Fruitcake
December 20, 2006 7:01 AM   Subscribe

The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake - Fruitcake, much maligned, the butt of many jokes and practical jokes - and yet much esteemed by many, and an important part of many folks' holiday tradition and ritual. Thought we could explore some links on the subject. I think we could all learn to love this wonderful cake and appreciate its fine fruity nature.
posted by caddis (42 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love fruitcake, especially with a nice crumbly cheese like Wensleydale.

It's only reviled in North America as far as I can tell.

Fruitcake rocks!
posted by unSane at 7:08 AM on December 20, 2006


I sort of figured the society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake was this website.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:12 AM on December 20, 2006


Fruitcake is so gay.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:19 AM on December 20, 2006


And by gay, I mean Happy!
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 7:19 AM on December 20, 2006


Fruitcake is a perversion. A perversion of the wonderful and awesome food that is Pannetone.
posted by koeselitz at 7:22 AM on December 20, 2006


I can only link to Teresa Nielsen Hayden's post entitled "What is it with fruitcake?"
posted by eriko at 7:23 AM on December 20, 2006


It is fruity, that's for sure!
posted by chillmost at 7:24 AM on December 20, 2006


Takes one to know one, I guess.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:31 AM on December 20, 2006


American fruitcake is disgusting.

But during my time in Wales I learned of bara brith, which is what I make instead of the vile doorstops produced in this country.
posted by dw at 7:34 AM on December 20, 2006


Fruitcake is a perversion. A perversion of the wonderful and awesome food that is Pannetone.

Nonsense, they're completely different. They both contain raisins, but that's about it. Pannetone is like a sweet bread, while fruit cake is real cake consistency.

I was not a big fan of fruit cake until my incredible girlfriend introduced me to real home-made Christmas cake. Nothing like the stuff you get from the supermarket. Moist, not stodgy, and full of tasty fruit soaked for months in brandy and goodness. Yum.

She also introduced me to the concept of eating it with cheese, which as a nancy southerner I thought was crazy talk. But as unSane says, with a bit of Wensleydale, it's actually heavenly.
posted by chrismear at 7:49 AM on December 20, 2006


Mmm, yummy, subversive fruitcake.
posted by vito90 at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2006


I love fruitcake. I've honestly never understood the derision directed at it. One more way I march to my own bagpiper.
posted by OmieWise at 8:16 AM on December 20, 2006


Yeah, I don't think we can use the word 'fruit' on Metafilter anymore.
posted by found missing at 8:24 AM on December 20, 2006


No. So do we have to call it gaycake?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:27 AM on December 20, 2006


caddis, you are my hero for posting this. Way to bring fruitiness back into style.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 8:34 AM on December 20, 2006


Why in the world would anyone want to protect supermarket fruitcake? the stuff is neither fruit nor cake.

Now, a proper fruitcake (cake with fruit and nuts) is something else entirely. It's hard to find, though. You need to know someone who makes it, or find a bakery that is willing to make stuff 3 months before they can sell it.
posted by jlkr at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2006


Remember the Fruitcake Lady? (youtube)
posted by caddis at 8:55 AM on December 20, 2006


I so fondly remember my great-grandmother's homemade bundt pan fruitcake. Delicious. I would always snag a slice right after she thoroughly soaked it in dark rum.

Mmmmmm. Fruitcake....

drools
posted by Samizdata at 8:59 AM on December 20, 2006


I love my dense, rum-soaked fruitcake.

"It's only reviled in North America as far as I can tell"

The same people who elected GWB to the presidency and started a war based on bullshit. I rest my case.
posted by 2sheets at 8:59 AM on December 20, 2006


Confession: I like Entenmann's Fruitcake and mince pie. Once a year at Christmas. There're a lot of intense sugar rushes this time of year.
posted by nickyskye at 9:03 AM on December 20, 2006


Claxton fruitcake from Claxton Georgia is the American staple. Sadly, at some point they took up "food science" and the ingredients are about as wholesome as the plastic they come wraped in. But it will last for years on the shelf waiting for a buyer (and for years more in your arteries).
posted by stbalbach at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2006


This thread puts the meta back in 'Filter.
I laughed so much I nearly bought a round.

Nice one caddis. Revenge is clearly a dish best eaten with cheese.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:32 AM on December 20, 2006


I love alcoholic deserts and every year I think, maybe this year I will try making an honest-to-gob fruitcake. Then I think, maybe it would just be a waste of good brandy.

Here's the thing: I hate orange peel and candied cherries and raisins. But I do love home made rum raisin ice cream.

What about my best pound cake larded with nuts and raisins and soaked in brandy for 6 months? Would this work? Should I try it?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:54 AM on December 20, 2006


I prefer a fruitcake with 3 buttons vice 4.
posted by matty at 9:55 AM on December 20, 2006


It's only reviled in North America as far as I can tell.

Apparently so, as I discussed this last weekend with the cheese counter people at the local hippie-grocer while trying to find an unadulterated Wensleydale or its equivalent. The knee-jerk revulsion suggests that Americans are either hating because it's the done thing, or have never tried a good Christmas cake.

My late grandma made over a dozen 12x12x6in Christmas cakes every year for her family. (My mother got the only custom order: no peel or cherries.) She made them in early October, and left it to the recipients to feed them whisky, brandy or rum until Christmas.

