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(Ava) – 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 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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