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Online Fruitcakes


prasantrin
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I'm trying to narrow down (to one, maybe two) places from which to order fruitcake. Jokes aside, my mother loves fruitcake, and I've been procrastinating so she's not getting any homemade ones from me this year. Going through eGullet, I've found the following:

Andro's Sweets and Treats--but it seems I can't go through an online ordering system, and I would have to call them to order (I'm in Japan, it's a PITA)

Caribbean Cake Connoisseurs--I know my mother loves Black Cake, and her one source back home no longer sells it.

Abbey of Gethsemani--I like the way these look, and I'm sure my mother will appreciate my supporting the church in some way, since I no longer go to church.

Holy Cross Abbey--same as above

Collins Street Bakery--these were the first "gourmet" fruitcakes I remember seeing in ads. I always thought they looked good.

When I found the above during an eGullet search, some of the posts in which they were mentioned were quite old. Does anyone have any recent experience with any of the above to recommend them?

Right now I'm thinking of going with Caribbean Cake Connoisseurs and either Gethsemani or Holy Cross. But I'm open to other suggestions, as well!

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I've tried the Holy Cross fruitcake, and we (wife and I) feel that it is no better than the average store-bought ones, in spite of the implied virtue in buying one from them, and the price (!). I would love to find one which was clearly better.

Ray

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On the other hand I buy about a dozen Holy Abby fruitcakes each year as gifts. I'm pretty sure none have been regifted. The one I always save for myself never has.

Claxton Fruitcakes from the town of that name in Southern Georgia are awfully good too.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I was talking to my mother last night, and she said she prefers fruitcakes with more fruit and nuts, and less cake. That would appear to put the Harry and David cake at the top of the list. But the cake mizducky (thanks!) linked to only has cherries, pineapple, walnuts, and pecans! The green cherries she can do without, but she loves rinds! And there's no rum or any other alcohol in it, either! What's the point of fruitcake if it doesn't have alcohol??

But it's still in the running.

Upon closer examination of the Holy Cross Abbey ones, they appear to have a lot of cake (comparatively speaking) in them, so I think I'll cross those off my list.

But the Claxton, and the Gethsemani are still in there, too (I've pretty much decided on the Caribbean Connoisseurs, so I'm looking for one more). So is the Collins.

judiu, can you tell me about the ratio of cake to fruit and nuts in the Collins? She likes it so the batter is just there to hold the fruit together, so that's what I'm looking for (like the Harry and David one).

Holly, how about the Claxton ones? Do they have a lot of fruit and nuts compared to cake? The pictures look a little cakey, but it's hard to tell.

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I was given one of these last year (coals to Newcastle :biggrin: ) and didn't get around to cutting into it until well into January or so.

Vermont Country Store fruitcake

It was one of the best commercial fruitcakes I have ever tried. It did not have the tooth-jarring ultra-sweetness or the overpowering spice flavor that ruins so many fruitcakes for me. I like to be able to taste the individual flavors of the different fruits and nuts. This was also very moist - as they claim. I think it may be because of the carrots, which I don't think I have ever seen in fruitcake ingredients.

It may not have the high fruit to cake ratio that you want, but in my opinion it is excellent.

It may seem small, but it packs a lot of flavor into that small form and is very heavy for its size.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The Claxton fruitcakes have a very high ratio of fruit and nuts to batter. They're the ones that my wife and I like to eat ourselves was. They are however not as pretty of presentation as some of the others if there been giving as gifts. For gifts I prefer the Harry & David ones since they look much nicer (and are larger).

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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You gotta go with Collin St. Bakery. All jokes aside, they make the best around. And, if you ever find yourself in Corsicana, TX (I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy :P ), stop by the bakery and sample some of their other goodies.

Gear nerd and hash slinger

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If you wanna try something a little different. Try Mary of Pudding Hill's fruit cake. Fruitcake haters, me for one, love this, and I do. It's chock full of nuts.

Nothing but pecans or walnuts, cherries, pineapple and dates with just barely enough batter to hold it together.

http://www.puddinhill.com/mph/index.web

Edited by Susie Q (log)
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Holly, how about the Claxton ones?  Do they have a lot of fruit and nuts compared to cake?  The pictures look a little cakey, but it's hard to tell.

I get the Claxton cakes every year, and they are hardly cakey: mostly fruits and nuts. I tread it more like candy they cake.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've just finished ordering cakes from two places--I just couldn't make up my mind! I ordered 3 1-lb cakes (dark) from Claxton, and 1 1-7/8-lb cake from Collin Street. My mother can do a taste test to see which she likes best, then next year I'll try a couple of the others.

