Ah, the Christmas season!* And in this particular instance I feel no need to be inclusive and mention “the holiday season” because I want to share my thoughts on something that is, so far as I know, uniquely Christmas related.**
I love fruitcake. I love the density, the almost but not quite too sweetness of it, the spice, the fruit, the nuts… I have been known to drool over fruitcake. Dark (which my mom makes), light (which my grandmother makes), marzipan-iced (ohh… marzipan…) — I love it. What the heck is the deal with everybody bad mouthing fruitcake every year? You must have had some really bad stuff.
Yes, it is vaguely disturbing that fruitcakes come with suspiciously long best before dates (if they have best before dates), but they do have two natural preservatives working for them: sugar and brandy (in the better cakes at least). Yes, they are ridiculously heavy, but look at the ratio of fruit and nuts to cake in the good ones. Sometimes the cake is just barely holding everything together. These are confections for celebration, not some wussy girly mousse cake (which are okay for summer consumption but just don’t hold up for the holiday occasion).
All I’m saying is give fruitcake a chance.
Sites that make me long for fruitcake:
- Holy Cross Abbey monastery fruitcakes (does Trappist beer go well with Trappist fruitcake? It might! Also Gethsemani Farms and Assumption Abbey)
- Claxton Fruit Cake (it’s from Georgia — and there are recipes that use fruit cake in them! Mmm…)
- Collin Street Bakery (fruitcake since 1896 — no smart-ass comments, please!)
- Old Cavendish Fruitcakes (organic from Vermont)
- The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake (I knew I wasn’t the only one!)
- Mondo Fruitcake (a fruitcake blog! Hallelujah, I’m home!)
* (Note also the semi-festive switch to a red colour scheme from the usual orange!)
** (If fruitcake is related to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Ede, please let me know, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Christmas thing)