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The Fruitcake Topic

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#391 andiesenji

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 06:32 PM

Every British holiday except Parkin contains dried fruit,  my Scottish mother in law say it sometimes is like  everything can and will be celebrated with some form of  fruitcake.

My great grandmother and one of my great aunts used to argue about the relative merits of Barm Brack (great grandmother) and Bara Brith (Aunt Maude, who had lived for a time in Wales) and how they differed - one "regular" flour, one "wholemeal" flour. (after 65 years I don't recall which was which).

And sometimes we did get these treats as long as the cook was willing or one of the girls she was "training up" could bake one or more.

 

My grandpa always insisted that the cook was "not to be annoyed" by special requests when she had enough to do with the usual things.  As there were around 12 to 15 adults and 9 children living in the house, plus the folks in the smaller houses who usually shared meals, the cook did have a monumental job, even with the women who also worked in the kitchen.  Sometimes one of my aunts would help and my grandmother did some when there were a lot of visitors during the holidays.  And of course me, being the only girl in the herd of children, got to "help" in the kitchen from time to time - if being underfoot was at all helpful...


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#392 lesliec

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 10:01 PM

Andie, I suspect there are as many recipes for barmbrack and bara brith (and Yorkshire brack, and probably other, similar beasts) as there are great-grandmothers and great aunts.

 

I've had a barmbrack which is probably a closer relative to a bread than a cake - very good, though - while this recipe is closer to one I've made for Yorkshire brack.  The soak overnight in strong tea (you could use ginger beer/ale) results in a very heavy cake which feels undercooked even when it isn't - this is a good characteristic, in my view; I'm a fan of un(der)-cooked fruit cake.

 

The tradition of fruitcakes for weddings survives in the Antipodes.  A traditional wedding cake is made in two or three layers and the bride and groom keep the top layer to have on their anniversary a year later.  Didn't work for us, though - ours went mouldy, which was a great shame since the cake was a brilliant one on the day of the wedding.  Not boozy enough, perhaps.


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#393 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 10:26 PM

I believe fruitcake for weddings is an ancient Roman custom, if I recall correctly.  The groom would eat some fruitcake and break the remainder over the bride's head.  Romans were in Britain for a long, long time.

 

It's not likely I'll get married again, but if I do, fruitcake is a consideration...but please, no dried figs.


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#394 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 08:49 AM

When I was little, in the Pac NW, the wedding cakes were always fruitcakes -- which was why you could put a piece under your pillow after the wedding to dream about your own future bridegroom, wouldn't work too well with a fluffy frosted cake.  I don't know exactly when wedding cakes changed from fruitcakes to baking powder cakes.  

 

 

Now that I think about, it was the GROOM'S cake that was the fruitcake.  And no one ate it, we took a small piece home -- wrapped in foil and then in white net tied with ribbon -- to put under our pillows.  The man we dreamed of while the cake was under the pillow would be our future husband. 


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#395 IowaDee

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 09:15 AM

Wasn't Kate and Prince William's wedding cake at least part fruitcake?  A layer or something or else there were some separate small fruitcakes.  I think that's probably what made it possible for some to be auctioned several years later.



#396 rotuts

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 09:19 AM

for what its worth :

 

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Groom's_cake



#397 David Ross

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 03:16 PM

I think the historical family ties to fruitcake is fascinating. My Grandmother, Mildred Ross, was a very good baker and candy maker. Her family, the Slayton's, trekked from Missouri over the Oregon Trail ca. 1865 to stake a land claim in Prineville, Oregon. I remember my Father telling me how his Mother would send him fruitcake while he was fighting in Europe during the War.

 

Great Aunt Bertie May Pink is the woman I look to for inspiration when it comes to fruitcake. Bertie was my Grandfather Ralph Pink's Sister. We're not sure, but we think their last name "Pink" was actually an abbreviation of a longer Russian name. We know they left Russia in the 1880's to escape the persecution of Jews by the Russian government at the time. The Pink's eventually landed in sheep country in Southern Idaho, building a wool and pelt trading company in Twin Falls, Idaho. I've made many a fruitcake over the years, but I just can't come close to the cakes that Aunt Bertie made. And I suspect she kept that bottle of left over brandy for a little nip here and there.


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#398 andiesenji

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 04:14 PM

I think the historical family ties to fruitcake is fascinating. My Grandmother, Mildred Ross, was a very good baker and candy maker. Her family, the Slayton's, trekked from Missouri over the Oregon Trail ca. 1865 to stake a land claim in Prineville, Oregon. I remember my Father telling me how his Mother would send him fruitcake while he was fighting in Europe during the War.

 

Great Aunt Bertie May Pink is the woman I look to for inspiration when it comes to fruitcake. Bertie was my Grandfather Ralph Pink's Sister. We're not sure, but we think their last name "Pink" was actually an abbreviation of a longer Russian name. We know they left Russia in the 1880's to escape the persecution of Jews by the Russian government at the time. The Pink's eventually landed in sheep country in Southern Idaho, building a wool and pelt trading company in Twin Falls, Idaho. I've made many a fruitcake over the years, but I just can't come close to the cakes that Aunt Bertie made. And I suspect she kept that bottle of left over brandy for a little nip here and there.

I don't think there really is such a thing as "left over brandy" - - -  :rolleyes:


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#399 Katie Meadow

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 06:33 PM

I don't hate fruitcake, but I come from a long line of non-bakers and don't remember EVER eating fruitcake or being gifted with one. About thirty or forty years ago I baked my first and only fruit cake from a recipe in an old tattered book of uncertain provenance called Party Foods Book; I no longer have the book, just the page with the cake recipe. It calls for "butter or margarine" and "sour milk or buttermilk," so I'm thinking it comes from that transitional time when processed foods started appearing.

The cake was called Old Kentucky Black Fruit Cake and contained no neon fruit at all, just real dried fruits and candied orange peel. The recipe says the cake keeps indefinitely and suggests periodic soaking with wine, but I don't see why Kentucky bourbon wouldn't be nice. Whatever dried fruits (black and white figs are the main ones suggested) the baker had available and whatever nuts were also at hand seem to be the way to go. It does not specify any soaking of the fruit before using. Actually it was very good; dense and healthy. I never made it again but I have no idea why.
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#400 savvysearch

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 09:16 PM

I'm making a fruitcake that I've soaked twice in the past 3 weeks. I plan to soak it one last time next week. When should I eat it after the last soaking? Would a few days or a week suffice? 







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