Personally Speaking

This Ones for You Dear

So here I am writing a quick follow up to yesterday’s piece about my love of fruit cake. My husband made it sound like we were a family of drunks. I personally didn’t get that. But I am probably biased. Probably. But I thought that I would clear up any misconceptions about the real fruitcake and make it clear that it isn’t like you think. Fruitcake used to be made with rare ingridients like citrus fruit. We don’t think those are rare anymore so the fact that these flavors are featured makes it pretty ho-hum.

A Fruity History

Fruitcake used to be a sign of wealth, since fruit, especially warm-climate fruits were hard to come by in the winter. By putting many exotic flavors, like orange and lemon, into the cake, you were showing off that you could afford these rare ingredients. The best way of getting these fruits was candied and dried, so that is what is used in fruitcake even today. To further show off, liquours were added to the cake after baking.

Today

Fast forward a few years and having a cake that has citrus fruit in it is no longer a big deal, those are flavors we can get all the time. What’s worse, in an attempt to recreate the taste of earlier fruitcakes, many fruitcakes purchased now have rum or other liquor flavoring added, which is a different thing than actually pouring the liquid on a cake that doesn’t have that flavoring. We also now have access to flavorings that were much more rare during the heyday of fruitcake, flavors like chocolate and vanilla.

Homemade Tastes Best

If you were to make a traditional style fruitcake at home, and do it the old way it would be much better than what you can buy at the store. But even then, you’ve now been spoiled by an availability of much fresher citrus, and many more diverse flavors than you would have had available even 100 years ago. That makes the fruitcake much less of a treat. So most people don’t go through the trouble to make it, since it is a very involved process. Instead people buy the fruitcakes, which are even worse, for reasons mentioned above. The purchased fruitcakes are what many people’s first introduction to fruitcake is, and it just doesn’t satisfy as much as most modern desserts to many modern pallets.

Recipes

Here are a few recipes that will help you get your fill. Or you can always order from Assumption Abbey and get monk made fruit cake from Ava, Missouri.

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