Fruitcakes with meringue mushrooms recipe


Inspired by the time-honored specialty cakes of Christmas, these downscaled versions are studded with mixed dried fruits and nuts and flavored with spirits. Once baked, they are blanketed with billowy frosting and topped with another familiar holiday treat, meringue mushrooms. In place of the apricots, figs, and dates used here, you may substitute other fruits, such as dried pineapple or candied citrus peel. Just be sure to purchase good-quality fruits from a store with a high turnover (avoid supermarket varieties sold as “mixed candied fruit”) and use kitchen shears to cut the fruit into uniform pieces.

  • Yield: 12 Servings


For Cupcakes
  • 4 ounces dried apricots, cut into ¼-inch pieces (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces dried figs, stemmed and cut into ¼-inch pieces (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces plump, moist dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and cut into ¼-inch pieces (scant 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup hazelnut-flavored liqueur, such as Frangelico, or brandy
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted and skinned, then coarsely chopped
For Decorating
  • Seven-Minute Frosting
  • Meringue Mushrooms
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
How to Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Toss apricots, figs, and dates in a bowl with the liqueur. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in honey and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Fold in fruit mixture and hazelnuts by hand.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes (if cupcakes start to brown too quickly, tent loosely with foil). Transfer tin to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  4. To finish, use an offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Dust meringue mushrooms with cocoa and place on top of cupcakes just before serving.

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