23 December 2010

Thoughtful, Detailed, and Intelligent....

That's me. At least that's what the Wall Street Journal says. The Wall Street Journal, by the way, are completely my fruitcake homies. They often publish nice articles about fruitcake. This article is not really one of them--you have to wade through the usual fruitcake jokes, etc. to get to mention of me. But I gotta say, the Fred Schneider song about fruitcake, although annoying, is pretty cute in that B-52's sort of way.

Hey, by the way, just got the loveliest surprise ever -- mini-fruitcakes, a Dundee cake, and a stollen from the woman who makes the best home made fruitcakes ever, Veda.

Christmas will be great. To all a great fruitcake!

19 December 2010

Guest review: Bien Fait bourbon and brandy fruitcakes

With great pleasure I present a guest review from vkrn, a reader who first suggested the Bien Fait cakes.


I purchased both the Bourbon fruitcake with nuts and the Brandy Fruitcake with nuts online from Bien Fait, a small bakery in Greensboro, Vermont, which gives all its proceeds to Greensboro Wonder & Wisdom, a local nonprofit which works with children and seniors.  Bien Fait offers their bourbon fruitcake with or without nuts (walnuts and pecans), and their brandy fruitcake only with almonds, so fruitcake fanatics who don't have allergies to those nuts can breathe a sigh of relief.  In addition, to round out the ingredients, Bien Fait uses currants, figs, raisins, cranberries, golden raisins, brandy, prunes, dates, apricots, orange peel, and lemon, in the brandy fruitcake; the bourbon fruitcake contains raisins, golden raisins, figs, bourbon, prunes, currants, dates, apricots, walnuts, pecans, and orange peel.  They emphasize that their fruit contains no preservatives or artificial flavorings, a welcome relief from the commercial fruitcakes in the stores now (Costco, that means you).

Both the brandy and the bourbon fruitcakes come in unassuming brown thin cardboard boxes, about 3/4 the size of a red brick.  The box is adorned only with an oval Bien Fait sticker on top, and the fruitcake itself is wrapped in holiday-themed tissue paper.  Underneath the tissue paper are the cakes, first bundled in two layers of plastic, with cheesecloth still wrapped tight up against the cake itself.  The fruitcakes come with little external adornments, but their simple packaging completes the air of homemade goodness, which Bien Fait supplements with a little card sporting pictures of its bakers, hearty-looking New Englanders topped with hair netting.

The cakes themselves were crammed with nuts and fruit, with no need to wonder when you'd bite into another morsel.  I'd even hazard to guess that they were 90% fruit and nuts.  For this fruitcake lover, the generous portion of fruit and nuts made for great mouthfeel and chew, and there was enough orange peel to make me happy.  Both the bourbon and brandy options were dark cakes, which were moist, not pasty or dry.  With the fruit, the cakes ranged possibly a little overly sweet -- they would be great paired with tea or coffee.  Only the subtlest hint of alcohol lingered in the mouth after every swallow, to the point where I wouldn't be concerned about feeding the cake to youngsters.  Possibly a touch more alcohol would have balanced out the sweetness.

For fruitcake lovers, these cakes are definitely a must-try -- and this is coming from someone who has made it her mission systematically to order the best-quality fruitcake on the US market, and who eternally regrets missing out on fruitcake while in Scotland on business.

The cakes are priced at $15 each, very reasonable if you were local and picking up the cake at Bien Fait's Vermont store.  But they do tend on the small side if you consider the price plus shipping.  Keep in mind, though, that all proceeds support the nonprofit Greensboro Wonder & Wisdom.  Bien Fait fruitcake is therefore a small indulgence for your tastebuds, while your money goes to benefit children and seniors in this difficult economic climate.  It's a rare opportunity to buy online while also supporting local efforts to improve American communities.

