It seems no holiday food item gets more grief and ridicule than that old standby, the fruitcake. People joke about using them as a door stop, or that they make a popular holiday gift because even the post office hasn’t figured out a way to damage them in shipping.
Of course, some people actually like them. My Uncle Bower, for instance. He’s, like, 86. We send him one every Christmas.
The fruitcake is such an object of ridicule that it has become a term used for a person who’s mentally unbalanced or prone to eccentric behavior.
A Fruitcake You Can Blow Up
There’s even a website, inflatablefruitcake.com, that will sell youâ€”that’s rightâ€”an inflatable fruit cake. They’ll send it (deflated) in a festive holiday envelope for you for just $9.50, shipping included. This icon of old-fashioned baked goods â€˜makes a great centerpiece for the holiday dinner table,â€™ the website proclaims. While the site purports to be celebrating fruit cakes, I’m pretty sure it’s mocking them.
Rum cakes could be considered the Fruit Cake’s slightly better-off cousinâ€”classier, but still a member of the family. At the website RumCake.net, the site boasts that its cakes have been rated â€˜bestâ€™ by Smart Money magazine and there’s a photo of some of rum cakes with a caption: “As seen in Ã¢â‚¬ËœBon Appetit’ 11/95 and 4/96.” Okay, so what have you done for us in this decade?
The New Fruitcake?
Now panettones are being touted as the â€˜new fruitcakeâ€™ or â€˜Fruitcake Italian-Style.â€™ Italian company Balocco makes several varieties of these Christmas cakes, including the Classic Panettone Balocco. Balocco describes a panettone as â€˜made with soft, naturally leavened dough that is put through a long series of kneading and rest periods that results in a cake that is â€˜unmistakably light and fragrantâ€™ …and full of â€˜raisins and fragrant candied fruits.â€™ Sounds like a fruitcake to me.
I guess the fact that these panettones are imported from Italy makes them a cut above the more familiar fruitcake.
Fruitcakes, rum cakes, panettones…love ’em, hate ’em, however you slice them, looks like they’ll be part of the holiday scene for some time to come.
If you’re wanting to make your own fruitcake, the Recipe Goldmine has a huge collection of scrumptious fruitcake recipes. Check out the list here >>