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Why is FRUITCAKE not a regular menu / dessert item at restaurants?

ipsedixit Nov 4, 2006 12:16 AM

Say what you want about these oft-ridiculed monstrosities, but they are out there and people actually (1) buy them and (2) [gasp] eat them.

So, the question becomes ... why aren't they seen on menus, esp. as dessert items?

Fruitcake a la mode?

Fruitcake with your espresso (or latte or whatever caffeinated drink you prefer)?

Fruitcake pudding (in the vein of "bread pudding")?

Just thinking out loud ...

  1. Chris Rising Nov 4, 2006 12:19 AM

    I would guess its because most restaurants are run as for profit enterprises.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chris Rising
      pikawicca Nov 4, 2006 12:45 AM

      I appreciate the humor!

      1. re: Chris Rising
        cayjohan Nov 4, 2006 01:33 AM

        So much of restaurant stock is perishable, and can then dent profit if not sold. Think of the possibilities with a fruit cake and its shelf life.BTW - not being sarcastic, as I love fruitcake and beg for it at Christmastime.

      2. g
        glutton Nov 4, 2006 12:36 AM

        this is a good question. I had all the traditional biases against fruitcake until this past August. I got married in Colombia and my mother-in-law, who is a wedding cake baker there, made a wedding cake that was fruitcake covered in fondant. It was the best wedding cake I've ever had. Even my parents, who are finicky curmudgeons, said it was the best fruitcake they've ever had.

        1. k
          Kelli2006 Nov 4, 2006 12:37 AM

          A properly made fruitcake with macerated dried real fruit is a thing of beauty and something that most people love when they actually taste it. Most people only know cloyingly sweet cakes with the consistency of concrete that are filled with stale untoasted pecans and cloyingly sweet of unnatural colors that are better used for doorstops and eradicating homes of small insect infestations.

          Alton Brown has a great basic fruitcake recipe and I challenge anyone who makes his recipe to say that they don't like fruitcake.
          I have already baked my holiday fruitcakes(30), and I will probably get last minute orders for 10-15 more. Fruitcakes taste best when allowed to age and mellow with weekly spritzes of brandy or rum.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kelli2006
            piccola Nov 4, 2006 03:44 AM

            Hear hear. I loooove fruitcake, assuming it's made with actual fruit, as opposed to that fluorescent candied stuff.

          2. b
            browniebaker Nov 4, 2006 01:40 AM

            I love that fruitcake is a usual dessert item in England and is also typically served at teatime.This is true in restaurants as well as in homes.

            1. chowser Nov 4, 2006 02:36 AM

              I have a friend who is originally from Jamaica who had a traditional Caribbean wedding cake that was fruit cake. The fruit is soaked in rum for, I think, a year. It was really expensive. I still didn't like it but then I'm not a fan of plum pudding either. Everyone else seemed to like it.


              1 Reply
              1. re: chowser
                Candy Nov 4, 2006 01:57 PM

                To find that sort, Google up Black Cake. Laurie Colwin wrote about it in her book Hame Cooking. Man is that good stuff and does take a long time to make. Like making rumtopf, gather ing a layering fruits as they come into season in crocks with rum. Making the very dark caramel etc. Not the usual fruit cake.

              2. amandine Nov 4, 2006 02:42 AM

                woah woah woah.... i LIKE fruitcake!!! the reason it's not on menus is because popular culture decided to lampoon this annual delight by associating it with stale relatives and passed-on gifts. and perhaps also because it doesn't look very "pretty" per se... but then neither does bread pudding... i guess it must be the green fruit bits. i concede that they *are* quite green, albeit quite delicious, if you cared to try them.

                my chowhounding friends, it takes a TRUE chowhound to discover and be willing to give fruitcake a try, and moreover to have the distinctive palate to appreciate said fruitcake.

                (just razzing you all on a Friday ;)... but seriously, give fruitcake a chance)

                1. Will Owen Nov 4, 2006 02:58 AM

                  My name is Will and I *ADORE* fruitcake. Always have, always will. My great-grandma made a batch of them every January for the following year's Christmas gifts, then wrapped them in cheesecloth, put them in tins, and periodically doused them with brandy (the only time the old dear was ever even in the same ROOM with any kind of booze!). A melange of candied fruits and nuts, with just barely enough extremely rich cake to bind it all together...be still, my trembling heart...

                  But I like it in all of its forms, even the foil-wrapped slices you used to be able to buy (15¢) alongside the Twinkies and Ding-Dongs. And yes, I would pay good money for a slab of fruitcake with a scoop of good ice cream on top. What a lovely dessert idea!

