Fruit Cake Recipe You're Sure to Like
In recent times, fruit cake has become a common holiday joke. Some feel that the mass-produced versions are to blame for the decline in fruit cake's popularity. Yet, despite this setback, fruit cake remains an important part of many people's holiday traditions. Where did this sweet, fruit-laden holiday pariah come from?
The oldest reference to fruit cake dates back to Roman times. Ancient fruit cake included pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and raisins mixed into barley puree. Preserved fruits, honey and spices were added during the medieval era. Crusaders carried this fruit cake to sustain themselves over long periods of time — a medieval protein bar, so to speak.
It wasn't until the 16th century when fruit cake became loaded with sugar. Due to the abundant supply of sugar from the American Colonies, the process of preserving fruits in sugar was perfected, and candied fruits were added to the fruit cake recipe. Alcohol was included during the Victorian Era, and fruit cake became a must-have for tea time and weddings in Victorian England. No one really knows how fruit cake became part of the Christmas season. Many believe that in the late 18th century, the English passed out fruit cake slices to poor women singing Christmas carols on the streets, tying fruit cake forever to holiday giving.
During the 18th century, the cake became popular in America and was especially loved where fresh fruit was not available. Nuts became a popular addition because most fruit cake companies were located in the South where nuts were cheap and readily available.
Don't like fruit cake? Give this homemade fruit cake recipe a try before passing judgment. It's chewy, moist, spicy and delicious! For best results, use homemade mincemeat. You won't regret it!
Holiday Fruit Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-28 oz. jar mincemeat or 2 2/3 cups homemade
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups candied fruit: green and red cherries, chopped; pineapple pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
Brandy or rum
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch tube or Bundt pan. Line the pan with wax paper and butter the wax paper.
Sift together flour and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, mincemeat, condensed milk, fruits and nuts. Slowly fold in dry ingredients. Pour mix into papered pan and bake until the middle springs back when pressed with a finger, which should take one to two hours. Cool in pan on a baking rack. Remove from pan and take off wax paper. Dust top with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.
To preserve cake, soak some cheesecloth in brandy or rum, then wrap the cake in the wet cheesecloth. Next, wrap the cheesecloth-covered cake in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Store the wrapped cake in a cool, dark place.