Fruit cake: probably the most controversial holiday dessert. Do we stick with traditional recipes to make older family members happy or do we make something that will make everyone come back for seconds?
Luckily for me, my family doesn’t have a tradition of fruit cake (our family fave is sour cream twists, check out my post about them here!) I always imagined a classic fruit cake to be like infamous loaf in the song, Ms. Foggarty’s Christmas Cake. I can sing almost the entire thing from memory – my Golden Bough Christmas CD might be the most well-loved in my holiday stack.
It’s history is rich and studded with odd side notes, just like fruitcake itself. My favorite historical note that I found was that Egyptians used to put an early version of fruitcake in tombs so their dead would have something to eat in the afterlife. As that implies, this cake can last a loooong time on the shelf. Despite that useful quality, it’s destined to be the butt of Christmas jokes for decades to come.
Yes, I used those mysteriously neon candied fruit chunks. Don’t judge – they’re basically just sweet little bites that add a little acidity to the cake flavor. Plus the colors are really fun and make them look like ornaments hung all over a Christmas tree. I don’t know what will happen to you if you eat them straight . . . they don’t resemble any real food out there.
Not pictured: heaps of currants, coming in to balance out the neon fruit cubes.
The cake itself is very dense and only has eggs as a leavening agent. It most closely resembles a pound cake in texture!
Layer #1: complete! You split the dough into three chunks so you can layer it up like a decadent marzipan sandwich.
Oo la la!
Make sure to spread it really well – it won’t fluff up and fill in the gaps while baking like a typical loaf cake.
Now wrap it like a mummy in cheesecloth and paint with brandy.
Does this count as art?
You can tell just from a glance how moist and rich it is. Take that, fruitcake haters.
I’m tying up this Christmas present with marzipan ribbons. Happy munching!
Recipe from: Season’s Greetings by Marlene Sorosky (awesome cookbook from the 1980s – the pictures and styling is very retro)
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