Review: Bien Fait

The people at Bien Fait Specialty Cakes graciously sent me two of their cakes to review. Because I've had inquiries about cakes that don't contain nuts, I asked for their bourbon fruitcake without nuts. They also said that their Golden Jewel cake is fairly well known, so sent that one along. Both cakes are $15.00 for a one pound cake, and shipping to my location runs about $11.70 ($8.50 for one cake).

Although there are no tins for these cakes, the packing is pretty cute: a plain box but a cute label:

And then each cake is wrapped in pretty tissue paper. This was the fruitcake:

And this was the tissue used on the Golden Jewel cake (sorry, it's blurry but still cute):
Another thing I really appreciate: both cakes were packed with a plastic bag and tie. Mary of Puddin Hill does the same thing, and I really like it--they have already anticipated your need to pack up the cake for future eating, and are helping you make sure that your cake stays fresh.

Both cakes come swaddled in cheesecloth, as they are both soaked in liquor. Here are photos of each. And if you think my photos couldn't get worse, well, I took photos of the fruitcake with my new phone, so feast your eyes:

The bourbon, no nuts, and
 The Golden Jewel.

So on the fruitcakes themselves. I'll start with the traditional bourbon fruitcake. Here are the ingredients:

Yes, a lot of raisins, and also molasses, which often translates to a burnt, raisiny taste that I'm not particularly fond of, but that was not the case here. The fruit was all good quality, not dry or too sweet. There was a good cake-to-fruit ratio here, with the fruit well distributed throughout the cake. There was a bit of that quick-bread type quality due to the dried fruit and general lighter taste.  However, because of the light aura of bourbon wafting throughout the cake, this one still tastes more like a fruitcake and less like a date nut bread, for example.

Figs are a funny fruit--if you've ever eaten a Fig Newton you'll recognize the funny texture that the seeds give to anything they're in, and the same is the case here--so if you don't like figs, don't get this cake.

This cake resembles, in many ways, its Vermont neighbor, the Old Cavendish cake, except that unlike that cake, it contains booze. But they both use dried rather than candied fruit, and both have a fresh, quick-bread type flavor. This one leans more towards a traditional fruitcake taste, with the inclusion of the booze, and I like the no-nut option.

I may need to create a new category, eh? That "Other" category is getting long and heavily weighted with cakes that use dried rather than candied/preserved fruit. Maybe "Modern"? "Lighter-tasting?" "Dried fruit cakes" (though that doesn't sound tasty)?  Suggestions welcome--please comment.

And so, on to the Golden Jewel cake. Per Bien Fait, this cake has become quite popular, and they call it (deservedly) a "tropical twist" on a classic fruitcake. Here are the ingredients:

Yah mon! Definitely more tropical. When I first unwrapped it, it looked similar to the Robert Lambert white cake, albeit a lower budget one. And I would say if I had to draw a similarity, it would be to that cake, or even to the Swiss Colony Macadamia Nut cake. All three share a vaguely similar pound-cake like batter. I must warn you that if you don't like the texture of coconut, don't get this cake. The shredded coconut gives a rich but also slightly hairy texture to the cake.

And yes, this is absolutely tropical tasting. Between the pineapple and the coconut, as well as the rum, you get a bit of a piña colada or maybe even ambrosia-like flavor. The apricots really make their presence known as well, and I found the cranberries to add a refreshing tartness that I would have liked a bit more of.

So is it really a fruitcake? Well, there's fruit and booze in it, so yes, I guess so, but it's definitely non-traditional. Ah-HA! Maybe I have a new category name right there!

By the way, the profits from the sale of these cakes support Wonder and Wisdom, a non-profit in Greensboro that conducts social and cultural enrichment programming.

15 December 2010

Do you booze-up your store bought cake?

Do you "doctor up" your store-bought fruitcakes?

I've heard from several people who use their own ingenuity (and their own booze)to spike up a cake that they like but feel could use a little lagniappe. Right on, to those of you who do. I'm a bit too lazy to even do that, but I bet that would really punch up the flavor on your cake.

