The Christmas Fruitcake: History and a Recipe

Pixabay
The history of fruitcake dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It is theorized that the cakes were placed on the tombs of loved ones, probably for the afterlife. Fruitcake became quite common during Roman times when pomegranate seeds, pinenuts and barley mash were mixed together to form a ring-shaped dessert. The shelf life of the cake was appealing to the Roman soldiers because they could take the cakes with them to the battlefields.So the fruitcake has been around for centuries.

 

Fruitcake is a delicious sweet treat that has been a southern U.S. Christmas holiday tradition for many years. The Claxton Bakery (company) located in Claxton, Georgia has been making their version for more than 100 years. The U.S. Army contracted the company to bake the cake for the military when the bakery first opened and they are still making the cakes available.

Kay At the Keyboard – has a wonderful post about fruitcake and the post also includes Eudora Welty’s recipe. There are as many fruitcake recipes as there are lovers of the confection. The more common ones are Japanese, white, icebox, light and my favorite is the dark. Traditionally you bake them and soak the cake in bourbon, sherry some other achohol about 4 weeks before the first cutting.  To get you started on baking your own fruitcake. Here is a very simple recipe to follow. Bake it now and in about 4 weeks you will have a crowd pleaser! Let me know how it turned out all you fruitcake lovers.

Fruitcake Recipe (from Martha Stewart’s Collection)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan

4 ounces glaceed or dried apricot, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)

4 ounces glaceed or dried pineapple, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)

8 ounces dates, pitted, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

4 ounces dried cherries (1/2 cup)

4 ounces chopped pecans (3/4 cup)

8 ounces Brazil nuts (1 1/2 cup)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons rum, plus more for dousing

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Brush 8-inch spring form pan with soft butter. Line bottom and sides with parchment; brush with butter.

Combine fruit and nuts in a bowl; set aside. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla and rum.

In two additions, add dry ingredients to butter. Scrape down bowl between additions. Fold in fruit and nuts. Pour batter into pan. Bake until golden and set, about 2 1/2 hours. Cover with foil if it colors too much.

Cool on a wire rack. Remove from pan; discard parchment. Wrap in cheesecloth or muslin. Douse with 1/2 cup rum. Store in a cool, dry place; douse with 1/2 cup rum weekly for at least 1 month before serving.

 

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Christmas Fruitcake: History and a Recipe

  1. Would you agree that the fruitcake has an undeserved, negative, reputation? It is unfairly ridiculed and is the butt of a lot of jokes, during this time year, I think. I wanted to add a few facts to the post in hopes of vindicating the season’s favorite – for some holiday observers.

    Thanks Stephanie!

    Like

  2. We do fruit cakes in The Bahamas as well, if done correctly, they can last up to a year. The ones here in UK are liken to those that we have back home, lots of fruits, lots of rum and oooohh so good!! 😉

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s