I should really try her recipe, though it's much too late to make one that will mature properly for this year, as TNH notes in her post. So I'll just have to find some decent fruit mince for pies.
posted by holgate at 9:55 AM on December 20, 2006


(Oh, and my dad's best mate, who was a fairly decent club cyclist, used to pack huge slices of that cake for his winter rides back in the days before PowerBars and sports drinks.)
posted by holgate at 9:59 AM on December 20, 2006


"It's only reviled in North America as far as I can tell"

The same people who elected GWB to the presidency and started a war based on bullshit. I rest my case.

North America = Canada + US + Mexico.
posted by docgonzo at 10:08 AM on December 20, 2006


Italian Pannetone is the fruitcake ambrosia of ye Gods. There are many kinds and bakers, some with fruit and some more buttery, but is always immediately recognizable due to the trapezoidal box with a ribbon handle. It's given in Italy during the holidays. Eat it with coffee, followed by a shot of Sambuca (or your favorite after dinner spirit). Prepare to have doors blown off.
posted by Skygazer at 10:09 AM on December 20, 2006


I would think that a call for the preservation of fruitcake would be unnecessary since the vermin wouldn't touch the stuff if you threw it into the street.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 11:35 AM on December 20, 2006


American fruitcake is disgusting...the vile doorstops produced in this country...vermin wouldn't touch the stuff

Whoa nelly, let's not condemn and entire nation's wonderful fruit packed rum soaked cakes made by home bakers. It's the badly made or store brought ones that fairly earned the bad rap because they're dried out and taste more like mealy cardboard with cough syrup flavored fruit bits. Whereas, my mom's homemade brandy soaked fruitcake was a thin smear of cream cheese on it - delish.
posted by tula at 11:42 AM on December 20, 2006


The same people who elected GWB to the presidency and started a war based on bullshit.

Well, I think the places where they eat fruitcake in North America are mostly places like like Texas, so you can't blame GWB on the anti-fruitcakes. Myself, I think the stuff is pretty disgusting (and I've had what's considered to be the good kind; my Texan grandmother used to send us one of them every year).
posted by advil at 11:48 AM on December 20, 2006


There's a great pro-fruitcake chapter in Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything. Yes, and fruitcake (like all things, when done right) is delicious.
posted by kosem at 11:51 AM on December 20, 2006


One of the best fruitcakes I have ever tasted is the Collin Street Deluxe Fruitcake, available by mail order direct from Texas. My old boss used to buy one for every employee every Christmas (this was in London, England) and they were fricken' sublime.
posted by unSane at 12:35 PM on December 20, 2006


+1 for Bara Brith while I'm at it.
posted by unSane at 12:35 PM on December 20, 2006


I saw Alton Brown's episode where he made fruit cake and it actually looked pretty good. I may try making his recipe this year. The reviews are almost frighteningly positive.
posted by TungstenChef at 2:20 PM on December 20, 2006


Exhibit one: our wedding cake, fruitcake to the core (which is to say principally brandy, and quite a good brandy too), with marzipan and thick thick sugar icing. We ate the bottom layer on the day, will consume the top layer as our family's Christmas cake, and are saving the middle layer to be devoured at our firstborn's naming ceremony, whenever that may be, and it'll still be fantastic.
posted by Hogshead at 4:37 PM on December 20, 2006


I think people here are confusing Panettone with Panforte; the latter is much more like a typical fruitcake. I used to hate fruitcakes, but my wife changed my mind with her recipe. She bakes fruitcakes with none of that disgusting gelatinous candied fruits. Instead, she puts in dried fruits, and the occasional candied orange peel. This year at my suggestion, she substituted a nice three citrus marmalade (with sugar, not corn syrup) for the orange peel. Mmmmm....
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:58 PM on December 20, 2006


Oh, and we use Rum and/or Cointreau in our desserts.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:58 PM on December 20, 2006


My voices tell me I'm a fruitcake, but not a very tasty one. Maybe I need more buttons.

Seriously: BrotherCaine, is she willing to sell and ship two of 'em?
posted by davy at 6:59 PM on December 20, 2006



One of the best fruitcakes I have ever tasted is the Collin Street Deluxe Fruitcake, available by mail order direct from Texas. My old boss used to buy one for every employee every Christmas (this was in London, England) and they were fricken' sublime.


My family has usually bought these, and I like them now, although I couldn't stand them as kid. There's also a good bourbon fruitcake made by Trappist monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani.

I think the reason many people turn against fruitcake is that when they're kids, they look at it and try it and the taste just is not one that would appeal to a child and does not match the expectations created by the appearance (or name) at all. So people remember trying it and really being disappointed and disliking it.
posted by dilettante at 7:05 PM on December 20, 2006


Mine's been under the bed since early October, sucking down a good portion of the booze that I managed to save for it. For me, the tradition is more in making it and talking about it than actually eating it.

Never had it with Wensleydale (but I've heard it's not bad with Argentinian Beaver cheese.)
posted by three blind mice at 8:52 PM on December 20, 2006


God, I hate fruitcake. The Bourbon cakes are a bad waste of good liquor too.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:58 PM on December 20, 2006


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