The ancient Romans made a mishmash of barley, pomegranate seeds, nuts and raisins as a sort of energy bar; however the modern fruitcake can be traced back to the Middle Ages as dried fruits became more widely available and fruited breads entered Western European cuisine.
The fruitcake may be the butt of your re-gifting joke, but the treat’s origins date back to as early as Ancient Egypt. Today, this cake is more popular as a punchline than a dessert, but either The History of Fruitcake: Legendary Cake (and Christmas Re-Gift) – ManyEats
Where do fruit cakes originate from?
Fruitcake has been around since ancient Roman times. You may know that fruitcake has roots in England, but that’s not where it originated. It has been around since ancient Roman times, where it was made of a mix of pine nuts, barley mash, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and honeyed wine.
Who started fruitcake?
|A traditional English fruitcake|
|Created by||Originally from Roman times|
|Main ingredients||Candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, spices, sugars, flour|
|Variations||Iced fruitcake, diabetic fruitcake, gluten-free fruitcake, lactose-free fruitcake|
Did fruitcake originate in Egypt?
The fruitcake may be the butt of your re-gifting joke, but the treat’s origins date back to as early as Ancient Egypt. Today, this cake is more popular as a punchline than a dessert, but either way, it’s made its mark on the holiday.
When was fruit cake first made?
Honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added during the Middle Ages. Crusaders and hunters were reported to have carried this type of cake to sustain themselves over long periods of time away from home. 1400s – The British began their love affair with fruitcake when dried fruits from the Mediterranean first arrived.
Where did the Christmas cake originate?
Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. People ate the porridge on Christmas Eve, using it to line their stomachs after a day of fasting. Soon dried fruit, spices and honey were added to the porridge mixture, and eventually it turned into Christmas pudding.
How old is the oldest fruit cake?
TECUMSEH, Michigan, United States–Julie Ruttinger, 56, who lives just outside Detroit, Michigan, is the proud keeper of a 141-year-old fruitcake; Julie is the great-great-granddaughter of Fidelia Ford, who baked the fruit cake in 1878; the 141 year-old cake sets the world record for the Oldest fruitcake, according to
Who made cake?
According to the food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century. It is a derivation of ‘kaka’, an Old Norse word. Medieval European bakers often made fruitcakes and gingerbread.
Why is fruit cake a thing?
Why is the fruitcake a traditional holiday staple? According to the New York Times, fruitcake dates back to a food enjoyed by ancient Romans called satura — a mix of barley, pomegranate seeds, nuts, and raisins held together with honey. Some speculate that this dish was invented as a way to preserve fruit.
When was fruit created?
Perhaps the earliest pictorial evidence of fruit growing occurs in a 1 m tall alabaster vessel known as the Uruk vase found in Jemdet Nasr levels at Uruk that date from about 3000 BCE (Fig. 1).
Why does fruit cake last so long?
“Low water activity is important because many microorganisms, including foodborne illness-causing bacteria, need moisture in order to reproduce. “In practical terms, this makes most fruitcakes extremely shelf stable, so they would be safe to eat for a long time – a really long time,” Chapman says.
What fruits are in fruit cake?
Historically, fruit cakes were served with a piece of cheese to offset the cake’s sweetness and a glass of sherry. Today, fruit cakes are typically served with a strong cup of tea or coffee.
Where to buy the best fruit cake?
Fruitcake 101: A Concise Cultural History of This Loved and Loathed Loaf
A anonymous sixty-something woman looks out her kitchen window and exclaims, ″Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!″ This sets the stage for the events of Truman Capote’s 1956 short tale ″A Christmas Memory.″ To prepare for a traditional four-day baking marathon, she and her best buddy, Buddy (her live-in cousin who is seven years old), begin gathering ingredients, which includes anything from snatching fallen nuts from a neighbor’s pecan orchard to collecting a whole gallon of bootleg whiskey.″That’s no way to squander fine whiskey,″ the bootlegger sarcastically observes when he learns how his spirits are going to be utilized.Even though fruitcakes are supposed to symbolize benevolence and festive happiness, they have become the running joke of the modern holiday season.″There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep passing it around,″ said late-night comic Johnny Carson in one of his many parodies.It has evolved to denote anything eccentric or completely mad in English slang, and the town of Manitou Springs, Colorado holds an annual fruitcake throwing contest in which undesired loaves are hurled to the ground using medieval weapons such as catapults to send them flying.The expectation appears to be that we as a society are collectively despised by this solitary baked item.
- But, is fruitcake truly as horrible as everyone says it is?
- That’s difficult to accept considering the fact that it has lasted so long in popular culture.
- As a sort of energy bar, the ancient Romans mixed together barley, pomegranate seeds, nuts, and raisins; however, the modern fruitcake can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when dried fruits became more widely available and fruited breads became more common in Western European cuisine as a result of these developments.
However, variants on the fruitcake began to appear, such as: Italian panforte (literally, ″strong bread″), a dense loaf of sweet and spicy bread that dates back to the 13th century in Siena; Germany’s stollen, a tapered loaf coated with melted butter and powdered sugar that is more bread-like in consistency and has its own annual festival; and the Caribbean Islands’ black cake, a boozy descendant of Britain’s plum pudding that is baked for months, or even a year, in rum and served with During the 18th and 19th centuries, the habit of baking fruitcakes for special events such as weddings and holidays grew in popularity, and because the materials were expensive, it was considered a magnificent extravagance.However, as is the case with many traditions, it is unclear how this confection came to be connected solely with the holiday season.Another enigma is the exact moment when the fruitcake began to lose its luster.Possibly the last nail in the coffin was driven in the early twentieth century when mass-produced mail-order fruitcakes became accessible, resulting in the tragically famous picture of a dry, leaden cake coated with gaudy candied fruits and nuts that has endured ever since.
However, given the fact that some of the firms who manufacture these items have been in business for decades, this isn’t a completely adequate solution.Surely they must be doing something right, don’t you think?Personally, I like the taste of home-cooked food.
