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Do you like fruitcake?

Caroline1 Nov 9, 2008 03:42 AM

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.

  1. mamachef Dec 1, 2013 05:38 PM

    I do really love a well-conceived fruitcake, but it hasn't always been so. As a child in a conventional Jewish family, fruitcake wasn't something that appeared on our holiday table, so I didn't develop a taste for it. I'd see it, though, at friends' houses who celebrated Christmas, and was always sort of enchanted by the stained-glass, pretty character of the loaves. I was sadly disappointed, the first time I was given a slice: alcohol! candied citron and ginger!! lemon extract!! - All basically unfamiliar, but iimmediate anathema to my taste buds at that age - which was maybe 7 or so.
    Later in life I tried it again: it was the famous Texas fruitcake from Corsicana, and it was completely delicious. Since then, I've made my own from a variety of recipes, but I have to say that my Barbados Black Cake is the hands-down winner for ANY fruitcake I've ever had the delicious privilege of tasting. It's not fruitcake in the traditional form, but the flavors are very much there and it is amazing stuff.

    1. r
      rochfood Dec 1, 2013 05:28 PM

      According to comedian Jim Gaffigan fruitcake is the most "disappointing " cake.

      "You think that would be better..it doesn't add up.
      Fruit good...cake great...
      Fruitcake....nasty crap."

      1 Reply
      1. re: rochfood
        The Professor Dec 1, 2013 06:07 PM

        He's just jumping on the hate bandwagon (the one set in motion by Johnny Carson decades ago) just for laughs.

        A good fruitcake is one of the best accompaniments there is to a cup of tea or coffee.

      2. Bada Bing Nov 30, 2013 07:00 PM

        Love my family recipe. No rum or alcohol. The few times I've tried commercial fruitcakes, they seemed too cloyingly sweet. I like to notice the spices and textures before the sweetness...

        1. njmarshall55 Nov 30, 2013 06:56 PM

          GOOD fruitcake...YES, Absolutely. Dense, moist, with just the right amount of alcohol. Dry, crumbly...no thank you.

          1. k
            kseiverd Nov 30, 2013 03:25 PM

            Was one of VERY few people who enjoyed fruit cake... with my grandmother... bakc in the day with "fruit" om ot. Alton Brown as a good recipe for "free range" fruit cake ... NOT cheap to make up REALLY good!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kseiverd
              k
              kitchengardengal Nov 30, 2013 03:29 PM

              Alton Brown's Free Range Fruitcake is the one I make for gifts every year. Everyone loves it!

            2. w
              Wawsanham Nov 30, 2013 02:30 PM

              It's not my favorite, but the occasional piece of fruitcake can hit the spot. I like it with real dried fruits, and more nuts. I also prefer it to other spiced or raisiny cakes, such as stollen, lebkuchen, or panetone.

              1. Kajikit Nov 29, 2013 03:36 PM

                I know this is an ancient thread but it seems to have been revived. I LOVE fruitcake, especially the ones with a rainbow of fruit in them instead of just raisins. My mama used to make fruitcake every christmas and she had a giant jar of highly alcoholic fruit macerating in the back of the closet all year long - she'd take out what she needed at Christmas and then top it up with fresh stuff and more booze on January first. Instead of aging the whole cake, she aged the fruit and it came out WONDERFUL.

                1. Veggo Nov 29, 2013 03:26 PM

                  www.bienfaitcakes.com
                  Delicious products from Vermont, made with love, profits go to charity.

                  1. s
                    sandylc Nov 29, 2013 10:54 AM

                    Fruitcake can be delicious when made with good-quality dried fruit and NO candied, sugared, neon garbage.

                    Just like any other food, it is only as good as its ingredients.

                    1. j
                      JayL Nov 29, 2013 07:19 AM

                      Fruit cake is alright...soaked in bourbon or rum is better.

                      But there is no fruit cake like a Trinidad Black Cake. Completely different than we're used to in the States. It's more cake like and the fruit is soaked in cherry brandy for nearly a year. So when you start eating black cake this year...you also start soaking your fruit in brandy for next year. It's a thing of beauty...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JayL
                        j
                        JayL Nov 29, 2013 10:32 AM

                        Black Cake

                         
                        1. re: JayL
                          l
                          lemons Nov 29, 2013 03:21 PM

                          Black cake is food for the gods.

