Friday, December 14, 2007


The knock comes at the door. You answer it. Oh, goodie! A Christmas package for you! Yay!

You open it hastily. Peering inside you find…Oh NO!

(“Jaws” music plays ominously in the background)

IT’S A FRUITCAKE! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

Once again, dear hearts, it’s time for me to upbraid you for your lack of sophistication and jejune disdain for that most amazing of cakes, the fruitcake.

Hopefully, the fruitcake you just received is one of the Collin Street Bakery cakes or another such one, or even better, a homemade cake.

Let me explain to you why you hate fruitcake. No doubt you were given a slice off of some dreadful rectangle of doomed compressed dried fruit as a child. You bit into it, only hearing the word “cake” and discovered a desiccated piece of faux citron in your mouth. In all of your young life, you never experienced such a traumatic food related event, except, perhaps, for the time your Uncle Kenny told you habaneros tasted just like cherries.

Fruitcake isn’t a child’s treat. It’s serious adult food. It’s most definitely an acquired taste. Preferably acquired under the influence of a very fine single malt scotch. Scotch and fruitcake go together like nothing else, except perhaps, a really fine brandy and fruitcake. Anyway, you get the picture. Tippling is required.

But first you must prepare the cake. The cake needs to be well soaked in alcohol. Cryer’s Creek’s DeLuxe page has an excellent guide to how to “doctor” your fruitcake. Basically, you wrap the cake in cheesecloth, putting extra in the “well” of the cake and soak it over several days with your favorite spirit or wine. Personally, I like to make my fruitcakes with the locally available spirits.

So, when that fruitcake shows up at your door, don’t run and hide. Wrap it lovingly with cheesecloth and soak it with your favorite strong spirit, wine or port.

Another fun trick is to take it out on Christmas Day, spread it with marzipan, douse with brandy and light it on fire. That’s what the Brits do with Christmas pudding, which is basically just a steamed version of dark fruitcake.

This is my favorite recipe for fruitcake. It came from my best childhood friend’s mother and it was the first fruitcake I ever tried that I loved. If you must feed children fruitcake...this is the one to give them. No trauma involved...honest.

Mrs. Helmly's White Fruit Cake


1/2 pound butter
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour, unsifted
8 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 coconut, grated
2 pounds white raisins
1 pound pecans
1 and 1/2 pounds pineapple
1 and 1/2 pound cherries
1 cup sherry or wine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract.
Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, one at a time. Add sherry, flour, fruit, nuts and coconut. (Flour fruits and nuts with extra flour). Slightly grease and flour bread pans or tube pans. Place foil on the bottom of the pans. Bake at 250 F. 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours). When cold, wrap and store in airtight tins.

8 Comments:

  1. Elvis Drinkmo said...
    You know, I never really did care much for fruit cake. But oddly enough, if somebody made some (the store bought kind is just downright disgusting) I can't quit eating it.

    It's like crack cocaine or something, you don't like it, but you can't quit nibbling on it.
    threecollie said...
    I love fruitcake...too lazy to make it but I love it!
    Maridmitch said...
    Rosey--what's a fruitcake ripened with moonshine taste like?

    Maridmitch
    Hayden said...
    I've loved fruitcake since I was a child, but it was homemade, and I helped make it. Perhaps having nibbled at the dried fruits and citron going in, I had no false expectations - or maybe the citron and yes, glaced fruit was quality stuff. I don't know. But a dense, spicy fruit cake, properly aged (and dosed) and sliced thin enough so the glaced fruit shines like stained glass windows....yep, I've always loved the stuff.
    Rosie said...
    Maridmitch, like anything, it depends on the quality of the spirit in question. The stuff I've laid my hands on has a very treacly quality to it. You can taste the cane sugar in the liquor rather than the corn. So it does soak into fruitcake very well since it's very 'rummy'.
    Anonymous said...
    .... now THAT recipe sounds like a fruitcake I could sink my teeth into!.....

    Eric
    Karen said...
    I like fruitcake, always have.

    I tagged you--a Christmas meme--
    Nancy said...
    I'm not much fond of most dried fruits in general, and citrons....no.no.no.

    Much much much much booze would have to be involved before I'd happily eat fruitcake.

    'Course, for politeness sake...I'd be bound to nibble a bite or four...especially if you'd made it yourself and I knew I could trust what was in it...

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