I really wanted to order from Mary of Pudding Hill, especially because they have yummy looking nuts and candies, too! But their cakes were a little more expensive, and the shipping was, too. Plus if I had ordered the chocolates I wanted, I would have had to pay an additional $10 in shipping!

And I completely forgot about the Black Cake! But no harm done. I sent them an email a couple of weeks ago and they never replied. AFAIK, if they're not interested enough in replying to my email, they're clearly not interested in my money, either.

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I realize you already ordered, but if anyone else is looking, check out this link.

It's a group of monks in Michigan's UP that make jam and some of the very best fruitcakes I've ever had. People who hate fruitcake gobble this stuff up.

I'm actually quite glad you didn't post that until after I made my purchase. It would have made the decision oh so much harder! I'd have had to buy the sampler, for sure!

How about a brand new holiday tradition?

The Fruitcake Tasting Party?

6-8 different Fruitcakes, Wines, Cheeses, Crudite...

Bring elegance to the good old fruitcake!

My mother would love that! Except for the wines, cheese, crudites...all she needs is the fruitcake!

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My mother has received the first batch of fruitcake from Claxton, and she has already opened one of the cakes and eaten quite a bit of it. I'm waiting for a more detailed report, as so far, all I've been told is that the cakes use margarine, but the alcohol adds a nice flavour to the cake. She says the cake is not as good as the ones my aunt sends, which I think are from Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Oregon.

According to tracking, the Collins Street one should be delivered shortly. Hopefully she won't be too fruitcaked out by the time it arrives, since it sounds like she has already eaten much of a 1-lb cake.

Who am I kidding? She'll never be fruitcaked out! :laugh:

eta: Here's what she writes:

I think there is more dough in this clayton [sic] kind; the  fruit and nuts are okay, fresh but not plentiful; the wine or brandy tastes good.  Altho' the box says dark, it is not the dark I know.

She writes clayton, but it should be claxton. I had ordered the dark fruitcake for her, because she prefers dark (I think).

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Here's another rec to throw out there. I thought the fruitcake from Assumption Abbey was quite good. These are the ones sold by Williams-Sonoma, though they are much cheaper ordered directly from the source. The WS website has a good picture of the interior if you're curious. They are made with pure butter, by the way.

As for the Carribean black cakes, I've twice entered all my information to order a sample cake and have never heard, nor received, anything from them.

Edited by mukki (log)
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Here's another rec to throw out there. I thought the fruitcake from Assumption Abbey was quite good. These are the ones sold by Williams-Sonoma, though they are much cheaper ordered directly from the source. The WS website has a good picture of the interior if you're curious. They are made with pure butter, by the way.

As for the Carribean black cakes, I've twice entered all my information to order a sample cake and have never heard, nor received, anything from them.

I just found the Assumption Abbey ones yesterday! I wish I had found them earlier. In an email my mother sent me yesterday, she mentioned that she had always wanted to try the Gethsemani ones. They were mentioned in an article years ago about the best fruitcakes. Oh well, next year!

She also said that the article (which she has since lost) mentioned 2 or 3 others made by monks, but also one made by a nunnery in the US. I've been searching, and there are a lot of monks that make fruitcakes, but can't find any nuns. Does anyone know of a nunnery that makes fruitcake?

It's good to know I'm not the only one who has been dissed by the Carribean black cakes folks. I was taking it personally!

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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My mother tried the Collins last night. Here's what she says:

We had the cake last night.  It is not a fuitcake like fuitcakes are supposed to be-there was not much fuit.  But this was very moist and alcoholic-I loved it. . . prefer this to Claxton, but of course, Claxton was a real fuit cake.  However, I am puzzled because the can says deluxe fuit cake.  The small "guide" calls this Pecan Cake.  It's really really tasty, moist and flavorful-maybe i am just prejudiced because of the abundance of pecans in it. 

So, in terms of flavour, it looks like the Collins wins out over the Claxton. But according to her, the Collins is not really a fruitcake, just a really good cake.

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This thread, and mention of the Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana reminded me of something I wrote a few years back.

Here it is:

Fruitcake Eaters Anonymous Unite!

Hello.

My name is Jaymes and I like fruitcake.

It started years ago when I fell in with a bad crowd. My granny and her cronies.

