When we were younger, we all seemed to shy away from this colorful and strange 'dessert' that our weird relatives would bring over. As we got older though, we figured out how delicious this seasonal treat really was!
You may now understand why people love fruitcake, but what else do you know about it?
It Was Made Back In The Roman Times
The earliest records we have of something resembling the modern-day fruitcake are recipes of Roman satura. Made with nuts, barley, fruit, and honeyed wine, many historians believe this is where we get the name satire, because of the sweet and sour elements in both!
Fruitcake Lasts A Loooong Time
No, the dessert your aunt brought last Christmas wasn't made in Roman times, but it does stay very well preserved! How well? Apparently, it can last for over 25 years if stored correctly! But it's much too tasty to last that long.
Someone has claimed that they own a fruitcake that was once a gift to President George Washington. The esteemed general sent it back however, saying it was “unseemly for Presidents to accept gifts weighing more than 80 pounds, even though they were only eight inches in diameter.”
A Royal Dish
Fruitcake has been a staple to the royal diet for many generations of rulers. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria had it at almost every major event, and Kate Middleton and her beloved Prince William even had it at their wedding!
It is likely due to how expensive the ingredients were at one point in history. Fruit, nuts, and sugar were at one point really hard to get a hold of. But that may have also been what inspired its popularity...
Many sailors travelling between the Americas and the European mainland in the 1500's found that they were subject to a terrible sickness called scurvy. They would develop ulcers and other oral hygiene problems from not getting enough vitamins on their travels.
They found a way around this by preserving fruits in sugar, which was plentiful in the colonies. But they didn't want to just eat the sugary fruits all the time, they needed something to expound it in. Thus, baking it into cakes became the norm for them and their families both home and abroad.
This Is Heavy Stuff
If you've ever offered to help bring this treat from the kitchen to the table, you'll have an understanding of just how much food is contained within the one cake.
According to Harper's Index, the density of fruitcake is the same as hardwood mahogany! This year, try cutting a slice off yourself, it is really thick!
An Out-Of-This-World Recipe
It turns out this alien-looking dish has made it further into the stars than most of humanity! The Apollo 11, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, escorted a pineapple fruitcake out to the final frontier when they completed their famous spacewalk.
But they weren't all that peckish. They ended up bringing the cake back to Earth, where it was put on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It makes you wonder if they wanted to leave it out there...
The Great Fruitcake Toss
Speaking of flinging it out into the great unknown, there is a town in Colorado that has made an actual tradition of tossing their unwanted fruitcakes away in a humorous fashion.
When everyone started realizing that no one was eating their gifted fruitcakes, they decided a public stunt would make everyone feel a little better about it. Twenty years ago they began the "Great Fruitcake Toss," and people have been lining up to throw, sling, and chuck their holiday treats, even shooting them out of a cannon!
There's a competition between a few townships vying for the title of "Fruitcake Capital of the World," and they're both hard-pressed to gain the top spot.
Both Claxton, Georgia and Corsicana, Texas have been marketing themselves as leaders in the fruitcake industry. Amazingly, they each say that they produce over four million pounds of fruitcake a year!
That's a heavy sum, and I wonder if there's enough of a market to eat all that scrumptious pudding? If not, I volunteer!
Made With The Holy Spirit
We all know that there a reasonable (or should I say seasonable?) amount of alcohol that goes into the making of fruitcake, and it turns out, it really is the more the merrier!
The best reviewed cakes in the world turn out to be the most booze-soaked, too. Who are the bakers of these vice-filled concoctions? Monks.
Yep, the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky was rated best by food critics, and they like to add the spirits of man to their holiday offerings. Using burgundy wine, Kentucky bourbon, and sherry wine, they may keep to a life of sobriety, but they sure know what it takes to make a heavenly fruitcake!