Fear of Fruitcake

It’s that time of year again. Time for holly, ho-ho-ho and happy times with family and friends. Christmas is also the time for that thoroughly maligned little dessert. The most unwanted, uncared for and misunderstood baked orphan. The ever feared fruitcake.

Johnny Carson once said “The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other." This is funny on many levels. One is that many people feel that fruitcake will never go bad, and so it could be passed around for an eternity. The second is that most people would never think of actually trying the bar of confection if anyone did send it to them, so no one would know if it had gone bad. Some else once said "There is nothing dangerous about fruitcakes as long as people send them along without eating them."

I sometimes feel that I’m the last person on earth who actually likes this heavy little Christmas treat. I know a lot of people who claim to be fruitcake haters but haven’t ever tried one. There is something trendy and appealing about saying you dislike it. Sort of a way to fit in with everyone. Yeah, I wear designer jeans and hate fruitcake, I'm cool. In it’s own way fruitcake has a thick wall of prejudice built up by naysayers. This isn’t surprising as it tends to be the ugly duckling of Christmas. It weighs a ton, looks like a hodge podge of leftover refrigerator items and is about as dense as crazy Uncle Fred. What is a cake to do against all this injustice?

Luckily it’s tough enough to take it. Despite the fact that its name is now synonymous with insane, and people fear that loaf like package under the tree, it may surprise you to hear that fruitcake sales continue to rise every year. I’m not sure if these are maybe closet fruit-cakers, protesting disgust and then running home to their dirty secret. Possibly people are buying them for gag gifts, or even more likely, maybe they are being used as pothole fillers in the federal highway system. Who can guess?

My folks would make fruitcake every year when I was growing up. Starting near the end of November the house would be filled with the smells of candied fruit and rum. It was a long process that literally took weeks to get the fruit to the point of being ready to add to the batter. I have great memories of think slices of fruitcake, toasted in the oven with a pat of melted butter on top. There were no upturned noses for the fruitcake in my family. I was blown away when I reached adulthood and found the animosity this cake endured.

Of course there is nothing saying you have to like fruitcake. I’m just saying, why not give it one more try? In the end if you still don’t like it here’s a nice way to get rid of it.


J Crew said...

My Grandma just gave me some. I know that Billy likes it as well. I could save you some. I definitely think our town should do a fruitcake toss. That would be awesome

kludge said...

Thank you, if I get the craving I know where to get some.

Isn't the fruitcake toss cool! You can even buy them there to toss is you didn't bring your own. I'm looking for a link with more pictures...

Ando said...

I'll admit I've never actually tried a fruitcake and I have no intention of doing so. It just looks wrong. I will happily remain an ignorant fruitcake bigot.

kludge said...


Way to stand by your principles! I admire that obstinately Neanderthal way of life. I feel we are similar in the way we make those absurd and unwavering resolutions.

Jason said...

When I was a litle boy, I wanted a fruitcake.

All I got was a pony.

kludge said...



Who wants a pony anyway!? You can't slice it, toast it and serve it with butter. Additionally you never have to cleanup after fruitcake!

robin said...

I'm sorry I am one of those people who honestly (I have tried it many times)don't like fruitcake. However I have discovered that it is because I don't like candied fruit in anything!!! But fruitcake looks appealing to me, so I made my own with fruit that I sugared and dried myself, it did not have the funny taste of commercial candied fruit and I loved it. Robin