It’s that time of year again, and I adore remembering people via food, so I break out the old family dishes that have become synonymous with the Christmas season.A fruitcake made by my great-grandmother, Great Grandma Reamer, is one of them.Although I never saw her, I am familiar with this particular dish she made, and every year her well guarded, liquor-kissed mixture of dried fruits and little marshmallows is tossed together in my kitchen.And, for the first time this Christmas season, I attempted to make panforte, mostly because the Italian side of my family constantly complains about how difficult it is to obtain that specific fruitcake in the supermarkets.
It will be interesting to see if mine passes the muster on Christmas morning.It’s possible that you’ll have to use the scientific method of trial and error before you find a fruitcake recipe that suits your tastes, but I challenge you to give it a shot.Considering all of the many foreign and regional versions available to try—and even a recipe championed by Good Eats chef Alton Brown—you could find yourself starting your own fruitcake tradition.And for those of you seeking for the recipe for the fruitcake that is only faintly described in ″A Christmas Memory,″ try Fruitcake by Truman Capote’s aunt Marie Rudisill, which is available on Amazon.com.She is arguably most known for her performances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, when she went under the stage moniker ″The Fruitcake Lady,″ and for her appearances on The View.
- Recipes for Desserts in the Kitchen Traditions and rites of passage Videos That Should Be Watched
The Interesting History Of Fruitcake
Brebbia is illuminated by the Sun of Zuasnabar.Photographs courtesy of Getty Images Fruitcake doesn’t exactly have the finest reputation in the culinary world.Despite the fact that the word ″cake″ appears in the title, this is not the same as the birthday cake you’re presumably expecting.Making use of dried fruits and a large number of nuts, fruitcake is normally on the drier side, with no sweet sugary icing or other ingredients to be discovered.Nonetheless, this is one food item that has a remarkable history—it has been there for far longer than you may expect it to be.Find out where fruitcake comes from and what it was like throughout history in this video.
- Con Keyes is a fictional character created by author Con Keyes.
- Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 1 out of 12 Fruitcake has been present since the time of the ancient Romans.
- Although you may be aware that fruitcake has historical origins in England, this is not where it began.
It has been around since the time of the ancient Romans, when it was composed of a mixture of pine nuts, barley mash, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and honeyed wine.Today, it is still created the same way.It was baked into a cake and given the name ″satura.″ As a snack on the battlefield, Roman troops carried acorns because they were light and could be stored for a long period of time without spoiling.The Hulton Archive is a collection of historical documents.
Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 2 out of 12 It was once accompanied with meat.Fruitcake used to be a little different before it featured fruits and nuts, for example.Food provided during Shakespeare’s day consisted of meat, wine, sherry, fruit juices, sugar, and certain preserved fruits, among other things.
After a period, however, the meat was removed from the menu and additional fruit was substituted in its stead.It became known as ″plum pudding,″ and it was essentially a cake made with plums.Tom Kelley’s Photographic Collection Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 3 out of 12 Fruitcake has been around since the Middle Ages, according to historical records.As the ages passed, the components in fruitcake evolved to reflect the changing times.
Fruitcake, as we know it now, can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages, where it was first created.Europeans discovered that sugar could be used to preserve fruits around the 16th century, when sugar became more affordable.They began by soaking fruits in sugar for many days, thus drying them, and then adding all of the sugar-soaked fruit to the fruitcake.Nuts were introduced about this period as well.jodiecoston Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 4 out of 12 It was declared illegal in the 18th century.
- In fact, all of that sugar resulted in a fruitcake that was a touch too delicious.
- Fruitcake (formerly known as plum cakes) was forbidden throughout continental Europe in the 18th century because it was considered to be ″sinfully rich.″ This did not last long, as fruitcake soon returned to its former glory as a staple of the British breakfast table.
- Kitipong Bhalatanya / EyeEm / Kitipong Bhalatanya / EyeEm Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 5 out of 12 People used to tuck it beneath their pillows back in the 1800s.
- Fruitcake used to be a part of some quite bizarre ceremonies back in the day.
- What’s the most bizarre?
- For unmarried wedding guests in England, it was usual for them to place a piece of fruitcake beneath their pillows at night so that they may dream about the person they would eventually marry.
The link was made since fruitcake was typically the type of cake presented at weddings in the United Kingdom.Pool/Tim Graham Photographic Archive Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 6 out of 12 It has been served to members of the British royal family on special occasions.In fact, fruitcake is still considered a special occasion cake in England.Fruitcake became a special occasion cake for the British royals during the Victorian era, when the dessert was having a tremendous time in the limelight of fame.When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married, it is said that she waited a year before eating a slice of her fruitcake as a sign of her self-control.
- And when Princess Diana and Prince Charles tied the knot, they served fruitcake as part of their wedding reception.
- During their own wedding ceremony, Kate Middleton and Prince William also offered fruitcake.
- Pool/Tim Graham Photographic Archive Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 7 out of 12 A group of colonists brought it to the United States.
- Fruitcake was introduced to America by British colonists during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War.
- It became particularly popular in areas where fresh fruit was scarce, as it did not need the use of fresh fruit in its preparation.
- It was first sold at Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, and then at the Claxton Bakery in Claxton, Georgia, where it became well-known.
- They began to include more nuts as a result of the low cost of nuts in certain places.
- CSA-Printstock Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 8 out of 12 In 1913, the first mail-order fruitcake was introduced to the market.
- It was in one of these bakeries, the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, that the concept of mail-order fruitcake supplied in tins was first conceived in 1913.
- The Collin Street Bakery is still one of the world’s leading fruitcake makers today.
- This is still a very popular method of purchasing and sending fruitcake, and the bakery that was instrumental in getting it all started delivers fruitcake all around the world.
- Instants Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 9 out of 12 It was once sold to the highest bidder on the moon.
- Fruitcake was the first person to travel to the moon, back in 1969.
- The astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins carried a pineapple fruitcake with them on the Apollo 11 space mission, but they never got around to eating it.
- In fact, you may still get a peek of the fruitcake if you look closely.
- On exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is a replica of the aircraft.
