History of Christmas Recipes: Fruitcake

posted in: Christmas, Holidays | 0

Fruitcake has had many jokes made about it over the years and become a highly ridiculed Christmas dessert, especially in the United States

“The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.”

Fruitcakes soon grew throughout Europe, but the recipes greatly varied, even as they continue to today.

“It was the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.”

The discovery of sugar preserving fruits in the 16th Century, made the cake more affordable and popular.

Since around 1700, fruitcake is usually referred to as plum cake in England. Some parts of the country serve it with cheese.

Fruitcake was served at the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and later at the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

In December 1956, Truman Capote ran a short story focusing on fruitcake in the magazine Mademoiselle.

American TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s began making fun of fruitcake. Johnny Carson put his on digs in on his TV show.

Wikipedia reported, “When a fruit cake contains a good deal of alcohol, it can remain edible for many years. For example, a fruit cake baked in 1878 was kept as an heirloom by a family (Morgan L. Ford) in Tecumseh, Michigan. In 2003 it was sampled by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Wrapping the cake in alcohol-soaked linen before storing is one method of lengthening its shelf life.”

“A 106-year-old fruitcake discovered in 2017 by the Antarctic Heritage Trust was described as in “excellent condition” and “almost” edible.”

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