
3/4 C powdered sugar 2 tbsp warm milk 1 tsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients and drizzle over stollen cupcakes.