What Is The Deal With Fruitcake?

What Is The Deal With Fruitcake?

Michele Carr

By Michele Carr. October 30, 2020

What is the first thing to come to mind when you hear the word, "Fruitcake"? There are usually 2 responses...Yum! or Yuck! There is not much middle ground in this debate.

The humble fruitcake has been the butt of many jokes over the years. Fans of this baked delight are often unable to convince the critics to even sample a taste.

Fruitcake Cartoon

Why is the fruitcake so maligned?

The answer may lie in the fact that the fruitcake started out as a delicacy for the very wealthy.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, the first fruitcakes took intensive labor to create. Dried fruits and spices were not available to the "common" person. Very few people had the knowledge, skills, or ingredients to create a fruitcake.

The ingredients were accessible during the late Summer and Autumn. The fruitcakes were ready to eat around Christmas time. A Holiday tradition was born.

The "general public" at the time considered the fruitcakes to be a "sinfully rich" pleasure. Most never had the opportunity to even see a fruitcake and they scorned the idea without a taste. The cultural distaste for the poor fruitcake has promoted for generations. In fact, for many people in the "Yuck!" category, when asked if they have ever tasted a fruitcake, the answer is "no".

The Use Of Spirits...

There are those who do not like fruitcakes because they they contain alcohol. Traditional fruitcakes are basted with an alcoholic substance (usually rum or brandy). Before refrigeration, the alcohol content kept the cakes moist and preserved. These days the alcohol is more of a flavoring agent than a preservative.

What Makes a Good Fruitcake...

As with anything, there are "good" fruitcakes and "not so good" fruitcakes.

A "good" fruitcake should be a heavy, moist cake, with dried fruits and nuts throughout. The base batter can be light or dark. A dark cake is more traditional. A "very good" fruitcake is the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and texture that can convert most critics.

A "not so good" fruitcake is so dense that it is hard to slice and hard to chew. These are the "brick" fruitcakes of the door-stop jokes!

I have done a lot of fruitcake research over the years. My husband is a definite "Yum!" person when it comes to fruitcake. He also loves Plum Pudding...but that's another story.

In my quest to find the perfect Christmas fruitcake we have sampled lots of "not so good"... a few "good"... and not very many "very good" fruitcakes.

We think the best "very good" fruitcake is the Assumption Abbey Fruitcake. It is the only fruitcake we carry in our store...and we carry it year round!

Assumption Abbey Monks

Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes are the dark, rich, traditional style of fruitcake. They are slowly baked and aged under the careful supervision of the monks. Marinating the fruit, mixing, baking, packaging, aging... all done right at the monastery by the monks. Assumption Abbey is not a commercial enterprise. The monastery provides a way of life. That way of life, combined with the careful work of the bakers, insures a dedication to high quality. That is what makes Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes among this country's finest.

Our customers agree that this is the best fruitcake around.