- Michael Ochs Photographic Archives Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 10th out of 12 It is credited to Johnny Carson for turning it into a joke.
- In light of how widely popular fruitcake was for such a long period of time, it’s a little strange to think that it’s now the punchline to a lot of jokes.
- Many people believe that Johnny Carson, the late-night talk show presenter, was the first to promote this type of thinking.
- During an episode of The Tonight Show in the 1960s, he cracked a joke, saying, ″Fruitcake is the worst type of Christmas present.
- There is only one fruitcake in the entire globe, and people continue to deliver it to one another as long as they can.″ Carson made it a point to make fun of the merchandise every year during the holidays after that point.
- Brebbia is illuminated by the Sun of Zuasnabar.
- Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 11th out of 12 We’re not sure why we eat it over the holidays, though.
As you can see, fruitcake was not originally intended to be served as a Christmas dessert.It was once consumed by Roman troops, and it is now offered as a wedding cake during the weddings of members of the British royal family.So, how did it come to be associated with the holiday season?According to the Smithsonian Institution, the cause behind this is a mystery.Swiss Colony claims that the Christmas song ″We Wish You a Merry Christmas″ makes reference to fruitcake when it sings of ″figgy pudding,″ which is a kind of fruitcake.
- According to them, fruitcake was provided to poor English carolers throughout the Christmas season, which may explain why it became so popular during the holiday season.
- Westend61 Photographs courtesy of Getty Images 12 out of 12 Fruitcake is made in many different variations across the world.
- Fruitcake is defined as a dessert that contains dried fruit, nuts, and alcoholic beverage in addition to other ingredients.
- As a result, it is not unexpected that there are several variations of fruitcake found around the world.
- During the holidays in Germany, ″stollen″ is a fruitcake-like bread that is popularly offered as a dessert.
- Panettone is a traditional Italian dessert, while Black Cake, a rum-soaked dessert from Jamaica, is another.
The History of Fruitcake: Legendary Cake (and Christmas Re-Gift) – ManyEats
Although the fruitcake may be the punchline of your re-gifting joke, the treat’s roots may be traced back to Ancient Egypt.Today, this cake is more commonly used as a punchline than as a treat, but it has left its stamp on the celebration in either case.With anything from yearly loaf hurling competitions to moistening the cake (perhaps with alcohol) to making light of how hefty a fruitcake is, there’s no limit to the enjoyment.Fruitcakes aren’t going anywhere, no matter how much you despise them.Let’s take a look at its history today — and then eat everything else we can get our hands on!
The Fruitcake and its History
What is a Fruitcake?
Fruitcakes, as the name implies, are a blend of dried fruits, nuts, and spices that are baked into a cake form. These might be basic, but some are soaked in spirits and aged for a more distinctive flavor. Cakes are often eaten plain, with no extra spreads or frosting, due to their rich flavor and dense texture, respectively.
Earliest History of the Fruitcake
And to whom and when do we attribute credit for the development of the fruitcake?Some historians assert that fruit cakes have been around since Ancient Egypt, when people would place them within the graves of the recently deceased to commemorate their passing.The most widely accepted explanation for this uncommon practice is that the cakes provided food for the hereafter of the bakers.The fruitcake-like bars known as’satura’ were often carried into combat by Roman troops in ages past.They started with barley mash and then topped it with pine nuts, raisins, and pomegranate seeds to make it more festive.These cakes were extremely portable and could be stored for an extended period of time without rotting.
- Despite the fact that Satura was an early progenitor of the fruitcake, it also has a claim to being the inspiration for the current energy bar!
Fruitcake and the Middle Ages
Take a little trip back in time to the Middle Ages.The most frequent fruitcakes in this region were made with a combination of honey, spices, and – most significantly – preserved fruit.Dried foods from Portugal and the Mediterranean were brought back to England by British ships throughout the thirteenth century.However, the ″cakes″ that resulted were more like a lightly fruited bread than the rich, dense cake that we are accustomed to today.It wasn’t until the late Middle Ages that the first variants of a richer fruit cake – such as the Scottish black bun – began to make their way onto the international culinary arena.Because of the unique ingredients used in these sweets, the majority of the general public saw them as luxuries that should only be enjoyed on exceptional occasions.
Fruitcake and Christianity
Shortly put, the fruitcake and the Church have had a long and contentious love-hate relationship.During the Crusades, the knights took a page out of the ancient Romans’ book and ate fruitcake as a kind of sustenance while fighting in the field.Because of the six-month journey from England to the Holy Land, the Crusaders need equipment that would survive for an extended period of time.As a remedy, they would bake homemade fruitcakes using stale bread, honey, spices, dried fruit, and mead.After a while, the mixture solidified and became naturally resistant to decay.Fruitcakes suffered a little relegation in the 1400s when the Catholic Church forbade bakers from using butter in their baked goods during Advent, which was a season of fasting at the time.
- In the end, the resultant butterless cake, known as Stollen, was a dry and unappealing confection created from flour, oil, yeast, and water that had no flavor.
- The Prince Elector Ernst and the Duke of Saxony wrote to Pope Nicholas V, asking with him to abolish the prohibition on their religion.
- Oil was expensive and difficult to come by in Saxony, which made eating cakes a burden for the people who lived there.
When Pope Innocent IV (the fifth Pope following Nicholas V) came to power, butter was finally permitted.The Pope wrote to the Prince in what is now known as the ″Butter-Letter,″ in which he said that anybody can use butter.Everyone else, with the exception of the Prince’s family, was required to pay an annual tax.Since then, the fruit cake has reverted to its former luxurious glory.
Over the course of the holiday season, wealthy households would offer these pastries to carolers and the less fortunate.This tradition is likely to have had an impact on the yearly fruitcake gifting (and re-gifting) that we see today.
