Fruit Cake is a cake which is essentially made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Sometimes, based on individual preferences and tastes, the cake can be soaked in spirits. Garnishing is also optional but in the UK, various rich versions are iced and decorated. The cake tastes like a regular cake with the added flavor of fruits and/or spices. These cakes are one of the important Christmas preparations and are also commonly served at weddings.The traditional fruit cake is known by different names in different parts of the world like Stollen in Germany and Panforte in Italy.
Origin of Fruit Cake Recipe
Some of the earliest recipes for fruitcake are from ancient Rome and these list pomegranate seeds, raisins and pine nuts that were combined to form barley mash. During the Middle Ages, spices, honey and preserved fruits used to be added and the name was used for the first time. Soon, the preparation proliferated all over Europe and over the coming years, various recipes cropped up. In different countries, recipes varied greatly depending upon what ingredients are available. In some places, church regulations forbade the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast.
In the 15th century, the ban on milk and butter was lifted and starting in the 16th century, sugar from the American colonies created an excess of candied fruit. This made Fruit Cake more affordable and popular.
Today, the cake is prepared all over the world, in various ways and with many different recipes.
Ingredients as Per Fruit Cake Recipe
In addition to the standard cake ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, milk, salt and baking powder, a Fruit Cake has ingredients like candied fruits, dried fruits, spices and spirits. The fruits used depend on individual tastes and preferences. Apple, apricot, banana, blueberry, mango, almonds, coconut, caramel, raspberry, lemon, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, strawberry, cashews, raisins and plum are some of the most commonly used ingredients when making the cake.
Preparation of Fruitcake
Preparation method for a Fruit Cake is baking and the preparation time is about 60-90 minutes. It is made like the standard cake, the only exception being the addition of fruits, nuts and spices to the standard ingredients. The preparation time could vary based on the ingredients being used. Once the ingredients have been mixed, the cake is baked and it is ready to be served.
Fruit Cake Recipe: Serving and Eating
Based on how it is preferred, Fruit Cake can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled. As it is mainly a dessert, the cake is mostly served as the last course of a major lunch or dinner meal. It is also a popular tea and coffee accompaniment. Since the 19th century, when the cake was a popular dish at Victorian Teas, it has been a must-have at high teas. While mostly served as it is, the cake can be decorated, iced or garnished with nuts or fruits.
Fruitcake Nutrition Facts
As the dish is sweet, it is high in fat and calorie content which makes it an unsuitable consumption for people who are obese and/or suffer from health troubles like heart disease, hypertension and high cholesterol levels. In addition, people who are conscious eaters prefer to not eat Fruit Cakes as these are very rich and made with essentially fattening ingredients. The cake can, however, be made more suitable for the people who choose to or have to stay away from it by making a few changes to the ingredients being used. Fruits which are low in glucose and starch can be used instead of those which have high starch and carbohydrates contents. Also, toned milk can replace full cream milk which the purists believe gives better taste, and artificial sweetener and low fat butter can be used instead of sugar and regular butter.
Variations of the Fruit Cake Recipe
There are many variations and versions of the Fruit Cake, mainly based on the countries they are prepared in.
In the Bahamas, the cake is drenched with rum and the ingredients are rum-soaked as well. About 2 to 3 months before the cake is to be prepared, all the ingredients are enclosed in a jar filled with dry rum.
In Canada, the cake is known as a Christmas cake and prepared and consumed during Christmas time only. It is rarely seen in the country during the rest of the year. The Canadian version is very similar to the UK variant.
The traditional German Fruit Cake is the Stollen and it is usually eaten during the Christmas season. It is loaf-shaped and powdered with icing sugar on the outside. The Italian version is known as Panforte and it is a chewy, dense Tuscan Fruitcake dating back to 13th century Siena.
The Switzerland Fruitcake is called Birnenbrot and it is a light, fluffy cake with candied fruit and nuts.
The UK boasts the most varieties of the cake, from extremely light to rich and moist. In Yorkshire, the cake is often served with cheese.
The typical American Fruitcake is very rich in fruits and nuts. The US Fruit Cake also has various varieties and preparation methods.