Poor fruitcake. Long the butt of jokes about its density and impressive shelf life (some people make them a year ahead and “feed” the cake with liquor to preserve it and enhance its flavor), it’s possibly the most maligned of desserts. Originating in Roman times, fruitcake was outlawed in Europe in the early 18th century because it was considered too “sinfully rich.” Now, thanks in part to Johnny Carson’s claim that there is, in fact, only one fruit cake in all the world, being passed along from one grossed-out person to another, urban legends abound of some sweet old grandma/aunt/neighbor giving a fruit cake gift that’s then pitched out, re-gifted, or stored away and forgotten, holiday after holiday, too terrible to die.
But fruitcake can be delicious. Try these variations on traditional fruitcake from two accomplished Southern bakers, and you may find yourself eating it year-round — and even giving a gift that will shatter the recipients’ prejudices forever!