Fruitcake - mistake or miracle?

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Joined Dec 18, 2010
I realize that fruitcake is a highly contentious issue and that opinions vary widely, often taking in a level of emotion of religious proportions. But this isn’t about that!

My blushing bride needed space in the refrigerator and targeted a piece of fruitcake that I made in 2018. She served it to me for breakfast (not normal breakfast food and definitely not the “breakfast of champions”)

It tasted great.... to me... better than it tasted earlier in 2020 or in 2019. But are my mortal days numbered? Am I now on my last leg? Or will I live to see another day?
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
It was a 10- or 12-cup recipe. Probably 12 since it fills a 10x4 tube pan. The fruit was macerated in 1/2 cup of bourbon. Makers Mark, I believe. The cake was aged with 1/2 cup of brandy. Brand unknown but probably a rather plebeian choice.
 
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5,452
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Mmmmm.... you’ll have to send it to me for further testing...

Seriously though, this stuff was designed for long term storage.

The only reason it has such a bad rep in N.America is that the mega-bakeries started replacing real fruit with candied rutabaga, candied melon peel, using red food dye #2, obscene green cherries, and margarine—no wonder it tasted gross.
 
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I don't know ... maybe I'm from the wrong cut ... maybe I went to the wrong school ... maybe I learned from the wrong people ... or maybe I'm just goofy. I ain't using Maker's Mark in a fruitcake. The way I learned when using booze was to use something that you would be drinking anyway. NOT junk or anything labeled "cooking", while at the same time NOT anything impressive off the the top shelf. Junk is junk and when cooking you lose any great qualities, and $$, that make it top shelf.

You'll be fine. I've had fruitcakes older than 2-years that didn't kill anybody ... unless you dropped it on them.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2017
I agree with foodpump's reasons for people disliking fruitcake, and add not letting it age long enough as another. In our families, the fruitcake would have been baked in Feb at the very latest in order to be barely old enough for Christmas. There were years it was made in the fall of the previous year if time could be found. They would be stored under a bed and pulled out every 3 months to be basted in more booze.

Some ladies used a set booze (with religious fervor) some used whatever was handy. One aunt used apple jack - it was delicious!

Hmm, now I think we need to make some for next year, the local liquor store has apple jack on sale right now...
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
I don't know ... maybe I'm from the wrong cut ... maybe I went to the wrong school ... maybe I learned from the wrong people ... or maybe I'm just goofy. I ain't using Maker's Mark in a fruitcake. The way I learned when using booze was to use something that you would be drinking anyway. NOT junk or anything labeled "cooking", while at the same time NOT anything impressive off the the top shelf. Junk is junk and when cooking you lose any great qualities, and $$, that make it top shelf.

You'll be fine. I've had fruitcakes older than 2-years that didn't kill anybody ... unless you dropped it on them.
So are you saying Maker's Mark is not good quality?
 
730
276
Joined Sep 17, 2018
I realize that fruitcake is a highly contentious issue and that opinions vary widely, often taking in a level of emotion of religious proportions. But this isn’t about that!

My blushing bride needed space in the refrigerator and targeted a piece of fruitcake that I made in 2018. She served it to me for breakfast (not normal breakfast food and definitely not the “breakfast of champions”)

It tasted great.... to me... better than it tasted earlier in 2020 or in 2019. But are my mortal days numbered? Am I now on my last leg? Or will I live to see another day?

I make a Stollen around Christmas season and it never lasts that long so no idea on the freshness/quality. Also how big was this thing to last you two years?
 
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
A well-made and well-aged fruitcake is memorable; I started making Jamaican Black Cake after a client requested it for a wedding (it was very young and not aged nearly long enough but it was wonderful) and in small slices it can last a long time! :) And yes, using a good booze makes all the difference - well, except in the Jamaican Black Cake, I use cherry brandy to soak the fruit - and the longer the soak the better ;)
 
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
There are a few ways to “ speed up” the soaking process...

The first is “massaging”: put your fruit,booze and fruit juice ( if using) in the mixing bowl, insert a paddle, put in 1st gear, and walk away for 10-15 mins. The fruit will suck up the booze fast.

The second is vac-packing: put your fruit and booze in a vac bag, and pack it on the highest setting. Fruit will suck up the booze in about a day.

You can also “ build flavour” quickly without aging as well.: Take your butter, spices, aromatics, and booze and mix just until incorporated. Portion off this in pouches. Fats( which includes butter) absorb odours very quickly. Extrapolate this by letting the butter absorb flavours. This can usually be done in under 72 hours, and is also a practical way of production,since you can base your recipie on the butter weight and bowl size you have.
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Also how big was this thing to last you two years?
It was pretty big... made in 10 inch tube pan and 4 inches thick.

In my family there were 4 of us who like the fruitcake. So I generally cut it in quarters and gift those who like it. Unfortunately two passed on. The piece in the back of the fridge was being saved for one of them but never got delivered.
 
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As brianshaw has suggested in an answer to Seoul Food's question ... YES ... I believe Jim Beam would be a good choice.

To those people that drink disgustingly expensive bourbon, NO, Maker's Mark is not top shelf but mid shelf. The general going ransom for a bottle by me starts at +/- $24 and goes north. I regularly buy Jim Beam at 'da Jewels for $12. I'll be happy to drink all the Maker's Mark that you are willing to pour. ... Too good for fruitcake.
 
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