The Road to Modern Fruitcake
Fruitcake in the Colonies
The arrival of boatloads of sugar from colonial regions in Europe throughout the 1600s transformed the commodity into a relatively inexpensive commodity.Using sugar to preserve fruit meant that people could enjoy fruitcakes that contained a variety of different fruits long after the harvest season had passed.Fruitcake was introduced to the New World by British colonists some years before the American Revolutionary War.It quickly gained popularity in rural areas where fresh fruit was difficult to come by.Among the prominent fruitcakes manufactured during this time period is the ″muster cake,″ which is a rich, alcoholic-heavy confection that colonial women prepared for soldiers who were ″mustered″ for military training by decree of the British Parliament in the colonies.
Fruitcake in Europe
Fruitcake’s sinfully rich character proved to be its downfall in the early 1800s, when the European Church declared it to be excessively decadent and prohibited it from being sold.By the end of the century, however, the restriction had been repealed by the religious authorities.This was a major victory for Victorians, who cherished the tradition of having fruitcake for afternoon tea.The fruitcake served during Queen Victoria’s wedding, which was topped with a sugar figure of Britannia, helped to further solidify the nation’s fondness for the delicacy, which has since been standard at weddings.Several other royals, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and, most recently, Prince William and Princess Kate, have continued the practice of serving fruitcake on their special day.Another popular dessert in the United Kingdom is Christmas Pudding, which many people mistakenly assume is the same as a fruitcake.
- Christmas Pudding, often known affectionately as ″Figgy Pudding,″ has a similar ingredient list to Christmas Pudding, consisting primarily of dried fruit, nuts, and alcohol, but the similarities end there.
- Instead of being baked, this delicacy is steamed, similar to how a cake is made.
Most fruitcakes available nowadays are mass-produced loaves that are generally rather dense and packed with excessively sweet candied fruits and pecans, which is a shame because they make for delicious desserts.Others put their all into the fruitcake-making process, resulting in a delectable cake that is reminiscent of the handmade fruitcakes of yesteryear.When the Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, opened its doors in 1896, it was the first bakery to commercialize fruitcakes.Today, they produce over 1.6 million fruitcakes every year and distribute them to every state in the United States, as well as 200 other countries.Claxton, Georgia, is another town well-known for its fruitcakes, since it is the site of the world-famous Claxton Bakery.Because of the rapid and simple availability to nuts in the Southern states, several enterprises have established themselves in these areas.
- Even though most mass-produced fruitcakes are typically free of alcohol, traditional recipes still call for the use of brandy or other spirits, as well as the dusting of powdered sugar on top.
Fruitcakes Around the World
- The history of the fruitcake debate would be incomplete without noting the diverse varieties that have been evolved by different civilizations around the world. Here are a few of the more prominent ones to start with: The native fruitcake in the Bahamas is steeped with black rum, thanks to the large number of distilleries in the country. Even the remaining components, such as candied fruits, raisins, and walnuts, are subjected to the same technique in order to generate a more complex flavor.
- The two Italian confections, Panforte and Panettone, are still widely consumed today. The former has a strong spice taste, and the latter is a hearth cake with dried and candied fruits that has a peculiar textured texture.
- Fruitcake, also known as plum cake in the United Kingdom, was made with raisins and currants. It is possible that this name is confused since the word plum was originally used to apply to all fruits
- nonetheless, Stollen, which has now been adopted by Germany, is an incredibly popular holiday cake. Stollen is often made using yeast, water, flour, orange zest – as well as a variety of exciting spices, nuts, and dried fruit – and baked till golden brown.
Fruitcakes and Popular Culture
Because of the poor quality of most mass-market fruitcakes, what was once a sumptuous treat fit for kings has become a comedic joke.Various American luminaries, such as Johnny Carson and Truman Capote, as well as television shows such as the Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best, have contributed to the fruitcake’s image as the butt of jokes in the United States.And to top it all off with a cherry on top, there’s a world-renowned fruitcake tossing tournament.Since 1995, the town of Manitou Springs has held the Fruitcake Toss event every year.This funny event draws individuals from all over the country who get together to toss fruitcakes in the most creative manner they can think of.Despite the treat’s tarnished reputation, however, fruitcakes continue to be served as part of many cultures’ annual Christmas traditions across the world.
- Many culinary specialists are also working on finding new techniques to improve the texture and flavor of fruitcake while yet maintaining the benefits of mass-market availability.
The Fruitcake Questions You Were Afraid to Ask
Why Does Fruitcake Last So Long?
Because of the high sugar content in fruitcake, it keeps for a long period without spoiling.Bacteria and other microbes get dehydrated and shrivel up as a result of the concentrated sugar.In addition, honey does not spoil because of its property.Alcohol, through a process known as denaturation, is also a crucial impact in the lifetime of a fruitcake.It is called denaturation when alcohol causes the breakdown of the fat that surrounds a bacterium cell, exposing the cell’s vital components to the environment.
What’s the Shelf Life of a Fruitcake?
In accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture, fruitcakes can be stored for two to three months in the refrigerator and for up to a year if they are frozen.In practice, what does this mean?Many people have reported that fruitcakes keep for substantially longer periods of time.While fruitcakes may be edible for extended periods of time, the quality of their flavor and texture will almost certainly suffer as a result.
What’s the History of Nuts in Fruitcake?
Nuts have traditionally played a significant part in the preparation of this meal.The Ancient Romans supplemented their satura with pine nuts.In the 1700s, Europeans would flavor their fruitcake with nuts from their annual crop, which was harvested in the spring.Only the following year’s crop would they devour them, not the year before.Did you know that the earliest known usage of the word ″nutty″ to describe someone who was ‘mad’ was as early as 1821, according to Wikipedia?When commercial fruitcakes containing nuts became popular in the 1930s, people began to make the connection, and the expression ″nutty as a fruitcake″ was coined to describe them.
What is ‘Feeding’ a Fruitcake? How do you do it?
Feeding a fruitcake is the procedure of periodically injecting alcohol into it in order to keep it moist and improve its flavor and texture.Strong, flavored spirits – such as rum, whiskey, and brandy – are ideal for this recipe.After baking the cake, poke tiny holes in it with a stick and pour little alcohol over it to allow it to soak.Once it has cooled down, continue to ″feed″ it with an extra teaspoon every 14 days until you get the desired taste.
