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July 28, 2015

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Missouri monks’ fruitcakes support solitary living

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Jeff Roberson / AP

In this Nov. 30, 2012, photo, Father Cyprian Harrison, left, and Brother Thomas Imhoff decorate fruitcakes at Assumption Abbey, in Ava, Mo. The Trappist monks spend most of the year making more than 20,000 fruitcakes, 125 at a time, and selling the majority of them around the holiday season as a way to support their way of life.

AVA, Mo. — Once the bane of pot-luck parties, the fruitcake has been turned into a sought-after treat by Trappist monks secluded in the Missouri Ozarks who some say bake cake that's nothing short of heavenly.

Between February and mid-December, monks at the Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., produce about 25,000 fruitcakes. The monks have gained a national reputation for carefully controlling the production. They marinate the fruit, age the cakes and even package and ship the product from their foothills monastery.

Before each two-pound cake leaves the abbey, it gets a special prayer from the monks aimed at all those who eat the cake.

At $31 apiece, the cakes allow the monks to live out solitary lives of work and prayer on their compound southeast of Springfield.

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