Monday, December 19, 2022

The Fruit Cake Fell Off The Table and Almost Killed Him

Can we talk about fruit cake for a minute?  Every year, the traditional treat gets attacked and vilified by folks but yet it continues to exist.  I saw one survey that said 35.6% of Americans consider it essential. If you are unfamiliar, fruit cake is produced using raisins, cherries, and other fruit, flour, spices, and nuts.  The cake is dense and heavy due to all the ingredients but not overly sweet.

As a kid, I remember a two-by-two rectangle of Claxton fruit cake appearing at about the same time as a  box of Queen Anne cordial cherries in November.  My Dad felt both were necessary traditions to properly fuel proper holiday spirit. The cake was so dense a small half-inch slice was plenty for me.  As a kid I wanted to know how it could be cake with no chocolate. After a few tries, I began skipping it.

It wasn’t until college when I was given a tin of homemade fruit cake by a girlfriend that my appreciation of the sweet changed.  In addition to the normal ingredients, when the cake had cooled after coming out of the oven, she sprayed it with a goodly amount of rum – then let it soak in for a day.  This made every bite a treat of various fruit flavors all infused with a wonderful rum after-burn.  I treasured every slice of that fruit cake and refused to share it with my roommate. Thanks, Mathly.

Given his feelings toward the confection, I wasn’t surprised when my Dad began including a small fruit cake with other Christmas gifts he sent to me. I’d always pour a liberal amount of rum over it prior to digging in.  Since most commercial fruit cake is very heavy, my annual fruit cake consumption is at most three slices, but every bite was enjoyable.

With my Dad gone, I find myself buying a small box of cordial cherries every year.  Maybe it is time to start picking up a fruit cake too. By the way, a few years ago I went pirate and tried using Captain Morgan’s spiced rum.  Arrr, she be a serious Yuletide dessert now, mates!


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