The Great Fruitcake Debate

| 12/15/2017 9:05:00 AM

Tags: Sue Van Slooten, fruitcake, Julie Anne Hession, Robert Rose,


Yes, I am going to wade into the Great Fruitcake Debate. People seem to love it or hate it, and not much in between. A lot of the hate it group, though, have not tried it, it’s the “idea” of the fruitcake that turns them off. In their eyes, it’s a brick, made of dense, sticky fruit, no flavour, and overly sweet. Even the prospect of rum or brandy doesn’t entice.

The other side of the argument is the opposite of course, where people see fruity yumminess, with spices, sometimes nuts, and yes, the aforementioned rum or brandy. You cannot have a more divisive subject. Being a baker, I suspect you all know which side I will fall on: In support of fruitcakes. Ok, now that I am outed as a fruitcake lover, I do agree that some of the “items” passing as fruitcake in the commercial world are not only disappointing, but, well, yuck. 

This is where home baking comes to the rescue. Once again, if made by you, you get to choose what goes in your cake, the flavour will be authentic, no need for density or gumminess. 

But first, I must add an historical note for fruitcakes’ enduring legacy: It has been around for centuries (and no doubt some of you think the originals are still here, carefully (or not) preserved, for God knows what) If one entertains the idea that fruitcake was one of the original granola bars if you will, and they can teach us much about longevity, just look at the 106 year old one found in Antarctica [1]. It’s probably edible, no one is really saying.The cakes went on the trip because they were high in fat and sugar, good for when you are trekking across the Southern Continent and need a 4000 per day calorie intake.The report did not mention much about whether they were brandy soaked or not. I think more detail is needed here.

Another note on aged fruitcakes: About a month ago, I discovered one that was made last year, hidden away and forgotten about.It tasted fine! Then I mentioned all this at work, and wow, watch the fruitcake lovers come out of the woodwork, all wanting a piece.They were not disappointed, and comments ranged from, “oh yes, right ratio of batter to fruit,” “oh yum,” and even a non-lover joined in, just to see what it was all about. She liked it, or at least, did not dislike it.

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