What is the Oldest Fruit Cake?
The only record that has been validated by the Guinness Book of World Records is the world’s oldest cake, which was unearthed in an Egyptian tomb and dates back 4,176 years.One family in Michigan claims to have a 141-year-old fruitcake that has been passed down from generation to generation for generations.According to them, the cake was prepared in 1878 by Fidelia Ford’s great-great-granddaughter, Fidelia Ford.While intriguing, determining the authenticity of such a claim is difficult – but hey, I want to believe!
The Fruitcake – On Our Table and in Our Hearts
As you can see, the fruitcake is more than just a practical prank. The history of the fruitcake may be traced back thousands of years and is rich with tradition. So, the next time you find yourself being nasty with your fruitcake, take a moment to examine how the cake has changed — and then decide whether or not you still want to regift it.
Fruitcake History, Whats Cooking America
Fruitcakes are special occasion and wedding cakes that have a high concentration of fresh fruit.To get effective outcomes, they must be handled and baked in a certain manner.The origins of the term ″fruitcake″ can only be traced back to the Middle Ages, though.A combination of the Latin fructus and French frui or frug resulted in the creation of the word frug.According to historical records, the first written mention of a fruitcake was made during the Roman era.Pomegranate seeds were incorporated in the recipe.
- Pine nuts and raisins were added to the barley mash to make it more flavorful.
- During the Middle Ages, additional ingredients like as honey, spices, and preserved fruits were introduced.
- According to legend, crusaders and hunters used to carry this sort of cake with them in order to feed themselves when away from home for extended periods of time.
When dried fruits from the Mediterranean first arrived in the United Kingdom in the 1400s, the British developed a taste for fruitcake.A ceremonial sort of fruitcake was prepared after the conclusion of the nut harvest in Europe, and it was stored and eaten the following year to celebrate the beginning of the next harvest, in hopes that it would bring them another prosperous crop.After the harvest, the nuts were combined and baked into a fruitcake, which was then stored until the next year.Fruitcakes from the previous year were consumed at that time in the belief that the symbolism of the fruitcakes would bring the blessing of another bountiful crop.
When fruitcakes (also known as plum cakes) were forbidden throughout Continental Europe in the early 18th century, it was a big deal.These cakes were dubbed ″sinfully rich″ because of their high sugar content.By the end of the 18th century, there were rules in place that prohibited the consumption of plum cake.
Fruitcake was immensely popular between the years 1837 and 1901.Fruitcake was an essential component of a Victorian ″Tea,″ which would not have been complete without it.After receiving a fruitcake for her birthday, Queen Victoria is supposed to have waited a year before eating it, believing it demonstrated restraint, moderation, and excellent taste on her part.Generally in England, it was customary for unmarried wedding guests to place a slice of the cake, which was traditionally a dark fruitcake, beneath their pillows at night so that they would dream about the person they would marry the following day.
Recipes for Fruit Cakes: Dresden Stollen, Elsie’s Blue Ribbon Fruit Cakes, and more.Fruit Cake with a Royal Flair Fruitcake with Vanilla Wafers
History of Christmas Cakes
Christmas cake is an English custom that started out as plum porridge hundreds of years ago.People had the porridge on Christmas Eve, using it to fill their tummies after fasting for the previous 24 hours.It wasn’t long before dried fruit, spices, and honey were added to the porridge mixture, and the result was Christmas pudding.Oatmeal was eliminated from the original recipe in the 16th century, and butter, wheat flour, and eggs were substituted in its place.These elements contributed to the cohesiveness of the mixture, which culminated in the creation of a boiled plum cake.For Easter, the more affluent households who possessed ovens began baking fruit cakes with marzipan, an almond sugar paste, to give as gifts.
- They created a similar cake for Christmas, but this time using seasonal dried fruit and spices.
- The spices symbolized the exotic eastern spices that the Wise Men had brought with them.
- This cake became known as ″Christmas cake″ after the holiday season.
Christmas cakes can be created in a variety of ways, although the majority of them are variants on the classic fruitcake recipe.They can be light, dark, wet, dry, heavy, spongy, leavened, unleavened, and a variety of other characteristics.Their various variations include frosting, glazing, a little dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or just being left unfrosted and plain.The traditional Scottish Christmas cake, often known as the Whisky Dundee, is extremely famous among people all over the world.
It’s a light, crumbly cake made with currants, raisins, cherries, and Scotch whiskey, among other ingredients.There are also more sorts of Christmas cakes, such as an apple crème cake and a mincemeat cake.Among the ingredients for the apple creme cake are apples and other fruits, raisins, eggs, cream cheese, and whipping cream.
The mincemeat cake is created with classic mincemeat or vegetarian mincemeat, as well as other ingredients such as flour, eggs, and so on.It can also be served as a Christmas pudding if cooked before serving.All of the Christmas desserts are prepared in advance.Many people prepare them in November and store them upside down in an airtight container until the following year.
Every week before Christmas, a tiny quantity of brandy, sherry, or whiskey is poured into small holes in the cake to create a festive atmosphere.This procedure is referred to as ″feeding″ the cake.When it comes to Christmas cake in Japan, it is a sponge cake that has been iced and decorated with strawberries, chocolates, or seasonal fruit.In the past, it was common for men and women over the age of 25 to refer to women as ″Christmas cake,″ implying that they were out of season because the cake was eaten after December 25th.The age has now been raised to 31, in honor of toshikoshi-soba, a noodle dish that is traditionally served on December 31st.
- Traditionally, Christmas cake in the Philippines is a yellow pound cake topped with almonds or the typical British fruitcake.
- Both cakes are soaked in brandy or rum, as well as a palm sugar syrup and water, before being baked.
- Typically, rosewater or orange flower water is used as an additive.
- The cakes have a lengthy shelf life, with most of them remaining fresh for several months.
- Occasionally, they are consumed the following Easter or Christmas season.
- A high-quality store-bought Christmas cake is an excellent alternative if you don’t have the time or patience to prepare your own.
