December 27 is National Fruitcake Day.
Fruitcake (or fruit cake) is cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and often soaked in spirits. Fruit cakes are often served at weddings (as Groomscake) and Christmas.
Fruitcakes have been around a long time. In fact, the earliest recipe is from Ancient Rome and includes pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added. In the 16th century, sugar and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits made fruits more affordable and popular.
Fruit cakes may be found worldwide with each country having it’s own unique take. For example in the Bahamas, fruitcake is soaked in dark rum for weeks to months before consuming
It has many names:
- Canada- Christmas cake
- Germany – stollen
- Ireland – barmbrack
- Italy – panforte
- Portugal – bolo rei
- Romania – cozonac
- Spain – bollo de higo
- Switzerland – birnenbrot
- Trinidad and Tobago – black cake
Poor ol’ fruitcake has a bad rap in the US. Some say it started with jokes told by Johnny Carson host of The Tonight Show even though the fruitcake had been maligned on television shows previously. Many younger folks have never even tried fruitcake and simply toss it when they receive it.
This year give it a try. Remember there is a huge variety of ingredients so search for one that suits you.
December is also National Fruitcake Month.
image courtesy of Alina Zienowicz, Wikimedia.org