31 October 2011

Do it yourself boozing?

Don from Virginia wrote me to ask about a fruitcake he remembers:
Also, years ago I got a fruitcake from some monastery or abbey that required me to drizzle bourbon or maybe brandy over the cheesecloth and then reseal on a periodic basis until the holidays.  Strong but very good, not to be served to minors.  Any idea about who that may have been, and is there still such a cake?

Anybody know which one this may have been? Of course I could see any number of fruitcakes benefiting from a good dosing.... And thanks Don for writing!

15 October 2011

Review: Abbey of the Genesee Rum fruitcake

I purchased the two pound rum fruitcake from the Abbey of the Genesee. They also have a one pound cake (suitable for giving) as well as a larger round cake in a decorative tin. Didn't order it but based on the photo here it looks like a standard tin that I know I've seen with another fruitcake. The two-pound cake was $19.95 with shipping which ended up being $26.75 to the middle of the country.
The cake came in a pretty commercial-looking package:

Here's a close up of the ingredients, too:

Not great (do I mean the photo, or the ingredients? A little of both). Besides the standard ingredients, there were hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils, corn syrup, artificial flavors, agar, maltodextrin, locust bean gum, and some preservatives.

Here's the cake, denuded of its packaging:

There is a glaze on top, probably the apricot concentrate, which was neither distracting nor gooey, and gave it a nice finish.

As you may have seen from the ingredients, the nuts in this cake are just marked as "nuts." I think we've seen this before--I'm guessing this is a way to hedge which nuts you choose to include, based on world nut stock prices, etc. Helpful Brother Paul at monksbread.com confirmed with me that they are almonds and walnuts. I have to say I like an almond in a fruitcake. The Claxton fruitcakes contain them. Their sweetness is a nice counterpoint to the darker richness of the walnut, and they give a nice texture to the cake.

The fruits were your standard fruitcake mix (cherries, pineapple, fruit peel), with the addition of my personal favorite, the date. The booze was, as noted by the name, rum. There was a good amount - you tasted it throughout.

Although the guar gums and preservatives worried me, the flavor was actually very good. There was a good amount of cake to fruit, so you could really taste the cake. The cake itself did not seem gooey or uncooked, but rather had a nice quick bread density: rich and moist.

Yup, I've been eating it happily lo these many weeks since I originally posted about having purchased it. It's a good one!

So now onto the next. What shall it be? I'd love your suggestions in the comments!

A few more slight changes to the site

Thanks for the feedback on the menu pages. I also miss all of the fruitcakes just dwelling there on the right-hand side of the page, but I don't miss the clutter, so I've posted the top-rated fruitcakes in the four categories (Monastery, Southern, Other, and Mass-Produced) over on the right. Also added a gadget for the most looked-at posts. Hope that helps!

By the way, Abbey of the Genesee fruitcake will be posted soon, what shall I do next? Please post in the comments! I would love to do this one, but unfortunately as of this posting it's not yet available. Silly Neiman Marcus - don't they know that fruitcake season is year-'round? At least for some of us...