                  1. b
                    BarefootandPregnant Nov 4, 2006 11:52 AM

                    I know jack, but I would think, jokes and prejudices aside, fruitcake is simply too heavy to appear commonly on dessert menus. We don't eat it as a dessert in our home-or not immediately after a meal, at least-but rather as a snack, or mini-meal unto itself.

                    mmmmm, fruitcake: the breakfast of champions.

                    Champion elves, that is.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: BarefootandPregnant
                      amandine Nov 4, 2006 03:27 PM

                      as is the italian rendition of the fruitcake: pannetone!!

                      1. re: amandine
                        BarefootandPregnant Nov 4, 2006 03:30 PM

                        That's our "official" breakfast on Christmas morning-you know, after stocking candy, and before Jesus' commemorative bagels.

                        1. re: amandine
                          Candy Nov 4, 2006 03:49 PM

                          Did you knolw Panetone makes great french toast?

                          1. re: Candy
                            BarefootandPregnant Nov 5, 2006 01:58 AM

                            I do, I do! Fortunately, only a few others in the family have found out, and they sleep in-so it's all mine. heh heh.

                            1. re: Candy
                              amandine Nov 5, 2006 08:27 PM

                              really? i haven't tried, because pannetone is SO soft. i like french toast with a good bite to it, so i usually use slices of a couple-days-old rustic bread.

                              do you wait for the pannetone to get a bit stale or do you make it fresh?

                        2. l
                          laur76 Nov 4, 2006 11:59 AM

                          fruitcake 'facon pain perdu' (french toast) served warm with vanilla ice cream..

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: laur76
                            rworange Nov 4, 2006 08:36 PM

                            And you lived to tell about this? Now I'm compelled to try this.

                            My vote is that compared to other desserts, a good fruitcake is too expensive to make and would not be very profitable, along with the fact that it wouldn't sell that well. Also, during the holiday season, most of the people who will eat fruitcake, have it at home, so are unlikely to order it in restaurants. I love a good fruitcake, but a little goes a long way during the holiday season ... and don't remind me of that one fruitcake frozen in little bites that lasted until Easter one year.

                            1. re: rworange
                              laur76 Nov 4, 2006 08:42 PM

                              haha no I didn't live to tell about anything, I was just fantacizing.

                          2. s
                            serious Nov 4, 2006 11:59 AM

                            A great fruitcake is expensive to produce, guessing this is a reason it doesn't appear in restaurants. It's also time consuming to make..like the delicious ones I'm about to start.
                            Read Truman Capote "A Christmas Memory" and get in the mood.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: serious
                              Berry Nov 4, 2006 10:16 PM

                              Great story. Have you seen the "A Christmas Memory" movie? Unforgettable and my family's #1 holiday flick, eaten with fruitcake, of course.

                              1. re: Berry
                                serious Nov 5, 2006 08:52 AM

                                Yes, I agree the movie is beautiful and unforgettable.

                            2. amyzan Nov 4, 2006 03:46 PM

                              I do think that some restaurants feature fruitcake-like desserts, but they don't name them "fruitcake." I used to get steamed pudding desserts at restaurants in North Carolina this time of year. They aren't baked like fruitcake, but being fruit and nut based cakes, they're similar. I remember seeing them on menus in Kentucky where I grew up, too. Persimmon, apple, pear, etc. Maybe it's regional?

                              On the tangent brought up, I believe fruitcake with fondant is traditional wedding cake to the British Isles?

                              1. b
                                budgetrick Nov 4, 2006 04:06 PM

                                Took my daughter and a friend to The Modern in NYC last week (worthy of a post in its own right), and as we were at the coat check leaving, they (the females)were presented with parting gifts of "tea cakes," nicely wrapped and bagged. Upon further examination, it proved to be a golden fruitcake w/ "real" fruit. So good, I wish I had made the daughter's friend give up hers, too ...

                                1. toodie jane Nov 4, 2006 08:43 PM

                                  well, speaking of fruitcakes, it's time to get them made--who has a family recipe to share?
                                  (over on the home cooking board, of course)

                                  1. bryan Nov 5, 2006 07:38 PM

                                    I used to have a theory that there was really only ONE fruitcake that just got passed around year after year after year. But time has proved me wrong. There are actually people that enjoy it. Go figure. Me... not so much.

                                    My guess as to why it's not served in restaurants is because it's cost prohibitive. That and I just cannot fathom a whole lot of enthusiasm for fruitcake.

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