This came up recently with the College of the Ozarks cake. Its cake-to-fruit ratio is such that it could definitely handle a shot or two without damage. As my reader Al-in-chgo recently wrote me, "Perhaps this has occurred to you, but the Southern fruitcakes with their teetotaling tradition make excellent vehicles for a buck-up with booze. Some people recommend injecting the spirits via eyedropper; I just say pour some on and when it all soaks in, it's sterile enough to stay in the fridge another six months. "

Well-said, Al!

So, I ask you: do you dose your cake? Discuss!

Do you doctor up your store-bought fruitcakes? Add a comment!

12 December 2010

Next up: Bien Fait

Next fruitcake will be a couple from Bien Fait Specialty Cakes in Vermont. One of my readers purchased a couple of their cakes, and will be sharing her reviews as well.

Meanwhile, buy some fruitcake! I mean buy some good fruitcake!

03 December 2010

Review: College of the Ozarks

I bought the cute little one pound cake from the College of the Ozarks. A reader had mentioned this college and I find the whole premise of the college intriguing. Each student MUST have an on-campus job. One of those jobs is selling their food products, only one of which is fruitcake: they also sell summer sausage, apple butter and jams, and corn meal and other milled products. You can read more about their fruitcake-making history here.

This cake is fairly pricey: I paid $24 for the one pound cake, shipping included, and the other sizes (two and three pound, as well as mini fruitcakes) range in price from $30 to $36. That puts it on the higher end but still within range of most other fruitcakes.   I couldn't resist; I also bought the summer sausage and a jar of apple butter. The sausage is waiting to appear at an upcoming Christmas party, but the apple butter is delicious.

Here's what's printed on the box it came in:

Quite an interesting school seal, isn't it? The tin is quite attractive, with a drawing of the Williams Memorial Chapel, the centerpiece of their campus:

Here's the cake:

So cute! Definitely has that homey quality to it.

Onto the cake itself. Here are the ingredients:

I guess I'd prefer butter to margarine, and gee, guys, could you get into a bit more detail besides "candied fruit" and "nuts"? Considering how some of the ingredient lists I've seen contain enough parentheses and brackets to choke a lawyer, I would appreciate a bit more. From my un-scientific analysis, it looks like the nuts are walnuts and pecans, and the fruits are raisins (uh-oh), cherries, and citron. All are chopped to a nice size, not too large, and they are well integrated into the cake.

The cake is very nice, a golden pound cake type batter: not gooey, but still rich. There is a very nice ratio of cake to fruit--enough fruit where you know it's a fruitcake, but enough cake to be able to taste and appreciate its quality.

The taste is NOT raisin-y. I think that flavor that I dislike may come from a combination of molasses and raisins, but this cake did not suffer from that sort of caramelized yukkiness. On the contrary, this fruitcake had a nice, clean, cakey and fruity flavor. There is no booze add additional dimensions of flavor, so you taste pretty much fruit, and cake.

So now I come to my dilemma: what kind of fruitcake is this? Would it classify as Southern? It's not nuttily candy-like, but I've had other Southern cakes that are not out and out gooey candy-like confections. Monastery-type, of course, is right out; I'm sure both the monks and C of A would agree there. It could almost be an "other," because it doesn't claim to be a Southern fruitcake, and has that lighter taste that many of the cakes in that category have. Seeing as College of the Ozarks is right outside of Branson, which is very close to the Arkansas border, I'm going to proclaim this a Southern fruitcake and add it at number three on that list, and with a bit of rearranging, we'll have Claxton, C of A, then Collin Street and Southern Supreme.

A note here about ordering from C of A: they do not have online ordering, nor do they take credit card numbers over the phone. When I called, they said that I could place my order and they would bill me, but my 21st century mind could not fathom the idea of someone shipping me something with that amount of trust, so I sent in a check with my order blank and received my order promptly. And do pop for some summer sausage or corn meal--support the students, buy local(ish), and buy American!

