Totaltime: 40 minutes Additional info: Makes 5 small fruitcakes
6 oz (175 g) pitted prunes
6 oz (175 g) dried apricots
4 oz (125 g) dried pineapple
4 oz (125 g) dried black Mission figs,
hard stem ends removed
4 oz (125 g) dried cherries
4 oz (125 g) Thompson raisins
4 oz (125 g) golden raisins
3/4 cup (175 mL) port
1/2 cup (125 mL) dark rum
1/2 cup (125 mL) brandy
1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches (8 cm) long
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon rind
1½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1¼ tsp (6 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground allspice
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (375 mL) demerara sugar, packed
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Cut prunes,apricots, pineapple and figs into small pieces (smaller than ½ inch/1 cm). Put in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot along with cherries, raisins, port, rum, brandy, bitters, honey and cinnamon stick. Place pot over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until fruit mixture is plump and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in grated lemon rind. Scrape into a large glass or ceramic bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand for a few days, or ideally a week, stir ring every few days.
2 Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C). Grease 5mini loaf pans, 5 x 2 x 2 inches (13 x 5 x 5 cm) approx., and fully line with parchment paper.
3 Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and all-spice in a small bowl and stir with a fork until uniform.
4 Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating really well between additions and scraping down sides as needed to keep batter from separating. Add flour mixtureand beat until just combined (batter will be on the thin side). Scrape in dried fruit mixture and any syrupy liquid and stir until just combined.
Divide batter between prepared pans and bake for 2 hours 20 minutes or until cakes are deeply golden and a cake tester comes out with crumbs clinging to it.
5 Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes, then carefully turn out ontowire racks, peel off parchment paper and let cool fully. Wrap cooled cakes well and keep in airtight containers until ready to eat or share. No aging necessary.