                        2. k
                          kimdyuma57 Nov 28, 2013 08:10 AM

                          I am trying to figure out cooking times for my fruitcake- the recipe is actually for a wedding cake-(used to be traditional in Canada and the UK) and the pans are wedding cake size. for practical reasons I want to make them in a mini loaf size. The regular pans have a 2 hour cooking time so does anyone have an idea of how I adjust for the smaller (and silicon) pans.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kimdyuma57
                            buttertart Nov 28, 2013 09:45 AM

                            Try them at about 1/2 hour. They may need 45 mins. Bake at no higher than 325 deg F...I cover mine with aluminum foil for most of the time.

                            1. re: buttertart
                              buttertart Dec 1, 2013 05:20 PM

                              I just made some small ones and they took about 90 mins at 300 deg F to get to 200 deg F internal temp, which is about what they should be, I understand.

                          2. Kajikit Apr 12, 2009 10:25 AM

                            I don't think I've ever met a fruit cake I didn't like... the ones with TONS of fruit in them are the best but they should really have real cherries. Those little jelly fake ones aren't a patch on the real thing.

                            1. l
                              lemons Apr 11, 2009 06:07 PM

                              Mostly "not" on average fruitcake. But when it's made with dried fruit, I'm a happy kid. And last year I did a riff on the recipe for black cake here on CH, which was stunning. I have two recipes for fruitcakes, one dark and one blonde, that I've made in the past, which I refer to as Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. The dark one ages well; the blond one, which is in what's more or less a pound cake base, needs to be eaten within a week or so.

                              When they're good, they're very good, and when they're bad they're horrid.

                              1. u
                                umbushi plum Apr 11, 2009 02:16 PM

                                i LOVE fruitcake, its one of the only desserts i like! (along with apple pie and bannana cake or muffins and a few others) i have always liked it, and i am a totally savoury kind of girll!

                                1. KaimukiMan Nov 13, 2008 09:34 AM

                                  Nope, don't like it. Not even "good" fruitcake. I'm glad so many of you do. I don't like candied fruit, never have. Don't like the taste, don't like the texture. Hard to believe that there is anything that much rum won't fix, but such is life. I also don't like spumoni ice cream, even good spumoni. I will agree that a good fruitcake is less offensive than a bad one, and the comments above about the large chunks of neon colored dried fruit made me laugh (don't forget the nuts that someone forgot to chop). Those are really really bad.

                                  1. pikawicca Nov 12, 2008 07:14 PM

                                    When I was in high school, I had the great good fortune to meet up with Polly Hutchins. She made a fruit cake with dried cherries, chocolate chips, and walnuts. None of that icky gelatinous fruit stuff. I make this treat to this day, and everyone loves it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                      buttertart Nov 13, 2008 08:56 AM

                                      Recipe please, on the Home Cooking board? Sounds great. Thanks.

                                    2. r
                                      Roland Parker Nov 12, 2008 03:01 AM

                                      I appreciate a good fruitcake and I’m especially fond of British style fruit cakes, which I never fail to consume on my frequent visits to England and Scotland.

                                      I have a recipe which was my mother’s grandmother. Like many women of her particular background, she rarely cooked, but she had certain dishes she always made on special occasions and the Christmas fruitcake and plum puddings were two of those dishes.
                                      Her fruitcake recipe came out of an earlier family recipe, and since she was a mild teetotaller she modified the recipe to eliminate the alcohol, substituting orange juice in its place. The cake is not musty as fruitcakes can be, and it can’t keep forever, although it will keep a long time, up to three months in the fridge at the least. I still make the fruitcake every year and it’s a family favourite.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Roland Parker
                                        Bill Hunt Nov 12, 2008 07:06 PM

                                        Maybe our trips to the UK are a tad early, as I have never encountered a UK fruitcake. I'll keep my eyes peeled for these and give them a try on our next Oct trip.

                                        Thanks,

                                        Hunt

                                      2. Bill Hunt Nov 11, 2008 06:45 PM

                                        I love fruitcake. However, 99% of these put me off, because of the candied fruit. I can eat the cake and the nuts, an just a tiny bit of the fruit. Almost all kill it for me, because of the candied fruit - just flat too much. Cut that by 90% and you might have a deal.

                                        Hunt

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                          j
                                          janeh Nov 11, 2008 06:56 PM

                                          Hunt - You might like the Alton Brown recipe which calls for dried fruit rather than the candied stuff.

                                          1. re: janeh
                                            Bill Hunt Nov 12, 2008 07:04 PM

                                            I'll look into that. I am normally not a fan of his TV persona, but if he's got a good recipe, then I will not complain.

