Fruitcakes!

I really do love these fruitcakes… (Don’t Judge…Ha! Ha! )

Ok, I know. Fruitcakes have a reputation.. you either love them or hate them. I’ve heard all the jokes. Johnny Carson used to say, on the Tonight Show, that there was really only one fruitcake in the entire world and it was just passed from person to person, year after year. But there must be something about fruitcakes that people like, because they have been in existence for hundreds of years.

The fruitcake dates way back to Ancient Rome, when nuts, raisins, and pomegranate seeds were baked in barley mash. The fact that these cakes would last so long is what made them so popular, because Roman soldiers could take them on their long crusades. In the 1600’s candied fruit was added to fruitcakes, and later, during the Victorian era, alcohol was added. In the 18th century, fruitcakes were outlawed because they were seen as “sinfully rich”, but later, they became popular for special occasions. Just last year, Kate Middleton chose a fruitcake as her wedding cake. Fruitcakes came to the United States from immigrants, and they were often served at weddings and special occasions.

Today fruitcakes are sent as Christmas gifts by thousands of people across the United States.  I have been the recipient of one of those store-bought fruitcakes that weigh a ton and seem like you could keep them in your fridge for 10 years and they would still taste the same. I’ve tried them and been totally unimpressed.

Years ago, my mom started making these little mini fruitcakes for our family, and to share with neighbors. It became a Powell family tradition for her to give these little fruitcakes to friends and family. Over the years she has tweaked the recipe, and this year she shared it with me, so I could try it. I made my first fruitcakes today.

**Mini Fruitcakes**

  • 4 small or 2 large containers of mixed diced candied fruit
  • 1 1/4 C dark seedless raisins
  • 1 1/4 C light seedless raisins
  • 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 1 C chopped pecans

Mix fruits and peels, raisins, and nuts in a large bowl.

  • 3 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t cloves

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Sprinkle 1/4 C over fruit mixture, mixing well.

  • 1 C butter
  • 2 C brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 8-oz cream cheese

Thoroughly cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until smooth. Pour batter over fruits and mix well.
Spoon into small party cups, and top with one or two cherries.

Bake 70-75 minutes at 275 degrees. To ensure moister fruitcakes, put a rectangular pan filled with about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom rack of the oven while baking.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

I think the results were pretty close to hers. Although we may be having a fruitcake “taste test” when she comes for Christmas! I’ve asked her to bring some of her fruitcakes and we will have the family try both mine and hers to see if I was able to make the “famous fruitcakes”. I’ll let you know how I did.

Anyway, if you love fruitcake, you’d love these little ones. If you’ve never been a fan, these little fruitcakes might just win you over! I know I’ll be enjoying mine for the next few months!

Have a wonderful week!
Sandy

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