I have never been a lover of fruitcake. They always seem so heavy and dry. I’m willing to try and actually make these 5 DIY fruitcake recipes. If a recipe looks good to you but a couple of the ingredients aren’t your favorite, go ahead and eliminate them or change it up. Thanks to Martha Stewart for the recipes.
Our selected recipes show that not all fruitcakes are alike. There is a fruitcake for everyone — you will miss out if you dismiss it (listed as pictured from top to bottom).
A slice of ripe fruitcake, inlaid with colorful candied fruits and nuts, is reminiscent of mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, and medieval tapestries. The connection is more than just visual. Recipes for fruitcakes date back to crude examples from the seventh century, reflecting the influence of Persian culture on European cuisine. The Persians knew how to preserve fruit in sugar, and to grind almonds and sugar into the paste we know as marzipan. Over time, Europeans embraced the custom of adding candied fruits and ground nuts to their breads and cakes. By the nineteenth century, the English, forever fond of sweets, had perfected the art of the fruitcake.
English “cookery” books are chock-full of fruitcakes with wonderful names like Fat Rascal. Often the cakes are attributed to a person, suggesting the recipe was a family heirloom. Sometimes the recipes include short anecdotes or childhood memories of cracking and shelling pounds of nuts in preparation. One recipe warns that fruit must only be cut with sharp kitchen scissors. Another reminds us to stir clockwise for good luck. Making fruitcake is a serious business. It requires an expensive, seemingly gargantuan quantity of ingredients — gorgeous candied citrus peel, glaceed cherries, currants, nuts, sweet butter, eggs, flour, and, of course, brandy — which yields a small number of cakes. Consequently, fruitcakes have always been reserved for special occasions — Christmas in particular.
One must wonder, then, about the fruitcake’s fall from grace. Why does the gift of a fruitcake, once the epitome of decadence and goodwill, seem more punishing than a stocking full of coal? The explanation is simple: The ingredients have been abused.
Images from Martha Stewart.
For all the recipes visit Martha Stewart.