                                            Thanks for the info,

                                            Hunt

                                        2. scubadoo97 Nov 11, 2008 03:49 PM

                                          I'm a closet fruitcake eater. Seriously, I like it but the number of haters seems artificially high. I wonder if some haters hate it because it's the expected response. Wonder if they've ever had a good one or given it a chance. What's not to like, spiced cake with fruit and nuts

                                          1. a
                                            Avalondaughter Nov 11, 2008 12:26 PM

                                            I don't like them, but I don't think it's just because I've only eaten "bad" ones. I am simply not a fan of spice cakes (I don't like gingerbread cake or carrot cake either) and I don't like most dried fruits. I don't like dates or raisins or candied orange peel. I can't stand those green things either. A fruit cake is an amalgam of most things I don't like in my desserts, so I'm not likely to ever enjoy one.

                                            1. w
                                              WTBD Nov 11, 2008 07:05 AM

                                              Ha - fruitcake is such a joke in my native USA, and so revered in my adopted UK. My first experience with British fruitcake was at a friend's wedding. Everyone was talking about the cake: 'can't wait... it will be so good... this is the best part of the wedding reception' etc. I saw the fondant outside and automatically presumed either chocolate or sponge filling. I laughed when it was finally cut to reveal the inside...until I realized the joke was on me! They were serious! (And it was better than I expected.)

                                              Fast forward to my own wedding to a Brit. His mother made us a fruitcake that put our bakery-bought individual-sized chocolate ganache cakes to shame. Even my American relatives had to agree it was nothing like they had feared - but they were grateful for the chocolate option as a fallback.

                                              His mum reliably makes fruitcake every xmas and I'm lobbying to learn her methods so I can pass it down through the family... Who would have thought?!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: WTBD
                                                im_nomad Nov 11, 2008 07:37 AM

                                                I am from Newfoundland and this is also a tradition where I come from, to have fruitcake for a wedding cake, and I have to say, I hope it stays alive. It is also tradition to sleep with a slice under your pillow is it not...as a single person, you will dream of the one you're meant to marry. My sister had fruitcake as her wedding cake, made by my mother, and decorated by, I believe, her mother-in-law to be. She kept the top layer for my oldest neice's christening.

                                                I MUCH prefer a fruitcake wedding cake to any other.

                                                I will also mention that in addition to loving fruitcake, I also love stollen, barm brack, and boiled raisin cakes.

                                                1. re: im_nomad
                                                  w
                                                  WTBD Nov 11, 2008 08:08 AM

                                                  I think you're right about the traditions: a slice under the pillow for singles, and save the top tier for the 1st kid's christening. My husband and I didn't save any of ours, but we are fortunate to have a regular supply. The xmas leftovers often last until my birthday in February.

                                                  My favorite part of the fruitcake-as-wedding-cake tradition is that, in many cases, it is made by someone in the family. I'd rather have a homemade cake than an expensive, gooey one (although having said that, my sister's lemon-and-raspberry sponge cake was divine. It also cost $800. That's some *fruit cake* !)

                                                  1. re: im_nomad
                                                    buttertart Nov 11, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                    I agree on the fruitcake as wedding cake (I'm from Ontario) and the putting a slice under your pillow to dream of your intended was also observed in our household.
                                                    At Christmas, we called it Christmas cake (and I imagine you do too?).
                                                    Especially good either with a layer of marzipan and royal icing with tooth-shattering silver dragees - or plain, with a nice piece of old Cheddar cheese (aged 4 or more years). The combination - taught my mother by a neighbor from Yorkshire - divine.
                                                    I make my (dear departed) mother's recipe at least every other year and have lately assumed the other family recipe fruitcake making from my mother-in-law, who at 85 is still cooking - wonderfully - for the family, at 85.

                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                      d
                                                      dolores Nov 11, 2008 09:44 AM

                                                      Good fruitcake. Yum. As a kid, my father worked for a long gone commercial bakery who gave out fruitcakes at Christmas time.

                                                      My mom and I baked, all the time. When it came to fruitcakes, we tried the 'more cake than fruit' and 'more fruit than cake' varieties, and decided the latter was the best. I can still see the magazine recipe she has somewhere, between two sheets of plastic, with the picture of the fruitcake I like the best.

                                                      Claxton makes a good fruitcake.

                                                2. Will Owen Nov 10, 2008 06:26 PM

                                                  I have always adored fruitcake, even those foil-wrapped slices I used to buy for 15¢ from the industrial-baked-goodies rack. The thicker and stickier and more laden with the stuff fruitcake haters REALLY hate, like the green candied stuff, the more I loved them. And the highlight of every year was the one that arrived from my great-grandma, which she had baked right after the Christmas before, wrapped in cheesecloth in a tin, and doused it regularly with brandy through the year - the ONLY time she would ever touch any kind of liquor! As gluttonous as I was, even I could master only one sliver at a time, so rich and deep and complex it was...well, okay, maybe two slivers!