25 November 2010

Review: Kirkland Traditional Fruitcake

I took advantage of a good friend's Costco membership and purchased the WHOPPING 3.5 pound Kirkland Traditional Fruitcake. The cake cost $12.99. See a problem there already? I do. The Lambert fruitcake, to jump to the other end of the spectrum, is $50 for 16 ounces. In a previous post, I had computed the average cost per pound of fruitcake to be about $18. That's per pound. This cake costs that much for 3.5 pounds. I don’t like where this is going.

The cake is packaged in plastic, very different than the usual tin or box. I think the goal here is eye appeal, if huge chunks of nuts and red and green things are appealing:

I must say, I found the walnut and pecan halves on top of the fruitcake appealing--nuts ain't cheap. But they were joined by those nasty cherries, and this topping was mounded on top of the cake. It literally took up half the height of the cake--the cake was somewhere buried below. It made it difficult to cut and eat.

As to the ingredients:

Pretty typical, nothing wonderful, and a few preservatives to boot. For you citron haters, there were none, only those cherries and pineapple.

On to the cake itself. This cake is gooey. Gooey, gooey, gooey. It has the unappealing color of clay or peanut butter. Many cakes do not contain a lot of batter; the cake is used merely to hold together the other ingredients--the fruit and nuts. This is that type of cake, but not in a good way. The cake part tasted uncooked and grainy. The fruits and nuts were about the same size as what's on top of the cake, which I found a bit too large. It was cloyingly sweet with no other flavor besides the fruit.

This cake, my friends, is the epitome of why people hate fruitcake. Haven't I said it enough? The mass-produced fruitcakes, the ones that are stacked in grocery stores this time of year, are, in general, made of low-quality ingredients and they flat out don't taste good. They are made to look like the idea of a fruitcake, without having the actual good taste of a fruitcake.

And yes, to all you haters, fruitcakes can taste good. If one of these mass-produced cakes has been your only experience of fruitcake, well then, I can understand the hatred and revulsion. I feel it too, towards this kind of cake.

So there it is:

3.25 pounds of fruitcake, on its way to the garbage. There is no reason to continue eating this one.

21 November 2010

Review: Kirkland Fruitcake


Just had to get that out there. Review coming soon, after I choke down another piece in order to give it one more chance to taste good. I'm not hopeful, though.

13 November 2010

Alabama Fruitcake

Just received correspondence from a reader who is selling fruitcakes baked from a family recipe that he is selling in small batches. I have my list of fruitcakes pretty defined for a couple of weeks at the least (really, how much fruitcake can one girl eat? I have 2 on the way), but I just checked out his website and it looks interesting. I can't speak at all for this fruitcake but thought I'd pass it along if anyone wants to check Alabama Fruitcake out.

07 November 2010

Anyone know of a fruitcake that uses whole wheat flour?

I was asked by a reader if I knew of any cakes that use whole wheat flour. This obviously would affect the texture, I would think, and doesn't sound terribly appetizing to me, but to his point, would make the cake healthier. If anyone has any ideas, please post in the comments!

04 November 2010

Cabela's fruitcake?

Seems a little weird that Cabela's, the outdoor store, has a fruitcake, but indeed they do. However, allow me to do a little detective work on this. Hmmm, Grandma's fruitcake. From a 1917 recipe? Since they're not specifying exactly whose Grandma they're talking about, I would say that this is the Grandma from which they are getting their fruitcakes. If you look at the photo on the Cabela's page and the one from my review, you'll see that they look very similar.

I guess there's nothing inherently wrong with Cabela's selling a mass-produced fruitcake--certainly I don't expect Cabela's to be busy baking fruitcakes during the holiday season. This is just a cautionary message to all:  it's probably best to buy your fruitcakes from a trustworthy source, not from the same place you'd buy ammunition.

