The ``old-fashioned fruitcake'' brings to mind a heavy, rich, sweet concoction with an overwhelming amount of nuts and dried or candied fruits. On the plus side, it can be baked months ahead, and some have been known to keep for years. On the other hand, not everyone appreciates this weighty, seasonal treat.
Such cakes, thinly sliced, look attractive on the dessert tray, but in general the new-fashioned, lighter fruitcakes have more individuality.
Some can be refrigerated or frozen, and all carry well if you're bringing a dessert to some holiday gathering. Cranapple Cake 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups fresh cranberries 2 cups chopped, unpeeled, cored apples 1 cup chopped walnuts Confectioners' sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-cup Bundt pan. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In large bowl beat brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla untilwell blended. Add flour-spice mixture. Mix well.
Stir in cranberries, apples, and walnuts. Batter will be stiff. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake 1 1/4 hours, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 30 minutes. Turn out and cool completely. Cake freezes well. Sift confectioners' sugar over top before serving. Peanut Butter Chip Fruitcake 2 cups pecan halves 1 3/4 cups walnut halves 1 1/2 cups candied pineapple, cut up 1 1/4 cups golden raisins 1 1/2 cups whole pitted dates 3/4 cup red candied cherries 3/4 cup green candied cherries 4 cups peanut butter chips 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix well. Press mixture into foil-lined 2 1/4-by-3 1/2-by-7 1/4-inch loaf pans or 2 1/2-inch or 2-inch paper-lined muffin tins. Bake at 275 degrees F. for 30 minutes for loaf pan and 2 1/2-inch muffin tins; 25 minutes for 2-inch muffin tins. Cool. Remove from pans. Wrap in foil or clear plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator. Makes 5 mini-loaves, 45 2 1/2-inch cakes, or 60 2-inch cakes. Tropical Fruitcake 3 cups flour 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups oil 3 eggs, beaten 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained 2 medium bananas, chopped 1 cup chopped nuts Frosting 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 pound confectioners' sugar 1/3 cup flaked coconut 1/3 cup chopped nuts 1 teaspoon vanilla
For cake, sift flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in oil, eggs, and pineapple. Stir in bananas and nuts.
Pour batter into greased and floured 10-inch springform or tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Remove side of pan. Cool completely. For frosting, mix all ingredients. Frost top and sides of cake. Serves 12. Applesauce-Raisin Cake 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 egg, beaten 1 cup molasses 1 cup applesauce 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In medium bowl combine flour, soda, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs.
In small bowl, stir together egg, molasses, and applesauce. Blend into flour mixture just till moistened. Stir in raisins and nuts. Turn into greased and floured 2-by-9-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 to 45 minutes, or till cake tests done. Cool in pan 15 minutes.Serve with cream cheese spread if desired. Yogurt Orange Cake 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup plain yogurt 1/4 cup freshly squeezed, strained orange juice 1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel 1/2 cup coarsely chopped seedless raisins 1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9-by-9-inch baking pan; dust lightly with flour. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour with baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, mixing at low speed until well blended. Stir in orange juice, peel, raisins, and almonds. Turn into pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack.