Why is it that fruitcake gets such a bad rap?

My mom used to make fruitcake every year for Christmas and it was a great treat to look forward to all year. When I was in my teens I branched into my own fruitcake recipes. I have tasted commercial fruitcakes and understand why people disdain them, but feel the same way about say, Hostess fruit pies. That hasn't made people hate apple pie. How do you all feel about fruitcake and what do you think happened to create such a negative icon?

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Panfusine
Panfusine December 6, 2011

I believe it had something to do with a Johny Carson comment on his show about how everyone had a fruitcake at home & these were constantly being re-gifted all over the place!

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bigpan
bigpan December 6, 2011

Nothing beats a good home made Christmas fruit cake made in September and soaked in rum or brandy for three months ! Too late now, gotta start early fall.

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Esther Plume
Esther Plume December 6, 2011

I love Christmas cake! I make one every year, and a simnel for mothering Sunday, which is essentially a slightly lighter fruitcake with a layer of marzipan baked into it... I didn't make mine as arly as I'd like to have this year, but Nigella's easy action one with chestnut purée is a hands down winner in this house, and the ingredients ave been gathered for getting it done this evening. I love the smell of it as I cooks...

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ChefJune
ChefJune December 6, 2011

It's really too bad, because good fruit cake, properly aged, is wonderful. My mom used to make them, and I do too, sometimes. I should look up that recipe from Nigella. There might still be time. ;)

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Panfusine
Panfusine December 6, 2011

This may be of interest..

http://www.villagevoice.com/2002-11-19/restaurants/a-short-history-of-fruitcake/

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks December 6, 2011

Funny article. I think that liquor and high quality fruit are critical components. Reminded me that I love Jamaican Black Fruitcake, which is loaded with rum (possibly 1:1).

Esther Plume
Esther Plume December 6, 2011
http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/dessert_easychristmascake.html
That's the Christmas cake ... I change out the standard mixed dried fruit as I don't like mixed peel, so I put in sultanas,raisins, glacé cherries and dried cherries, I use whatever vaguely festive alcohol there is kicking about in the cupboard, and I'm afraid I'm a traditionalist, so it's marzipan and royal icing to cover! If you like fruitcake and marzipan, I early recommend the simnel cake too!
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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks December 6, 2011

Thanks!! I have a shipment of angelica just for the top of the cake over the marzipan and royal icing.

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames December 6, 2011

I adore fruit cake. I make a "white" fruitcake every year, using a recipe my mother's had forever . . . . like a buttery pound cake full of cherries, yellow raisins, pecans and whiskey. Lots of whiskey. It's called a Kentucky Whiskey Cake and even after a few days, if wrapped in whiskey-soaked cheesecloth that's generously moistened every day, it's out of this world. I love the traditional dark ones, too!! Fruit, nuts, molasses, spice . . . yum! ;o)

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Sam1148
Sam1148 December 7, 2011

I'd say the common "fruit cake" Is provided to the mass market from one company, (I think in Georgia).
It's the same dense 'door stopper' product that's been around for 50 years and 90 percent of the fruit cake given or sold comes from that source. (I think there's another company in Texas that make basically the same product). That is what most people associate with 'fruit cake'; not something you make yourself; buy rather a 'gift' to shuffled off for third orbit acquaintances as a token gift.

When people think "Fruit Cake" they think of the product from those companies. The diffrence would be a "Hickory Farms Sausage Log and String Cheese Box" vs "A Homemade sausage and good cheese".


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Sam1148
Sam1148 December 7, 2011

Heheh...this might make a good food52 challenge:

Take a store bought mass market 'common' fruit cake...and transform it to something great!

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NYNCtg
NYNCtg December 7, 2011

I think it has to do with the quality of the fruit. I make my Grandmother's "white Fruitcake" every year, but I sub out the green and red candied cherries and use a mix of dried fruit, heavy on the pineapple. In-fact heavy on the fruit.

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Esther Plume
Esther Plume December 10, 2011

English fruit cake has different dried fruit in... It's raisins, sultanas, currants and mixed peel, with some halved glacé cherries in for good measure. If I was given a cake full of what we would consider to be "tropical" dried fruit, I wouldn't find it half as appealing. Also large chunks of fruit don't make it easy to slice, let alone slice thinly!

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