                                                  1. ipsedixit Nov 9, 2008 08:03 PM

                                                    No, but then that's probably because I've never had real good quality fruitcake.

                                                    1. im_nomad Nov 9, 2008 01:25 PM

                                                      Count me in the "love it" category...particularly the rum soaked dark fruit cakes, made by Mom.

                                                      1. v
                                                        Val Nov 9, 2008 12:32 PM

                                                        The only kind I have ever liked was a gift my parents received each year ordered from Figi's from a family friend...it did NOT contain citron...just pineapple, cherries and nuts...that was very good.(is it still fruitcake without citron? I may be calling it the wrong thing!)..the citron stuff really is revolting to me, I don't like anything that contains citron.

                                                        1. beelzebozo Nov 9, 2008 12:26 PM

                                                          alton brown's fruitcake recipe.

                                                          seek it out.

                                                          it is amaaaaaaaaazing

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: beelzebozo
                                                            Athena Nov 9, 2008 12:32 PM

                                                            The Alton Brown recipe looks interesting - it's a variation of a classic boiled fruitcake - rich and dense.

                                                            1. re: beelzebozo
                                                              j
                                                              janeh Nov 11, 2008 08:41 AM

                                                              Here's the link to Alton Brown's free range fruitcake, which I've been making for years. Yum!

                                                              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                                                            2. alliedawn_98 Nov 9, 2008 12:20 PM

                                                              I really like fruitcake. I've only had bought fruitcakes that were good to me. Claxton Fruitcakes from Georgia are my favorite but maybe I'm biased because I grew up within 50 miles or so of Claxton. I'm the only one out of both parents and a sister that likes fruitcake. However, both of my children and my SO love it! I did try to make my own last year but it wasn't very good at all and I spent a lot of money on something that mainly ended up in the trash. I really want to be able to make a delicious fruitcake but have no clue where to start!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: alliedawn_98
                                                                b
                                                                bulavinaka Nov 9, 2008 12:47 PM

                                                                The great thing about being the only one in the family who likes fruitcake is because of its shelf life, you can take your sweet time eating it! Yum yum!

                                                              2. k
                                                                Kelli2006 Nov 9, 2008 08:28 AM

                                                                I love good fruitcake but 99.5% of commercial cakes are more suited to doorstops and paperweights than ingestion. I don't like the cakes with candied fruits dyed fruit in leaden cakes.

                                                                I made 2 fruitcakes last week and they are aging as I type in a metal tin in a dark cool corner of my basement.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Kelli2006
                                                                  a
                                                                  adamshoe Nov 9, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                                  Wow!! You're typing in a metal tin tucked away in your basement!! Talk about dedication...LOL. Re: fruitcake- it's those scary citron things that turn me off . What ARE they, anyway. Were they really fruit that just met a horrible end?! Adam

                                                                  1. re: adamshoe
                                                                    l
                                                                    Louise Nov 11, 2008 08:25 AM

                                                                    Citron is a citrus fruit. It met its end in a vat of sugar syrup. And it is delectable in traditional Christmas cookies such as lebkuken and pfeffernusse.

                                                                2. c
                                                                  cimui Nov 9, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                                  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!

                                                                  1. b
                                                                    bulavinaka Nov 9, 2008 07:49 AM

                                                                    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. c
                                                                      cstr Nov 9, 2008 06:52 AM

                                                                      It's my favorite re-gift item!

                                                                      1. w
                                                                        wontonfm Nov 9, 2008 06:34 AM

                                                                        I thought I didn't until I had a fruitcake from this abbey in Virginia: http://www.monasteryfruitcake.org/products.asp

                                                                        Totally delicious with great fruit and nut chunks.

                                                                        WON
                                                                        http://whatsonmyplate.wordpress.com

                                                                        1. grampart Nov 9, 2008 04:29 AM

                                                                          As long as it's from the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana Texas, I love it.
                                                                          http://www.collinstreet.com/

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: grampart
                                                                            BerkshireTsarina Nov 9, 2008 05:00 AM

                                                                            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
                                                                              Athena Nov 9, 2008 05:28 AM

                                                                              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
                                                                                grampart Nov 9, 2008 05:36 AM

                                                                                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.
                                                                                http://www.collinstreet.com/pages/apr...

                                                                                1. re: grampart
                                                                                  Athena Nov 9, 2008 06:31 AM

                                                                                  Yes, different cultures = different traditions and recipes.

                                                                                  1. re: grampart
                                                                                    The Professor Nov 11, 2008 07:23 AM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      grampart Nov 11, 2008 09:36 AM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        Will Owen Nov 11, 2008 02:33 PM

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

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