30 October 2010

Next up: College of the Ozarks fruitcake

A reader had alerted me to this fruitcake last year and I had mentioned it then but didn't get to it. I think it's about time I got around to it. They actually have an interesting list of other products they sell, and I'm sorely tempted to try the summer sausage as well as some of the corn-meal. So I'll be ordering this one soon!

Just plotting out my next fruitcakes for the holiday season. I've already reviewed an "other" fruitcake, and since College of the Ozarks is in Missouri, that will qualify (sort of) as a "southern" fruitcake--though of course I'll determine that when I taste it. I shudder to think of which mass-produced I'll be reviewing, but have been considering the Costco fruitcake, recommended by some readers.

Finally, I may just be beginning to run out of monastery fruitcakes, but there's one I haven't done yet: the Genesee abbey in New York. Their fruitcake looks fine, and is available from their site as well as the Monastery Greetings site.

So all that should keep me busy!

New updated fruitcake at New Camaldoli Hermitage

Mark from New Camaldoli Hermitage wrote me the other day with an update on their fruitcake. Evidently, they have a new and improved recipe. Per Mark, "We have eliminated all margarine and use only butter--there are now no trans fats. We are still using raisins and walnuts though! Also, we have new packaging that is made of 100% recycled material."

I had reviewed both their fruitcake and their date nut bread previously. I'm not sure if I'd be able to taste a difference with the new recipe, but I certainly appreciate a trans fat free dessert! Click on the title of this post to jump over to their fruitcake selections. Figures that a hermitage in California would be so health- and eco-conscious, n'est-ce pas?

25 October 2010

Review: Mileeven Irish Fruitcakes

Whoopee--my first "foreign" cake! (Not counting Jane Parker, which I think is made in Canada but that's on the same continent). OK, my first non-continental fruitcake.

Bruce at Bewley Irish Imports sent me three Irish fruitcakes to review. Bewley Irish Imports is a wholesaler, however these cakes will be available at Wegmans supermarkets and some local Irish stores on the East coast. You can contact Bewley Irish Imports to find out the specifics.

These three cakes were all 14 oz. each and should retail in the $13 - $14 range (full disclosure: I received them free).

As you can see on the right, the cakes are attractively boxed. They come in three variations: one without any booze at all; one with whiskey; and one, interestingly, made with Irish stout beer. Very interesting! I was excited to try them.

I will tell you one thing about all three of these cakes: they all look pretty much exactly the same. You can see a bit of a glimpse through the window of the boxes at right, but basically they all look like the photo below--not gorgeously beautiful or decorative, more like a quick bread, which is really what they resembled (plus my horrible camera skills make everything look like mush).

The fruits in this cake are sultanas (white raisins), and orange and lemon peel. Ingredients also include molasses. There were no preservatives or things to make you go "yikes!" in the ingredients--very nice.

The cake itself smelled like gingerbread to me. In texture I'd say it very much resembles a quick bread. The cake was drier than most soaked fruitcakes but I'm not saying it was dry--it had a nice crumb and texture and the fruit was well distributed throughout the cake. Now, if you've been reading this site, you know how I feel about raisins in general--I'm not a big fan of them in my cake. The sultanas were a bit less raisiny than the good old dark ones, but they were still raisins. While trying these, I was always happy to bite into a piece of lemon or orange peel--it gave the cake a bit of variety.

Another thing that disappointed me was that I really didn't notice any big difference between the three cakes. I tried the one without alcohol first, then the cake made with whiskey, concluding with the stout-laden cake. They all looked the same, and they pretty much all tasted the same. The two cakes containing alcohol seemed to have a bit more dimension of flavor to them--a more complex aftertaste, perhaps, or, in the case of the one with stout, a bit deeper flavor right off the bat. But in general, they lacked the overwhelming booziness of a cake that's been dipped or sprinkled with booze. I'm guessing that the alcohol is included in the batter, and as we know, most alcohol is burned off during the baking process. Still, if I were buying one of these, I would go for either of the cakes made with alcohol, and most probably the one made with stout, as I did notice a tiny bit more richness in the flavor.