There are many different tastes and kinds to choose from.
Oldest fruitcake: 143-year-old fruitcake sets world record
United States-based TECUMSEH, Michigan – The WORLD RECORD ACADEMY has recognized Julie Ruttinger, 56, of Detroit, Michigan, as the proud keeper of a 141-year-old fruitcake.Julie is the great-great-granddaughter of Fidelia Ford, who baked the fruitcake in 1878; according to the WORLD RECORD ACADEMY, the 141-year-old cake sets the world record for the Oldest fruitcake.Photo above this page: Julie Ruttinger, of Tecumseh, holds a 141-year-old fruitcake that was prepared by her great-great grandmother Fidelia Ford in 1878.The cake is a family relic that has been passed down through generations.Photograph courtesy of David Guralnick of The Detroit News In the words of Julie Ruttinger, the great-great-granddaughter of Fidelia Ford, the woman who cooked the cake in 1878, ″it’s a wonderful thing.″ ″It was a matter of tradition.It’s a family heirloom.″ Photo above this page: In the house of Dorothy Ford in Tecumseh, Michigan, on December 9, 2019, a fruitcake prepared by Fidelia Ford in 1878 is on display.
- Photo courtesy of David Guralnick/Detroit News, courtesy of The Associated Press and St.
- George News.
- According to the Detroit News, Fidelia’s obituary, which is displayed on top of the cake, describes her as follows: ″She lived, not for herself, but for her family.″ ″There was no service too big if it was for the benefit of people around her.″ The cake was originally saved in order to commemorate Ford’s birthday.
During the Christmas season, she began a practice of creating the cake and then allowing it to mature for a year before serving it.Ford died at the age of 65 before her 1878 cake could be consumed, and by the time the holidays arrived, the family had relegated Ford’s creation to the status of a legacy rather than a source of nourishment.The cake was in the possession of Ruttinger’s father, Morgan Ford, who happened to be Fidelia Ford’s great-grandson until his death in 2013.To keep it safe, he placed it in an antique glass dish on the top shelf of a china cabinet in his Tecumseh house — which is still the location of its original storage.
He looked after it until the day he died, according to Ruttinger, who spoke with the Associated Press.″We were aware that it meant a great deal to him.″ Photo above this page: In Tecumseh, Michigan, a 141-year-old fruitcake, which was prepared by Fidelia Ford and photographed in 1878, currently sits in the house of family member Dorothy Ford, who was born in Tecumseh.Photograph courtesy of David Guralnick of The Detroit News The fruitcake that Morgan Ford’s family has been making for 93 years has been shown at church and family events, and he has passed on stories about its origins to younger cousins.
On ″The Tonight Show,″ in December 2003, he even demonstrated the cake by biting into it alongside the host and describing the flavor as ″thrashed wheat.″ Sue Durkee, another of his daughters, claimed that dad ″truly liked sharing the delight of the cake with everyone.″ ″It was something he was quite proud of.″
Related world records:
The world’s oldest tub of lard has been broken by a 64-year-old tub of lard (HD Video) The WORLD RECORD ACADEMY is the largest institution in the world dedicated to certifying world records.World Record Academy provides the broadest coverage (based on local attorneys and experts such as CPAs, surveyors, and others) and the world’s largest database of world records, according to the organization.The WORLD RECORD ACADEMY has the tightest requirements for approving world records, and it is governed by these regulations.When it comes to setting world records, the WORLD RECORD ACADEMY is the first and only institution that needs polygraph exams, anti-doping testing, as well as the presence of authorized legal representatives (a lawyer, certified accountant, or surveyor depending on the record’s particular).For further information, please see:
People love to hate on fruitcake and yet we still eat it — here’s why it remains a holiday staple
- Fruitcake is a Christmas tradition, despite the fact that it is frequently the brunt of jokes.
- In ancient Rome, barley, pomegranate seeds, almonds, and raisins were mixed together and kept together with honey to make fruitcake
- today, it is a popular dessert in the United States.
- During the 18th and 19th centuries, it became increasingly popular as a meal for special occasions.
- People despise it, yet it is a long-standing custom.
Fruitcake – Will it Last Forever?
I’ve always imagined that, in the case of a nuclear war, the Earth would be occupied only by cockroaches, those Styrofoam hamburger containers that fast-food restaurants used to use back in the 1980s, and fruitcakes, among other things.Because it is the season for family and friends to inflict fruitcakes on one another, I decided to investigate the riddle of whether fruitcakes can truly survive an indefinite period of time.In the end, it turns out that the answer is dependent on your definition of ″fruitcake.″ The majority of fruitcake recipes call for nuts, dried fruit, and ″candied″ fruit or peel, among other things (meaning the fruit has been both dried and preserved in sugar).According to the United States Department of Agriculture, fruitcake may be stored in the refrigerator for two to three months without rotting, and it can be frozen for up to a year without losing its flavor and texture.However, it is the responsibility of a federal agency to consider the worst-case situation.Is it possible for fruitcakes to last for longer periods of time?
- Ben Chapman, a food safety expert at North Carolina State University, explains that all of these dried and candied products have ″low water activity,″ which means that they have very little moisture accessible.
- ″Low water activity is significant because many microorganisms, such as bacteria that cause foodborne disease, require moisture in order to proliferate.
‘In practical terms, this means that most fruitcakes are highly shelf stable, which means that they would be safe to consume for a long period of time – a very long period of time,’ explains Chapman.″However, it’s possible that it’ll taste rather terrible.″ This is due to the fact that a variety of factors might have a considerable impact on the quality of the fruitcake.In the case of a fruitcake, mold might develop on the surface of the cake, and yeast could cause some of the sugars in the cake to ferment.Chapman explains that some individuals choose to wrap their fruitcakes in linen that has been pre-soaked in rum or other spirits to lessen the likelihood of mold or yeast problems forming.
″Rancidity, on the other hand, may still be a concern.″ Fruitcakes include a range of proteins, including eggs, butter, almonds, and even the fruit ingredients themselves.Furthermore, when proteins are exposed to air, they can get oxidized, resulting in the development of rancid tastes and aromas,″ adds Chapman.So, while you may be able to store that fruitcake indefinitely, it is usually best to consume it right away.
