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Mini Cranberry Fruit Cakes
If you find that the holiday season has snuck up on you yet again, you may want to bake a fruit cake that will age quickly to become moist and flavorful. Miniature fruit cakes are the answer! Muffin tins for large muffins, know as "Texas muffins," can be found in cookware stores.
Miniature Fruitcakes
A fruit cake recipe that will fit in two loaf pans will also fit in two giant muffin pans with six cups each (12 small cakes total). You can ladle your batter into Texas muffin tins using a large portion scoop. The recipe below replaces some of the candied fruit found in traditional fruitcake with dried cranberries to make them less sweet and very healthy.
 

1/4 lb candied ginger

1/2 lb dried cranberries

lb candied cherries

1/4 lb macadamia nuts

1/4 lb pecans or almonds

1/4 lb pitted dates

1/4 lb candied pineapple

1/4 lb preserved citron

3 oz lemon and/or orange peel

1/4 lb seeded raisins

1/4 cup flour

 

1/4 cup apple cider or orange juice

1 cup shortening (butter)

cup sugar (Demerara preferred)

cup honey

5 well-beaten eggs

1 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

tsp nutmeg

tsp cloves

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Preheat oven, placing pans with plenty of water on bottom rack for greater volume and moisture.  Check frequently to maintain water level.  Do not let any of the pans run dry.

Shred fruit peels and ginger, halve cherries, nut meats, and dates. Cut pineapple & citron to the size of almonds. Dredge fruit in 1/4 cup of flour. Cream shortening & sugar; add honey, then eggs, and beat well.

Add flour sifted with dry ingredients alternately with fruit juice; beat thoroughly. Pour batter over floured fruit & fold in.

Grease 2 Texas muffin tins (12 individual cakes) and dust with powdered sugar or flour. Ladle batter into pans with a large portion scoop, but do not flatten. Bake in slow oven, 225-250° F, 3-4 hours.

Cool cakes in the pan for 30 minutes; work around the cakes with a thin plastic knife to loosen. When thoroughly cooled, place on wrapping materials and pour brandy or rum (or Scotch) over loaves, targeting any cracks on the surface. You can place cheesecloth in a bowl and soak in rum, then wrap the loaves in cheesecloth and also in heavy foil. To economize on rum, omit cheesecloth and pour directly into cracks on top of loaves and repeat this every week until the loaves are moist and dark. Place wrapped loaves in plastic containers and store in cold cellar or other cool, dark, dry location.

Fruitcakes in cheesecloth

Following the procedure above, the fruitcake will keep beautifully for a very long time. It only improves with age--the best cake is the one made the year before! This may be the reason that fruitcake is the traditional wedding cake: it's become a symbol of endurance. If you're lucky enough to have some left over, it's fine to serve it during the summer months as well . . .

Looking for other recipes calling for dried cranberries? Visit our page for Yule Logs; for fresh cranberries, try our exceptional Cranberry Muffins!

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