The boxes shown on the Bewley Irish Imports site for this cake show a cup of tea along with a photo of the cake. I heartily agree--I would classify this cake not in the heavier, boozy, gooey fruit-laden category, but more in the quick bread or teacake category--more like a date nut bread than what we think of when we think "fruitcake". This cake would be delicious with a cup of tea-it certainly was a nice slice with my morning coffee. I'm going to put it into my "Other" category, and suggest it as one of those "gateway" or "beginner" fruitcakes.

14 October 2010

Recipe: Veda's Dundee Cake

As with the previous recipe, this can also be halved. This was my preferred of the two cakes. This cake had a dense, pound-cake like texture. Bits of currants and orange and lemon peel were spread throughout the cake, giving it a lovely, light citrus taste. But don't forget the booze--it was there as well, so the overall taste was delicious, light as fruitcake goes but undeniably fruitcake-y.

I'm not super keen on the round cake pan that Veda calls for--although the cake made is beautiful (see photo), I find that having a hole in the center is very helpful when you're cutting a heavy cake. So you may want to use an alternate cake pan. A tube pan will work but of course, adjust your baking time. 

Veda's Dundee Cake
2 pounds yellow raisins
3/4 pound currants
1 pound each candied orange and lemon peel, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup whiskey, plus additional for sprinkling over finished cakes
Macerate fruit in the whiskey overnight in a large covered container.

1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter (3 cups), softened
1 1/2 pounds white sugar (3 1/3 cups)
10 extra large eggs
Grated zest of 2 oranges
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 3/4 pounds unsifted all-purpose flour (5 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon each baking powder and salt
2 teaspoons each grated nutmeg and powdered allspice
1/4 pound ground almonds (1 cup)

1/2 pound blanched almonds for decorating
1/4 cup corn syrup

Preheat oven to 300° F and place rack in the middle of oven. Place a pan of water on the floor of the oven.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Add zests and almond extract.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and add to creamed mixture until blended. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Add almonds.
Fold in fruit mixture until evenly distributed (you may need a larger bowl).
Line four 3 x 7" round pans with double thickness of parchment. Paper should extend an inch above the rim of the pan. Fill pans 2/3 full and level off with the back of the spoon.
Bake for one hour 45 minutes until almost done. Remove from oven one at a time.
Brush cake tops with corn syrup and arrange almonds quickly in concentric circles on top of the cakes. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes to lightly brown nuts. Check with a toothpick to make sure cakes are done. Cool in pans.
Sprinkle each cake with additional 2 tablespoons whiskey.
Wrap in parchment, then foil, and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.

Yield: four cakes.

10 October 2010

Recipe: Veda's Dark Fruitcake

See review here. Veda uses muscovado sugar in the cake but tells me that regular US brown sugar will work fine as well. You can certainly halve the recipe if you don't want quite so much. 

And an extra note: this blog is devoted to reviewing commercially-sold fruitcakes. I've decided that I will review one homemade fruitcake a year, and so I'm done for 2010. Trust me, though, these are fabulous!!

Veda's Dark Fruitcake

1 3/4 pounds pitted dates, quartered
1 3/4 pounds pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 pound each golden and dark raisins
1 pound each candied orange and lemon peels, coarsely chopped
1 pound currants
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup orange juice

Mix all of the above in a covered container and let stand overnight or a few days. Shake occasionally to mix.


1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 pounds (3 1/3 cups) muscovado dark brown sugar OR packed standard dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
8 extra large eggs at room temperature
Grated zests of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 1/4 pounds (4 1/4 cups) unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon each salt and baking powder
1 tablespooon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons each ground nutmeg and cloves


1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 pound nuts and 1/2 pound candied cherries

Line five 8"tube pans with parchment, grease with melted butter. Or use 6 8" loaf pans.
Preheat oven to 300° F. Put a pan of water on the floor of the oven to prevent overbrowning.
Cream the butter and sugar together for five minutes until fluffy. Add eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Add zests.
Mix all the dry ingredients together and add, mixing on low speed until blended. In a very large bowl, fold fruit mixture into batter with two spatulas.
Fill lined pans 3/4 full, level off with the back of a spoon to prevent air pockets. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes until almost done. Take cakes out of the oven, brush tops with corn syrup, arrange nuts and cherries on top of each cake, and return to oven for 15 minutes more or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

Cool completely in pans. Remove paper.