Note on safety: If a fruitcake has a substantial quantity of moisture (for example, if it was made using fresh fruit), it is more likely to rot or to provide microorganisms with sufficient moisture to proliferate.As a result, it should be refrigerated and consumed as soon as possible to avoid being ill from eating it.
The secret history of fruitcake
Photo by bongo vongo, licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 license Fruitcake! It appears every year around Christmas time. People give fruitcake as presents, they make jokes about it, and they occasionally indulge in it themselves. Fruitcake, on the other hand, is here to stay, whether you like it or not. What’s the backstory of this sturdily constructed seasonal dessert?
What’s in it?
Photo by jefferyw with a CC BY 2.0 license.It’s more than just a cake with some fruit baked into it.Fruit and nuts for fruitcake must be dried or steeped in sugar before being used.All of stuff is piled into a massive cake that weighs a lot.Fruitcake retains its freshness for a lengthy period of time due to the sugar content.Some recipes ask for the inclusion of alcohol in the cake or the storage of the cake in a cloth that has been soaked in alcohol.
- Because alcohol kills bacteria, which is the source of food spoilage, fruitcakes may be stored for an extended period of time.
- Some people may bake a fruitcake every year, with the intention of eating it the next year.
- There are also fruitcakes that are still edible even after being stored for 25 years in a refrigerator.
Furthermore, one family has been preserving a fruitcake for more than 130 years!Because it is a family relic, no one is interested in eating it — and it has solidified into something like to a rock!
Fruitcake is historical
But it’s not only the cake that has a lengthy shelf life; fruitcake has a rich history that dates back to ancient Roman times.Pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins were put into a cake prepared from barley mash in a recipe that was written down 2000 years ago.Fruitcakes flavored with honey, preserved fruit, and spices were popular throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.Fruitcake made with butter and sugar was briefly outlawed in Europe during the 18th century because it was deemed to be far too rich and delicious, according to the authorities.Beginning in the nineteenth century, fruitcake became a customary wedding cake in the United Kingdom.
Fruitcake around the world
Image courtesy of Whitney, licensed under CC BY 2.0.Fruitcake has a way of getting around!There are a plethora of variations available around the world.Fruitcake is known as stollen in Germany, and it is decorated with powdered sugar on top (as pictured above).Panforte, often known as pannetonne, is a traditional Italian dish.It is referred to as keks in Poland and Bulgaria.
- Fruitcakes in the Caribbean are cooked with a lot of rum – the fruit is allowed to marinate in the rum for months before baking — thus they are not a treat for children!
- The bolo rei is a traditional Portuguese cake in which each piece contains a fava bean, and whomever receives the piece containing the bean is expected to purchase the cake the following year!
- Banh bo mut is a fruitcake that is traditionally served during the Lunar New Year celebrations in Vietnam.
Get ready to toss that fruitcake!
Despite its long history and widespread popularity around the world, fruitcake isn’t everyone’s favorite holiday dessert.These cakes may be rather substantial in weight.Perhaps this is because to the fact that fruitcakes last for such a long period of time that they are frequently forgotten about or re-gifted, resulting in their being left on shelves.National Fruitcake Day is celebrated on December 27, but a little more than a week later, on January 7, it is Fruitcake Toss Day.Several towns in Colorado took the task of getting rid of its unwanted fruitcake extremely seriously before the epidemic erupted.Everyone in Manitou Springs competed in a fruitcake-throwing event every year to see who could throw their fruitcakes the furthest and with the most precision.
- Catapults and slingshots were constructed, or the cakes were simply launched by hand.
- Everyone participant was required to bring a donation to the local food bank in order to make up for all of the food that had been lost during the competition – anything but fruitcake!
The History of the Maligned and Misunderstood Fruitcake
According to the terms of a Creative Commons license, this article has been reprinted from The Conversation.See the source article for more information.Something about a fruitcake, or at the very least a joke about a fruitcake, shouts Christmas quite like nothing else.According to a jocular remark attributed to former ″Tonight Show″ host Johnny Carson, ″there is only one fruitcake in the entire globe, and people keep delivering it to each other.″ It has certainly lived up to its reputation as a long-lasting product.Since the late 1950s, two friends from Iowa have been exchanging the same fruitcake every Christmas.Even older is the fruitcake that explorer Robert Falcon Scott left behind in Antarctica in 1910, when he was lost in the ice.
- However, the award for the oldest known extant fruitcake goes to a cake that was prepared in 1878, during the administration of President Rutherford B.
- Hayes of the United States.
- People have eaten and survived on these old fruitcakes, which means they are still edible after all these years.
That is very remarkable.In addition to the sugar, low moisture components, and a few high-proof alcohol, fruitcakes are among the longest-lasting delicacies available anywhere on the planet.
The original energy bar
Fruitcake is a centuries-old treat, with the first iterations being a type of energy bar created by the Romans to keep their warriors going during combat.Barley, honey, wine, and dried fruit, frequently including pomegranate seeds, made up the base of the Roman fruitcake.What we now recognize as a modern-style fruitcake—a moist, leavened confection filled with fruits and nuts—was most likely first prepared in Europe during the early Middle Ages, according to historical records.As culinary expertise became more widely recognized around the world, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg began appearing with fruit in a variety of savory meals, particularly breads and pastries, but also major entrees.Most cuisines had some kind of fruited breads or cakes by the end of the century, which were precursors to the current fruitcake.Panettone is a traditional Italian Christmas cake that is enjoyed by many.
- Photograph courtesy of Fabio Balbi/Shutterstock.
- Fruitcakes are made in a different way in Europe than they are in the United States.
- European fruitcakes are more akin to the fruited bread of the Middle Ages than the equivalents manufactured in the United Kingdom and the United States today.
The stollen and the panettone are the two most prevalent types of fruitcake found in European countries.The variants from the United Kingdom and the United States are substantially more cake-like.The award for most extravagant excess must go to a British variation of the cake, which tops a rich fruitcake with a thick layer of marzipan frosting.
