Before you roll your eyes and start making door-stopper jokes, listen up. The fruitcake comes from very impressive beginnings.
Did you know that the origins of the Fruitcake date back to Roman times and it is considered to be the first power food? Source Move over acai berries! That’s right, the fruitcake was used to fuel Roman soldiers for long days in battle. Likewise, the Crusaders carried on the tradition of the indestructible power food.
The British called it Plum Porridge and later Plum Pudding. It had meat, fruit, nuts, and wine, and evolved over time to resemble more of a cake than a pudding, minus the meat. Noble houses used it to feed the poor at Christmas. ‘oh bring us some figgy pudding, oh bring us some figgy pudding…..’ get it?
The Colonists brought the tradition to America and by the late 1800’s it had become a standard gift to exchange at Christmas. If you have ever received a fruitcake, it was likely presented in a colorful tin. There’s a reason for that. Apparently, one is supposed to ‘feed’ one’s fruitcake and store it in an air-tight container. Yes, you heard that right. Aficionados of the fruitcake insist that just like a fine wine, a fruitcake must be aged.
To properly care for your fruitcake and ensure its freshness through the holidays, or for up to a year if you are so inclined, one is to douse the cake in booze at regular intervals. What that actually means is that you should poke holes in the top of the cake and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite brandy, rum, or whisky over it about every two weeks until it is ready to serve.
Had I known this two weeks ago, I would have a fully fed fruitcake, waiting to be eaten on Christmas day. Instead, all I have left are these few pieces that are starting to dry.
My Mom gifted this cake to us. It is from a recipe that she borrowed from a family member many years ago.
She sent it to me because she remembers that I like it. That is not a memory I share, but she could be right. This cake is good. It is moist and chock full of fruits and nuts and I think I might just have to make it for gift giving – next year.
Of course, I will remember to include ‘care and feeding’ instructions.
Mom’s Fruitcake Recipe
I promise, no one will claim that you are ‘nuttier than a fruitcake,’ you will not use it as a doorstop and it won’t turn up again two years later at a White Elephant party. This is the real deal.
So, What Started the Bad Rap?
Some say it all began here but most agree it is unwarranted. What do you think?
Fruitcake or no Fruitcake? Tell us your best and worst Fruitcake stories in the comments.
We are busy making merry in our house, so you probably won’t hear from us until the new year. Until then, we offer a simple reminder that the best things in life are not things. Enjoy the ones you love, make memories, and smile if a fruitcake arrives in the mail!