The Best Christmas Fruitcake

facebook_-863609761I started thinking about fruitcake when my sister returned from Italy last week. She was going to try to bring a Panattone but didn’t have room in her suitcase.

I wondered about the history and started researching online. Some sources claimed that the Egyptians placed a version of a fruitcake in the tombs for loved ones to have food in the afterlife. The earliest recipes traced back to the ancient Romans list ingredients like: pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, raisins, honey and other preserved fruits.

We actually have a German Stollen in the freezer. I’m not sure any more why we haven’t eaten it.  I guess a year isn’t old for a fruitcake.  I found a couple of stories online that mentioned a 125 year old fruitcake.  An 83-year-old man named Morgan Ford living in Tecumseh, MI was preserving this fossil in glass.  In 2003 the post says he took his great-grandmother Fidelia Bates fruitcake to share a piece with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show.”

Cafeteria Mom

Cafeteria Mom


All my childhood cake memories are folded into my mother. There wasn’t a cake she couldn’t whip into shape. The sloppy mingling of butter, eggs, flour and sugar expertly ushered neatly into pans. Transformed by the oven into perfect pillows of warm fragrant sweetness that perfumed the house for every: birthday, communion, anniversary, graduation, or holiday. My mother was a creative soul trapped in the body of a traditional housewife. She was an intuitive baker and cook. Many of her culinary creations were made from memory and frequently improvised. She never used a recipe.

I do have an amazing recipe for fruitcake. Handed down to my sister from her mother-in-law. When I made it last year I had to alter it slightly. I soaked the fruit overnight in rum instead of adding the wine. Otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe bellow. I made the nine smaller loaves pictured above. Unlike the darker much maligned fruitcake these were all eaten within days. Word of warning they are addictive.

Rosemary's Fruitcake Recipe

Rosemary’s Fruitcake Recipe

Rosemary's Fruitcake Back

Also if anyone knows this family in Tecumseh, Michigan, I’d love to hear if they are continuing to preserve their fruitcake.

About Babs

I'm a narrative sculptor navigating her way through the ever-changing currents in what feels like an art ocean. Whether appreciating the calm rhythm of calls for art and exhibiting, or waiting to catch a big wave of inspiration to take me to the top. I just love being in the water. Formerly a pickle packer, theater major, crisis counselor and occupational therapist with a BA in Communications and a BS in Occupational Therapy, only to discover I've always been an artist. My work grows from a strong connection to people and a passion for discovering the beauty in ordinary things. I sculpt figuratively in clay, utilizing the female form and women’s themes. Frequently my inspiration is drawn from childhood memories and my own short poems. Like each of us as humans every work is uniquely influenced by the past and present and has a narrative.
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9 Responses to The Best Christmas Fruitcake

  1. Susan Robinson-Heaslip says:

    Dear Barbara, Interestingly enough last week I was invited for “tea and coffee” to a friend’s home. Five of the woman had not grown up in the United States; four were German and the subject of Fruitcake came into the conversation. The discussion was about American Fruitcake and how it differs from German Stollen. I offered a clumsy explanation of ingredients and an attempt to explain the jokes about fruitcake. The timing of this posting couldn’t be better! I will forward it onto the hostess! Thank you also for the recipe; which you know I will use. Susan

  2. Looks delicious. My mom used to make home made fruitcakes during Christmas which I love to eat even months after the Holidays. Somehow, the wine in it makes it even more moist with that perfect sweet taste as it ages. I didn’t get her recipe. But will sure ask her if she can still remember it. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you and your family the joys of the holidays.

  3. Island Traveler, Thank you for taking time to comment. Hope you have a wonderful holidays as well, filled with the sweetness of the season.

  4. Pingback: On the Eleventh Day of Christmas Recipes: Fruitcake | Brooklyn Locavore

  5. Afterglow says:

    This looks really yummy! 🙂

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