It’s peak fruitcake season, and a great time to try it if you’ve never tasted it before.
Fruitcake gets a bad rap, and is often shown on tv as a heavy brick of a cake that nobody likes and tries to pass on to someone else, but that is not a fair assessment of this yummy fruity cake.
It is delicious!
Love it or hate it, there is a rich history to this sturdy dessert. Usually the fruit is soaked in sugar syrup, or even alcohol, so the cakes can get really heavy and dense, and they can last a long time because the sugar can preserve the cake and keep it from going bad. One family has held onto a fruitcake for over 141 years in Tecumseh, Michigan. “It’s a great thing,” said Julie Ruttinger, the great great granddaughter of Fidelia Ford, who baked the cake in 1878. “It was tradition. It’s a legacy.” Its not the oldest fruitcake on record though; A 4,176-year-old cake that was found in an Egyptian tomb holds that honor.
The first recipe for fruitcake historians have found was from Ancient Rome, and the cake was made with pomegranate seeds, raisins, and pine nuts in a barley cake. Fruitcake has been made a lot since then and here are many different versions all over the world.
In Germany fruitcake is called stollen and has powdered sugar on top. In Italy they make panforte or pannetonne. Poland and Bulgaria call it keks. Portugal has the bolo rei — each cake has one fava bean inside and whoever gets the piece with the bean is supposed to buy the cake next year! Vietnam has a fruitcake called banh bo mut that’s made for the Lunar New Year.
National Fruitcake Day is December 27, so lets bake one and make sure your family has a yummy fruitcake ready to go! You can use any dried fruit you’d like and you can add nuts if you want to.