Bake Your Very Own Fruitcake

Fruitcake is a great holiday cake that you can serve on any season, particularly during the Christmas season. The term "fruitcake" comes from a combination of Latin "fructus", and French "frui" or "frug". The earliest reference of fruitcake can be traced back to the Romans and fruitcakes in England became increasingly popular during the 1800s. Even today, the popularity of the fruitcake continues.

What You'll Need to Bake Your Fruitcake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (or margarine), melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups dried mixed fruit
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brandy (optional, can substitute with milk)
  • 2 tablespoons allspice
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cloves
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Prepare a tube pan. Grease it with vegetable oil and sprinkle it with flour.

In a large bowl, cream brown sugar and butter. Beat the eggs and add baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lemon zest, and vanilla. You can use a wooden spoon or an electric mixture. The latter will make a smoother cake mixture.

Depending on your preference add a half cup of brandy or milk to the mixture. Pour the all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, and blend until all the flour is absorbed. Make sure you mix thoroughly.

Empty mixture into the prepared cake tube and bake for 1 hour, or until a tester placed in the center comes out clean.

Allow your fruit cake to cool, and voila! Your deliciously prepared dessert is ready to eat.

If you choose to add brandy instead of milk, for extra flavor you can wrap the cooled cake in foil. Then, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brandy over your cake, daily, for 2 weeks.


Brief History of the Fruitcake

Romans made fruit cakes with pine nuts and raisins. The ingredients honey, spices, and preserved fruit, were added in the Middle Ages.

In the 1400s, the British developed their craze for fruit cake, when they received their first shipment of dry fruits from the Mediterranean. In 1700s, Europeans baked a fruitcake mixed with nuts at the end of their nut harvest. They preserved the cake and ate it at the start of the following year's nut harvest.

During the early 18th century, fruitcakes (called plum cakes) across Continental Europe were outlawed because they became synonymous with being sinfully rich. But, the restrictions were lifted by the end of the century.

Fruitcakes gained fame between 1837 and 1901, when Queen Victoria eagerly waited every year to receive one for her birthday.

Interestingly enough, it was a tradition in England for unmarried wedding guests to place a slice of dark fruitcake under their pillow at night, so they could dream about the person they will wed.