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Nov 9, 2008 03:42 AM

Do you like fruitcake?

I'm sure that childhood experiences sway all of our opinions, and I grew up as the daughter of a fabled fruit cake maker. She baked them in April and May, wrapped them individually cheese cloth and put them in a huge air tight container and every month she doused them with more booze. She probably made about 40 of them, using most for gifts, but fruitcake was also served when friends dropped in for coffee any time during the holiday season. I can't recall anyone ever saying, "No, thank you."

But there seems to be an almost universal dislike of fruitcake. I suppose we should differentiate between "store bought" and "baked at home with love" kinds of fruitcake. But I have had some good bought fruitcakes. I've also had some that were horrid. Which probably demands the conclusion that really rotten home made fruitcake is possible.

So I'm curious whether you like or dislike fruitcake? And if any of you hate it no matter what, I'm curious why? 'Tis the season, and all that jazz.

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  1. As long as it's from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana Texas, I love it.

    7 Replies
    1. re: grampart

      Absolutely! We've been ordering one for ourselves and some for gifts for more than 20 years. They are so good, I cannot understand why people automatically say they hate fruitcake. On the other hand, I have been introduced to other fruitcakes (a number of them home baked) that are detestable. I guess I detest fruitcakes that are: gummy, sticky, clingy sweet, kind of like fruited mud. And I love the fruitcake from Collin Street Bakery because it's a CAKE first, a nice consistency (not like the sticky ones I described) of firm cake chock full of first quality dried pineapple and cherries, etc. and NO raisins, and tons of pecans. It is a highlight of winter's holiday season for us. Grampart, right on!

      1. re: BerkshireTsarina

        I've had a look at the Collin Street Bakery link and it looks like American fruitcake is very different from the English fruitcake I grew up with which did not have pineapple or pecans in it. I love the whole process of making the cakes (been using Jane Grigson's recipe for the last 15 or so years) from soaking the fruit in black rum to preparing the cake tins to the heavenly smell when they bake to finally tasting it on Christmas Day.

        1. re: Athena

          With all due respect to your traditional recipe, I think the rum-soaked part is what has turned off many would-be fruitcake eaters in this country, I've been eating the
          "regular" Collin Street cakes for over 50 years, but recently the apricot/pecan version has become my favorite.

          1. re: grampart

            Yes, different cultures = different traditions and recipes.

            1. re: grampart

              Just curious...why do you think would the rum soaked part be a turnoff? I don' t disagree that it is probably true for some folks...but why?

              1. re: The Professor

                I guess it's because most of the booze soaked fruitcakes I've sampled over the years have: too much booze, cheap booze, not been "aged" properly, or a combination of all three. I like my liquor; just not in fruitcake. And don't even get me started on bourbon balls.

                1. re: grampart

                  Bourbon balls - yum! You can send me any you get!

      2. I thought I didn't until I had a fruitcake from this abbey in Virginia:

        Totally delicious with great fruit and nut chunks.


        1. It's my favorite re-gift item!

          1. I was fortunate to be the son of a mom who worked with a very kind and generous man. This self-made man is one of those rare individuals who comes along maybe once or twice in a lifetime. Having been brought up during a very difficult time - the Depression - and having experienced a very very modest if not extremely difficult life leading up to this trying period, he never forgot from where he came from.

            He hired my mom and others like her because he saw a lot of what he saw in himself - people who most likely came from walks of life that didn't include silver spoons and were basically good, hard working people with a sense of loyalty.

            Treating all of his employees like family, he showered his employees with lots of perks. Among them were free breakfasts, siestas and 25-cent lunches. And these were no ordinary cafeteria meals. The chefs he personally interviewed and hired were mostly from Europe. Having a fancy for European cuisine - mostly French - he insisted on offering what he ate to his employees.

            During the holidays, his pastry chef would make a long list of fantastic pastries, desserts, and other treats that all of the employees were welcomed to eat as well as take home. Among them was the obligatory fruitcake, which the pastry chef made one for each employee's family. Not being of regifting quality, I guess I never knew growing up that fruitcakes were something to be laughed at, because when my mom would bring those home each year, I actually looked forward to it - candied fruit, butter, loads of liquor and all. If a fruitcake is made with a lot of love and care, it's going to end up in our tummies, not in our closets.

            1. i really like a good fruitcake, rum soaked or non-rum soaked. the ones i dislike have those really nasty, neon-colored, hard, candied fruit, in indelicately large chunks, or a disproportionate amount of fruit peel.

              so you can send one of yours my way any day, caroline1!