Monday, December 13, 2010

Hints for the Perfect Fruit Cake

The other day, as I lugged a very heavy bag of fruit cakes into my book club, I wondered why I had just spent 4 hours the previous night making something that I knew most of the people would not like one bit. It gave me no small measure of perverse joy. I'm not sure what that says about me. I was NOT disappointed, however, when I received more than a few positive reviews. Maybe I can help preserve the taste buds for fruit cake for one more generation. It is a large mission but one I take up humbly.

I have found that for me it has become an acquired taste--just like my Aunt Dorothy's brew she made in the bath-tub and I was the only one with a sophisticated enough palate to enjoy. Yum! Those  were the days. Anyway, back to fruit cake, honestly I have found that I'm craving it.

So while I have taken a few days break from making fruit cake I thought I would still keep your appetites whetted by what my grandma suggested from her book. This should be your map to the fruit cake universe.

Grandma’s Christmas Cake Suggestions
Of Food and Thought, Page 375

*Don’t dry out fruit cake by over baking.

*Remember most fruit cakes are worth their weight in gold so follow directions carefully.

*Don’t skimp on ingredients—if you want to save, just make smaller recipes.

*Cool fruit cake in pan, and be sure it is cold before wrapping.

*Store fruit cake in foil or in air-tight container. Keep in cool place.

*Fruit cakes improve on storing; flavors blend and become more delicious.

*If fruit cakes are wrapped in cloth dipped in fruit juice, be sure the cakes are kept cool so mold does not form.

*Chill fruit cake before slicing, and the slices will be thin and perfect.

*Any of these cakes may be baked as cookies, if a little more flour is added.

*Try serving hot wassail and cheese with thin slices of fruit cake.

*Fruit cake crumbs are good sprinkled over ice cream.

*Fresh-colored gumdrops may be cut thin and take the place of candied fruit in fruit cake cookies.

*For New Year’s Eve garnish large silver platter of fruit cake with real sprays of holly.

I had to bold the information about mold--it is important--mold is bad. No moldy fruitcakes is my motto.

So then I thought--Hey I have some suggestions too:

*If you give fruit cake to anyone over 60 they will love you! It will bring back memories of their childhood and you will have fans!

*Fruit cake is heavy and is great for arm strength.

*Fruit cakes hold doors open really well.

*Fruit cakes seem like they are healthy, but really they are not, don't be fooled. You WILL GAIN weight if you eat too much. (My too tight jeans told me that this week!) And really, don't you want to get fat by eating uncontroversial yummy food like chocolate cake!

*Fruit cake is an expensive hobby.

*Be prepared for ridicule, here are some of the quotes I heard, "I didn't know anyone wanted to make fruit cake anymore." "My husband did not enjoy your fruit cake." I also heard a lot of guffaws and outright laughter when I handed people their heavy little package.

*Do not throw fruit cake--it will go through windows (Ours was caught before it actually hit the window, thank goodness.)

Please add your suggestions for fruit cake. It would be greatly appreciated.


  1. You forgot the best one, "Start in November, and make enough give away all through December."

  2. I have loved reading your fruit cake blog Eden and you are right that anyone over 60 will appreciate a fruit cake. So many memories from my childhood Christmases came flooding back and fruit cake was the trigger! My favorite fruit cake (every year) had a dark base (like it didn't have any white flour) and it hat tons of pecans in the cake and whole ones on top along with the maraschino cherries. It was very pretty besides being yummy. Mmmmmmmmm.... wish I had a bite of it right now!! Thanks for your investigative reporting!!

  3. Marge!

    It was so fun to hear from you and I think you were across the world when you commented.

    I've been surprised how much fruit cake resonates with everyone. I have a taste for it now too!

    Love you and your family.