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of brandy per cake, wrap in parchment and then foil. Age a couple of weeks before serving. Additional brandy may be added every two weeks.

Yield: approximately 14 pounds

Cakes will keep up to six months refrigerated.

30 September 2010

Veda's Dark Fruitcake

I am MORTIFIED to learn that for some reason, I have no individual photos of these beautiful, beautiful homemade fruitcakes I was sent. Veda's cakes were both absolutely gorgeous, as you can see from the one--and only one--photo I have of the two cakes, flanking a home-made pie at my family's Christmas dinner. The dark fruitcake, towards the front, is surrounded by leftover slices of other fruitcakes I had reviewed during the year. That's the family tradition every since I created this blog - to feast on the leftovers from a season's review of fruitcakes (I freeze slices of any of the fruitcakes I deem worthy of being retained).
So as you look at the photo of my sister's beautifully festive table, the Dundee cake is towards the back, garnished with toasted almonds, while Veda's dark fruitcake is towards the front, garnished with fruit. I'll just talk about the dark fruitcake in this post, and provide the recipe as well in another post.

Veda's dark fruitcake contains pecans and walnuts as the nuts, and dates, golden and dark raisins, currants, glaceed cherries and candied lemon and orange peels for the fruit. If you've read my blog at all, you know how I'm not super keen on raisins in my fruitcake, as I think it gives it a syrupy burnt flavor, and the same was true with this cake. But that is simply an individual preference, and let me tell you, beyond that, I still ate the whole cake up. The glaceed cherries were of very high quality, and Veda even sometimes candies her own oranges and lemon peels, so all the ingredients were quite delicious. It has a delicious boozy flavor, from both brandy and rum. Yum. As recipes go, I'd say it's a keeper.

Been a while, eh?

So it's been a darn long time since I last posted, n'est-ce pas? I apologize. I have to admit that after the last fruitcake season, I was just flat out burned out. There's only so much fruitcake you can eat, and keep in mind I've been doing this nigh on five years. And those five years have taken their toll on my waistline.

So I've gotten the waistline, at least, under control, and I think I can see my way through integrating the errant slice of fruitcake into my diet. So it's time to slowly re-introduce it and see how it goes . . .

Meanwhile, I have done a huge disservice to Veda, who sent me gorgeous fruitcakes and the recipes, and I haven't posted. But maybe this is, on the contrary, a positive thing. Frankly, who wants to think about fruitcake in March? But now the trees are turning, the pumpkins are coming out, and people are beginning to think of dark spices and lots o' carbohydrates.

It's Fruitcake Season.

06 March 2010

Gorgeous home-made fruitcakes

Hello, I'm back! It seems like the previous fruitcake season (which for me, remember, begins around May and continues through January or February) took a heavy toll--I was happy to be without them for a few months.

Before the Christmas holidays, I was contacted by Veda, who lives in New York City. This woman has got it going on when it comes to fruitcake. I tell you people, home-made cakes are the best. I don't often accept home-made cakes to review, but Veda sent me her two specialty items: a dark and a light fruitcake (the latter she calls a Dundee cake).

These cakes were both beautiful and delicious. Veda works very hard on making beautiful, quality cakes, and annually sends 300 pounds of fruitcakes around the world to family and friends. She spares no expense on the quality of the ingredients and actually has a room dedicated in her house for storage of these lovely things before shipping them off.

Veda was nice enough to provide me samples of and recipes for both of her cakes. Recipes, reviews, and photos to follow soon!!