Mini Fruitcake Loaves

December 27: National Fruitcake Day

Highlander’s Mum would make traditional fruitcake for the family for Christmas, starting her holiday baking months before to give them time to age in orange juice-soaked cheesecloth. Sometimes she would make large round cakes, other times she would make them in large loaf pans. We make ours mini size to give away as gifts to Highlander’s family who don’t have the time to make them for their own holiday celebrations. They appreciate the childhood memories when they eat fruitcake for Christmas. Slice and serve with hot, heartwarming tea or rich eggnog for a festive holiday snack, especially on National Fruitcake Day!

Recipe

From Highlander’s Mum

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups mixed candied fruit (green and red cherries, lemon and orange peels, candied pineapple pieces, etc.)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 ½ cups mixed, chopped nuts (we used pecans, walnuts and slivered blanched almonds)
  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 grated rind of a large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • candied cherries (green and red)

Directions

Mist mini loaf pans or cake pans with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the fruitcake mix, raisins and nuts.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour over the mixed fruit and nuts and coat well.

In another bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and grated lemon rind. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Mix this into the above until well blended. Divide the batter evenly into the wells of the mini loaf pan. Top with green and red candied cherries.

Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour (test the cake for doneness with a toothpick and bake for another 10-15 minutes). Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Notes

  • Optional: Soak a piece of cheesecloth in orange juice. Drain the cheesecloth and wrap a mini fruitcake loaf in it. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least two weeks to age.
  • National Fruitcake Month is December. National Fruitcake Toss Day is January 3.

Stollen

Stollen

December 27: National Fruitcake Day

We exchanged fruitcakes one year with our oft-mentioned friend, Lisa L. We sent her an English-style homemade fruitcake from Highlander’s Mum’s recipe (blog post TBA) and Lisa gave us an authentic German stollen! The German-style fruitcake, also called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen, is oval-shaped, has a breadlike texture and is smothered in a blizzard of snow-white powdered sugar. What a delightful discovery of this Dresden delicacy!

We wanted to share this cultural confection with Islander’s brother’s students at his university during an Advent festival and introduce them to the international variety of fruitcakes as well as explain the symbolism of the seasonal stollen. The fruits in the cake represent the riches and gifts from the Three Kings and the blanket of white sugar on the Christstollen stands for the swaddling clothes of the sweet baby Jesus, Who is the Christ and King of all kings.

To make our simplified stollen at home, we used the dough-only cycle on our bread machine and finished baking it in the oven. This German fruitcake makes a flavorful and festive food for National Fruitcake Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Bread Experience)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, divided
  • ¼ cup butter, cold and cut up
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups bread flour
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • powdered sugar

Directions

In the bread machine container, place 1 egg and 1 egg yolk (use the remaining egg white for the wash), butter, water, milk, almond extract, salt, four, sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, lemon peel and yeast. Layer all the ingredients in order and follow the dough-only cycle instructions for your specific bread machine.

Stollen

Once the bread machine cycle is complete, remove the dough from its container.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, if necessaryto make the dough less sticky and easier to handle. Knead in the almonds, cranberries and raisins until well incorporated. Shape the dough into one large or two medium ovals. Place onto a greased baking sheet and cover with a greased plastic wrap. Place in a lukewarm oven until the dough has risen or doubled in size (approximately half an hour to an hour).

Stollen

Remove from the oven and carefully remove the plastic wrap. Brush the dough with lightly beaten egg white. Bake the stollen at 350 degrees F in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and loosely place a foil on top to prevent from overbrowning. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes. Brush melted butter on the top of the stollen.

Stollen

Generously sprinkle with powdered sugar. When the stollen has completely cooled, slice and sprinkle with more powdered sugar before serving.

Stollen

Notes

  • This stollen made from a bread machine recipe is not as sweet as the store-bought stollen but it is still scrumptious.
  • Avoid overkneading the nuts and dried fruits in the dough. Otherwise, the stollen will not be as light when baked.

 

Fruitcake Cookies

Fruitcake Cookies

December 27: National Fruitcake Day

Highlander fancies fruitcake but Islander is more of a fan of fruitcake cookies.  The bite-sized version, which contains similar ingredients as in a regular fruitcake, is chunky and chewy instead of crispy and crunchy. These fruitcake cookies are colorful like the Christmas lights twinkling on our tree.  For those who love and not loathe fruitcake, try these tiny treats as an alternative on National Fruitcake Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Southern Living Incredible Cookies)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 pound fruitcake mixed peel
  • ½ pound golden raisins
  • 2 ¾ cups flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs

Directions

In a large bowl, coat the pecans, fruitcake mixed peel and raisins with ¼ cup flour. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix 2 ½ cups of flour with the baking soda and ground cardamom. In another bowl, cream the butter with brown sugar. Beat in the eggs. Gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the nuts and fruit mixture until the cookie dough is well incorporated.

Fruitcake Cookies

Use a small cookie scoop to drop the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving space about two inches apart for each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar (optional). Yield: About 6 dozen cookies.

Fruitcake Cookies

Notes

  • Islander would like to toss out any fruitcakes from the fridge come January 3 (National Fruitcake Toss Day) but Highlander is still eating them all by himself! At least we both eat the fruitcake cookies.
  • Search our blog for other fruitcake recipes.