Fruitcake is the most controversial dessert in all of food. Yes, we know your mom/grandma/aunt/roommate’s cousin has the best recipe ever, but here’s the thing, they don’t.
Be honest, you’ve never actually had a good fruitcake. You’ve had ok fruitcake, you’ve had fruitcake that was fine, and obviously you’ve had terrible fruitcake, but good fruitcake doesn’t actually exist, so you’ve never had it.
Most traditional fruitcake recipes include candied fruit or dried fruits like currants, apricots, or cherries, nuts, and of course raisins. You soak the dried fruits overnight in brandy or rum, then fold this mixture into your cake batter. There’s no way that doesn’t come out terrible.
Strictly speaking in food terms, that’s too many flavors for your palette to handle. Also, if grandma is too heavy-handed with the alcohol, that will override everything else in the cake, so that all you taste is rum.
And we haven’t gotten to the idea that your aunt can’t handle a basic cake recipe, which means it comes out dense and dry. Seriously, it’s a no-win situation.
Apparently, fruitcake dates back to Ancient Rome. While a lot of great things like newspapers, roads and the modern calendar came out of Ancient Rome, we’re not making any three hour long epic movies about the invention of fruitcake.
Those early versions had pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins. Wow, they really are in everything.
Honestly, that sounds better than dried currants, apricots and figs.
Somewhere along the way, fruitcake became a go-to holiday dessert, and even worse, it became the thing to take to someone else’s house. Clearly, this is someone you don’t like, because why else would you bring them a fruitcake!?
Look, if you bring a fruitcake to my house, I will throw it out in front of you, and feel zero regret. You should know better.
Think about it, what happens when someone brings a fruitcake to your holiday party? It sits on the table all sad and lonely while everything else gets eaten. Then you pack it away until next year, when you find some poor person to re-gift it to, and the cycle continues.
With dried fruits and alcohol in it, fruitcake has a long shelf life, which is why one makes the rounds for a few Christmases.
If you personalize the recipe and mix up the ingredients, you could probably make a decent cake, but if you change it too much, it’s no longer a fruitcake, and the fruitcake mafia will be after you.
As much as most of the world despises it, there’s a group of loyalists ready to die on the “fruitcake is delicious” hill. These people are wrong and it’s time they hear the hard truth. Nothing. Absolutely nothing can save fruitcake.
All that being said, it’s time to stop pretending like fruitcake is an essential part of the holidays, take it behind the barn and put it out of its misery.
Gingerbread, chocolate cake, cheesecake, peppermint, lemon and those butter cookies in the blue tin are all much better choices.
Since I like to bake, I was going to make a fruitcake for research purposes. However, I’m trying to cut down on food waste, and couldn’t have that sitting around my kitchen until February, so I made a sweet potato pie instead.
If you take nothing else away from this, do not bring a fruitcake to my house!
Thanks for coming to my food rant. Next topic: pumpkin doesn’t need to be in everything!