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Christmas fruitcake : a deliciously kitsch holiday tradition


christmas fruitcake
Fruitcake has been a Christmas tradition for over two thousand years with the first recipe dating back to ancient Rome. Despite the fact that the fruitcake fell out of favor within the past few decades, fruitcake is a time-honoured tradition for the Christmas holidays. Everyone remembers it, although no one actually wants to receive one in their stocking.

The earliest extant Christmas fruitcake recipe lists as ingredients pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, mead, and raisins mixed into a barley mash. (I bet the remnants of that Roman fruitcake may still be lurking in the Roman ruins somewhere.)

A traditional Christmas fruitcake recipe

Serves: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours



Sift 4 cups of flour and the baking powder together. Set aside.

Cream butter, add sugar, then cream mixture until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with rum. Dredge the fruits and nuts in the extra 1/2 cup of flour. Stir in the nuts, raisins and cherries until just mixed.

Turn the mixture into a well-greased 10" tube pan. Level off the top of the batter. Bake at 300ยบ F for 2 hours or until a tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and let stand in pan for 20 minutes. Invert pan onto a cooling rack. If you like, sprinkle more rum on cake when it has cooled completely.

Wrap in foil or put in a cake carrier. At this point, it can be frozen for later or kept refrigerated for several days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. If desired, sift powdered sugar over surface prior to serving.

National Fruitcake Month is celebrated for the entire month of December.

That recipe doesn't sound too bad, does it? Why do you suppose that the Fruitcake has been given such a bad rap?

Fruitcake: the gift that keeps on giving

The #1 fruitcake giving holiday is Christmas. In modern society, Christmas is a social activity for Christians and non-Christians alike to both give and receive gifts. This resulted in the Christmas season being a significant social time period. In addition to the purely social attributes, the period starting with what is commonly termed "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving here in the States) marks a major sales period for retailers. It's their chance for their finances to be "in the black" before the year's end.

The expression "Nutty as a fruitcake" was coined in 1935.

Is fruitcake even edible?

Does anyone actually eat fruitcake, though? In some families, a game has been played for decades called "pass the fruitcake". If you receive it, re-wrap it for re-gifting next Christmas. Legend has it that there is only one fruitcake that gets passed around the world until some unsuspecting soul eats it. Then a new one gets baked from the crumbs. (I don't think there's much truth in that, however.)

Mark your calendar: December 27th is National Fruitcake Day.

Need a fresh spin on a kitsch classic fruitcake?

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