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[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Oh, hello. I didn't expect to see you here. I thought it was just going to be me and some fruitcakes for a while. That's OK. Pretty much sums up my life so far.

Did the candied fruit topping draw you in? I hope it did, because I specially ordered that mix. And I didn't skimp. I went Extra Fancy.

One side of my family is from Naples. It's understood that I enjoy eating candied fruit, will bake all my adult life with candied fruit, and will die in my housecoat and slippers, my chubby arms, soft as a baby's bottom, cradling a tub of candied fruit. They'll sprinkle some red cherries—my favorite—over my grave.

I don't mind if you don't feel the same way, because that doesn't mean you can't come to love it. Piano, piano as my grandmother says.

These are really more like mini loaves of gingerbread that happen to have some candied fruit in the batter. It's a starter, to get your tastebuds accompanied to things. Like giving a child some water with a splash of wine. You like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, don't you? And obviously molasses and a little honey. What about a cake perfectly sized just for you?

Well, just for you and 7 of your friends, if you have an 8-cup mini loaf pan, as I do. I love that thing—what's better than a slice of poundcake? Your own little loaf. The candied fruit adds a pop of sugar and chew to every bite. You can add as much or as little as you like, but I advise getting a mix of fruit (such as cherry and citrus) to round out the flavor. Wrapped up in colored paper or cellophane, these are undeniably festive and make great gifts.

Get the Recipe

Individual Spiced Fruitcakes »

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

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