Monday, December 04, 2017

Last-Minute Fruitcakes

Last week I promised to share the recipe for Last-Minute Fruitcakes, which call for the homemade candied pineapple and cherries I shared that day.  You could use that candied fruit in any recipe calling for candied cherries or pineapple, but these little fruitcakes are very good too.  They are called "last-minute" because there is no need to bake them days ahead to allow them to mellow, as many old-time recipes specified.  Here's the recipe:


4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
12 eggs
3 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Candied Pineapple, cut up
Candied Cherries, halved
1 Tblsp. grated lemon peel

Sift together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Set aside 1/3 cup of this mixture to toss with the fruit.  (This helps prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottoms of the cakes.)

Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing well.  Add the lemon peel.

Toss the fruits and nuts with the reserved 1/3 cup flour.  Stir into batter.

Heat the oven to 275º. 

The recipe calls for greasing and flouring a dozen 10.5 ounce soup cans to bake the cakes in.  This does produce very cute cylindrical cakes.  However, today's soup cans have that funky rim at the top from the pull-tab.  I cannot imagine that the cakes would come out of the pans very easily with that rim in the way.

So I would recommend using a dozen tiny loaf pans instead.  Grease and flour them (or use the special baking spray that contains both).  Spoon the batter into the pans, filling to 1 inch from the top.  Bake at 275º (a "very slow oven") for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cakes test done. 

I would let them set in the pans for 5 minutes before removing the loaves to a rack to cool.

If desired, the cooled cakes may be frosted with an icing made by combining 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1 Tblsp. soft butter, 1 Tblsp. milk, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Blend well; drizzle over cakes.  Decorate with candied fruit.


  1. Oh I can think of a lot of recipes affected by new packaging! My mother’s brown bread recipe for baked bean night is another one that doesn’t work so well in a tin anymore. And what about all the recipes requiring a cake mix, yet now they’ve reduced the amount of mix in each box. Little loaf tins will solve the fruitcake in a tomato tin, but it’s going to take a chemist to figure out those other ones.

    Happy Baking, Mrs. T. I have been wanting to bake, but have the energy of a slug by day’s end. 😴

    1. You are so right, Vee, about the many different recipes affected by new packaging and the amount of product in boxes and cans.

      I've done a bit of baking -- cookies, mainly -- and I did make some jam. Plenty more to do, and I have more kitchen gifts like granola and hot chocolate mix that I plan to do. I absolutely relate to your "energy of a slug" comparison, for I feel the same way. Think I'll plan to bake during Tuesday's big storm when I won't be going anywhere!

  2. Fruit cake is very Christmassy but the one dessert I will not make. Not my favorite.

    1. This one is very good, though, Lucie. Making one's own candied cherries and pineapple makes all the difference. I detest fruitcakes made with regular candied fruit.


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