Fruitcake dates back to the Roman times and in the 1400′s the British began their love affair with fruitcake when dried fruits from the Mediterranean first arrived. This cake was generally served at weddings – the dark cake was given out as the groom’s cake and the white fruitcake was the bride’s. It was the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake (dark fruitcake) under their pillow at night to allow them to dream of the person they wanted to marry. My siblings and I had fruitcake served at our weddings…I wonder if anyone took the carefully wrapped slice and placed it under their pillow when they got home?
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Fruitcake has been a Christmas tradition in my family for generations. My mom and grandmother would make this cake 6 to 8 weeks prior to serving. When it was nearer to Christmas, mom would frost the cake (royal icing) and then decorate it with holly and berries…a food memory I shall always cherish. I started making this cake back in 1985 and for me it was a right of passage each Christmas. When we moved from Toronto to Hong Kong in 1999, I made one there. I was able to get all the ingredients, however, a sub-tropical climate really isn’t conducive for making this sort of cake and while it tasted good it had to be refrigerated as the room temperature in our flat was warm and no cold cellar or basement to keep it cool (not cold). This is the first time in over 12 years I have made this much loved recipe and I feel like I am home.
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