19 December 2012

Review: Heritage All Butter Fruitcake

Heritage Baking Company in Ontario, Canada sent me one of their fruitcakes to review. If I had purchased it, the cost would have been $26.95 (Canadian), but the shipping to the US would have been a whopping $23.00! So if you're considering purchasing this cake and you live in the States, you may want to reflect on my description and decide whether it's worth the investment. Kristi at Heritage Baking tells me that as they see their U.S. sales increasing, they plan to renegotiate their U.S. shipping rates for 2013.

The cake I received was wrapped in a beige box with a happy seasonal ribbon.The label on the box described the contents and the ingredients:

I realize that photo might be hard to read (what else is new), but the ingredients are fairly straightforward, and do include butter. Nuts are pecans; fruits, pineapple, cherries, and raisins; and the alcohol, brandy. don't be afraid by the lengthiness of the ingredients; they are in French and English, and list out the colorings, etc., that go into the candied fruit, as we've seen in other cakes.

Here's the tin:

A bit plain but nothing wrong with that. Here's the cake out of the box:

And finally, the cake, unwrapped:


The decoration on top (pecans, green pineapple, cherries) is simply that, an applied decoration. I mean, there's pineapple, cherries, and pecans throughout, but the pineapple is not green throughout (thank God), and the pecans are good size chunks but not whole. I think there's a bit of a glaze keeping it all on the top of the cake. The glaze, unlike others I've tried, is not thick, but does manage to do the job of keeping all the decoration on top.

The cake itself has a pound-cake like crumb. There's a pretty balanced proportion of fruit to cake, meaning that there's a lot of fruit and nuts, and big chunks of them as well, but you also can see and taste the cake in each slice. Although Heritage says that they macerate their fruit in brandy, there is NOT a strong brandy note in this cake. I hardly recognized any alcohol note, though there may very well be a bit of it in the raisins.

This is a dark cake that contains brown sugar, and you might already know how I feel about raisins in my cakes, but this is not a terribly "dark" tasting cake. The scent as well as the taste is redolent of butter and a general sweet, candied flavor from the fruit. The fruit itself tastes as it should - the cherries have a Maraschino-esque flavor, and you will definitely taste the pineapple due to the large chunks.

I'm going to put this at the top of the mass-produced fruitcakes list, due to the overall quality ingredients, better than those of Yahoo, which was previously at the top of the list. It's a good value for the money, too--if you live in Canada, where shipping is only $11. For those of us Stateside, you may want to find something within our border that will meet your fruitcake needs, but for those of you in Canada, you could consider this if you want a good fruitcake at a nice price.

At times I feel like I'm getting soft on mass-produced fruitcakes. But I shouldn't prejudge a cake simply because it goes into my "mass-produced" category, should I? I think that after all these years and having tried at least 31 different fruitcakes, I've simply found a few good mass-produced ones.

à chacun son goût.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This fruitcake is delicious. It is about 95% equal to the Hostesses Holiday Fruitcake in the decorative tin. It's moist without being sticky with exactly the same type of cherries as the Hostesses. The color is a little darker than but the flavor of the cake is just about spot on. The difference is in the size. Heritage seems to only make 2.5 lb cakes whereas Hostesses came in larger sizes such as 5 lbs and 8 and 10 lbs. Ok, so why does this matter? It comes down to the pineapple chunks. Hostesses used excellent quality pineapple chunks taken from the meat of the pineapple whereas Heritage uses smaller chunks taken closer to the core of the pineapple. It's cheaper but on a practical level they probably did it due to the smaller cake size they produce. With huge cherries and pineapple chunks it's probably not practical to produce such a small cake. Shipping cost is ridiculously high at $20+ to ship to the US. But if you're like me and miss the Hostesses Holiday Fruitcake in the decorative tin, then don't miss out on these cakes from Heritage. Oh, and I've tried all the top rated cakes on the Mondo site. Gethesami, Trappist, Collinsville, etc.. They are all good in their own ways but they are nothing like this cake from Heritage. I highly recommend this cake.