Weird Food of the Month: Fruitcake

Love it or hate it, fruitcake has been around for thousands of years

By Erika Veduccio December 17, 2019

Fruitcake. No, I’m not talking about your mother-in-law or the neighbor that always plays music really loud. I’m talking about that loaf of bread that has candied fruit, and in most cases, has been drenched in spirits, which helps preserve it.

Fruitcake has been around since the Roman Ages and its original recipe varied among different cultures. But it typically included pomegranate seeds, pinenuts, and raisins all mixed into a typical barley mashed bread.

All over Europe, this recipe started to become popular, but varied by what was available in the countries of origin.

Adding nuts to the already traditional fruitcake sparked the term “nutty as a fruitcake" in the United States in 1935.

Americans also discovered that adding high concentrations of sugar to create candied fruits made the fruitcake even more affordable and popular. 

Every country has its own unique recipe for the wildly odd fruitcake. Here are four:


The Italian tradition is to make a Panettone, an airy bread that you pull apart and is sweetened with light chocolate swirl or raisins.


Typically Germans use a soft cake topped with whipped cream and glazed berries.


The cake is commonly served in a bundt pan shape and is referred to as a keks. Ingredients vary, but normally contain milk, yogurt, walnuts, and raisins. 


Named the Bollo de higo. Spaniards use figs and walnuts in a big airy bread.

No matter what country, the fruitcake always consists of bread, fruit, and, more often that not, spirits. So whether you’re referring to your neighbor or the cake you had in Italy as a college student, I’m sure you have a story about a fruitcake. Stories make memories and memories make tradition. Cheers to memory making this holiday season!


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