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Food Focus: The Fruit Cake

By Saira Malhotra | December 22, 2011

With the holidays almost here, we call upon the presence of that one particular dessert that is pulled out only once a year- the fruit cake! Pardon me for calling this brown mound of fruits, alcohol and nuts, just a dessert. After all, it represents several hundred years of history that spans across the globe that has become the fruit cake as we know it today.

Some love it, and some can barely take a bite of it, but Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without its dense company and with a scarce consideration to your palate, the brown beauty is never given a miss. The cake, also taking the form of a steamed version ‘Christmas Pudding’, represents shifts in agricultural output. Believed to be conceived in the 16th century in the United Kingdom, the recipe emerged from an excess in supply of sugar – which of course best explains why it is so sweet. It then evolved again in the United States when the largest fruit cake makers, such as Collin Street Bakery, in the South had access to a surplus of cheap nuts.

While the fruit cake is bold in sweetness from sugar and then reinforced with candies fruits, to dismiss it completely would be a loss to your own experience. Similar to oysters, if the cake is served as a lone ranger, it might eliminate a wider audience. Serve warm and consider to splash on some brandied custard, a pouring of cream, or a dollop of ice cream and then enjoy the balance of flavors. I assure you, your experience will change and the addition of dairy will mellow out its strong and unmistakable flavor.

Want to know where you can get some great versions of the fruit cake? Check out our following fruit cake suggestions:

Walkers Strathspey Rich Fruit Cake: A classic manufacturer of British cookies and pastries.

Figis No Sugar Added Grandmas Fruit Cake: A healthier spin on fruit cake.

Gethsemani Farms Fruit Cake: Try this fruit cake made by Trappist monks and rated by Wall Street Journal as “best overall” in quality and value. It also makes for a rather handsome gift.

Willima Sonoma’s Beekman Fruit Cake 1802: This over a century old cake recipe is soaked in applejack brandy.

Collin Street: One of the first players in the fruit cake world in the New World. Take a bite of American history.

Harry and David’s Fruit Cake: One of America’s trusted fine food purveyors offers a chunky fruit cake.

Harry and David’s Fruit Cake Confection: For a unique take on an old classic.

Figi’s Select a fruit cake: Slices of different variations of fruit cakes from pineapple macadamia to classic date nut.

Figi’s Chocolate Fruit Cake: Perfect for chocoholics who would pass up any desert without chocolate.

For more holiday tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

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