Sweetening the pot
With the arrival of European colonists in America, fruitcakes became increasingly popular, and the rising flood of emigration from Britain to New England coincided with an import of inexpensive sugar from the Caribbean.Sugar was essential in preserving fruit so that it could be used throughout the year.Candying fruit was one of the most popular techniques of preserving fruit in the past.Sugared fruit, also known as crystallized fruit, is fruit that has been sliced into small pieces and cooked in sugar syrup before being dusted with powdered sugar and left to dry.Fruitcakes became one of the most popular seasonal treats as a result of this technique, which allowed colonists to preserve fruit from the summer crop for use in their Christmas confections.
A dessert with staying power
Fruitcakes were particularly popular because of their legendary shelf life, which was immensely desirable in a period prior to the invention of mechanical refrigeration.Those who are knowledgeable about fruitcakes will tell you that the best fruit cakes are matured (or ″seasoned″ in fruitcake language) for at least three months before being sliced into slices.Seasoning not only enhances the flavor of the fruitcake, but it also makes it simpler to cut into squares while slicing.Seasoning a fruitcake is sprinkling your fruitcake with your choice distilled alcohol on a regular basis before wrapping it firmly and storing it in a cold, dark spot for up to two months at room temperature.Brandy is the traditional liquor of choice, but rum is increasingly widely used nowadays.Bourbon is favoured in the American South, where fruitcake is immensely popular, especially in the South.
- Over the course of its development, a well-seasoned fruitcake will be subjected to multiple spirit baths.
- The United States Postal Service should receive at least a portion of the credit for the fruitcake’s widespread appeal in the United States.
- As a result of the establishment of Rural Free Delivery in 1896, as well as the inclusion of the Parcel Post service in 1913, there was a boom of mail-order foods in the United States.
People all across the world who could afford them were suddenly able to obtain previously unavailable delicacies by simply sending a letter.The fact that fruitcake has a lengthy shelf life and a rich texture made it an obvious choice for a mail-order food company.Claxton’s of Claxton, Georgia, and Collin Street of Corsicana, Texas, two of the most well-known fruitcake firms in the United States, got their start during this period of booming mail-order food sales.By the early 1900s, mailrooms in the United States were overflowing with the now ubiquitous fruitcake tins.
Fruitcakes were widely regarded as an important element of the American holiday custom as recently as the 1950s.Fruitcake was referred to as a ″holiday necessity″ in a 1953 Los Angeles Times story, while the Christian Science Monitor posed the question, ″What Could Be a Better Gift Than Fruitcake?″ in 1958.However, a survey conducted by Mastercard in 1989 discovered that fruitcake was the least favored present received by 75 percent of those asked.
Putting away the haters and the disrespect, fruitcake is still a thriving American tradition, according to the website Serious Eats, which says that over 2 million fruitcakes are sold each year.Jeffrey Miller is an assistant professor of hotel management at Colorado State University.He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
The misunderstood fruitcake has a magnificent shelf life – and history
Fruitcake, or, at the very least, fruitcake jokes, are among the most traditional Christmas traditions.An amusing line from former ″Tonight Show″ host Johnny Carson claims that there is only one fruitcake in the entire globe, and people keep sending it to each other as a joke.It has certainly lived up to its reputation as a long-lasting product.Since the late 1950s, two friends from Iowa have been exchanging the same fruitcake every Christmas.Even older is the fruitcake that explorer Robert Falcon Scott left behind in Antarctica in 1910, when he was lost in the ice.However, the award for the oldest known extant fruitcake goes to a cake that was prepared in 1878, during the administration of President Rutherford B.
- Hayes of the United States.
- People have eaten and survived on these old fruitcakes, which means they are still edible after all these years.
- That is very remarkable.
In addition to the sugar, low moisture components, and a few high-proof alcohol, fruitcakes are among the longest-lasting delicacies available anywhere on the planet.
The original energy bar
Fruitcake is a centuries-old treat, with the first iterations being a type of energy bar created by the Romans to keep their warriors going during combat.Barley, honey, wine, and dried fruit, frequently including pomegranate seeds, made up the base of the Roman fruitcake.This moist, leavened confection filled with fruits and nuts, which we now recognize as a modern-style fruitcake, was most likely originally prepared in Europe during the early Middle Ages.As culinary expertise became more widely recognized around the world, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg began to appear with fruit in many savory dishes, particularly breads, but also in main meals and desserts.Most cuisines had some kind of fruited breads or cakes by the end of the century, which were precursors to the current fruitcake.Pope Francis takes a whiff of a Christmas panettone cake that was handed to him at the Vatican in 2018.
- Via Getty Images, photo courtesy of VINCENZO PINTO/AFP Fruitcakes are made in a different way in Europe than they are in the United States.
- European fruitcakes are more akin to the fruited bread of the Middle Ages than the equivalents manufactured in the United Kingdom and the United States today.
- The stollen and the panettone are the two most prevalent types of fruitcake found in European countries.
The variants from the United Kingdom and the United States are substantially more cakelike.The award for most extravagant excess must go to a British variation of the cake, which tops a rich fruitcake with a thick layer of marzipan frosting.
Sweetening the pot
- With the arrival of European colonists in America, fruitcakes became increasingly popular, and the rising flood of emigration from Britain to New England coincided with an import of inexpensive sugar from the Caribbean.
- Sugar was essential in preserving fruit so that it could be used throughout the year.
- Candying fruit was one of the most popular techniques of preserving fruit in the past.
- The term ″candied fruit″ refers to fruits that have been sliced into small pieces and cooked in sugar syrup before being tossed in powdered sugar and set aside to dry.
Fruitcakes became one of the most popular seasonal treats as a result of this technique, which allowed colonists to preserve fruit from the summer crop for use in their Christmas confections.
A dessert with staying power
- Fruitcakes were particularly popular because of their legendary shelf life, which was immensely desirable in a period prior to the invention of mechanical refrigeration