Around October, the packages would begin arriving. They were from some fruitcake pusher down in Corsicana , Texas. Granny would get a big grin on her face, and open them one by one. It was obvious she was hooked. Inside the packages were round, red tins that just reeked of Christmas. Granny would sit them on her big oak kitchen table, and then retrieve some booze from her stash under the cupboard. She'd sprinkle each cake with a little rum and some brandy, then seal them tightly, and stash them away, up high in the coat closet.

Every few days, we'd go through this routine. Open them up, sprinkle with booze, seal them, and then back they'd go, into the cool darkness of the coat closet.

I can still recall the aroma of the fruit and the cake and the booze, and the forbidden pleasures that were ripening in their little red tins.

Until finally December arrived, and the fruitcakes were heavy and moist, redolent with their nuts and candied fruits and my granny's booze. That's when Granny would open one of the tins for us. It was so moist it was almost like a pudding. She'd scoop some of it into coffee cups and we'd pour over a little heavy sweet cream and eat it with a spoon.

Like most addicts, Granny wasn't happy unless she dragged down others into her hellish nightmare, so she'd haul the rest of her booze-soaked cakes around the neighborhood, recruiting new members to her gang.

As I grew, I was exposed to many other bad habits -- most of which I gradually left behind. But each October, when the nights begin to cool and the leaves turn to crimson and gold, the memories of the round red tins of Christmas call to me still.

I am afraid there is no hope.

Are there others out there like me? Should we start a support group? Perhaps we can meet in Corsicana. If you'll bring the brandy, I'll bring the rum.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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There is a fruitcake blog on the web that has quite a number of reviews and pictures of the cakes  already mentioned called Mondofruitcake. She seems to like Gethsemani the best.

Cool! She actually ranks Assumption Abbey as #1, though she does write that Gethsemani is her favourite (and is also the fruitcake of her childhood, so that could, in part, be why it's her favourite).

I like that she even tried Hickory Farms fruitcake. Now that's dedication!

She ranks Our Lady of Guadalupe above Collins Street. My mother says,

Both are good and delicious-moist and nutty, which most appeals to me.

so it seems they might have similar tastes. Next year I'll have to do Assumption Abbey, Gethsemani, and Holy Cross Abbey--the three of which are ranked above OLG and CS.

Jaymes--I loved your writing! And I love that your grandmother added even more alcohol to an already alcohol-laden fruitcake!

I think your grandmother and my mother would get along famously!

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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There is a fruitcake blog on the web that has quite a number of reviews and pictures of the cakes  already mentioned called Mondofruitcake. She seems to like Gethsemani the best.

Cool! She actually ranks Assumption Abbey as #1, though she does write that Gethsemani is her favourite (and is also the fruitcake of her childhood, so that could, in part, be why it's her favourite).

I like that she even tried Hickory Farms fruitcake. Now that's dedication!

She ranks Our Lady of Guadalupe above Collins Street. My mother says,

Both are good and delicious-moist and nutty, which most appeals to me.

so it seems they might have similar tastes. Next year I'll have to do Assumption Abbey, Gethsemani, and Holy Cross Abbey--the three of which are ranked above OLG and CS.

Jaymes--I loved your writing! And I love that your grandmother added even more alcohol to an already alcohol-laden fruitcake!

I think your grandmother and my mother would get along famously!

I read a blurb on Chowhound about a non-profit group in North Carolin: "Women Helping Other Women" which makes fruitcakes. Their Website shows the cakes which appear more fruit laden and less nutty- a little less traditional. They all sound appealing. I am will be giving them a try: the Berries N Cherries N Nuts and The Chocolate Berries cakes. Nothing like eating fruitcake for a good cause! :smile:

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I read a blurb on Chowhound about a non-profit group in North Carolina: "Women Helping Other Women" which makes fruitcakes. Their Website shows the cakes which appear more fruit laden and less nutty- a little less traditional. They all sound appealing. I am will be giving them a try: the Berries N Cherries N Nuts and The Chocolate Berries cakes. Nothing like eating fruitcake for a good cause! :smile:

Here is a little background on the group and their fruitcake origins that I found on the web.

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  • 1 month later...

More than one month later, an update.

My mother saved me a bit of the Collins St, and saved two (I ordered 3 1-lb cakes) of the Claxton cakes--one for me and one for my landlord and her family. When she arrived in Japan, however, there was only one Claxton cake in her suitcase, and no Collins St! She's convinced that someone must have stolen them, but I think she just forgot to repack them during one of her many repacking episodes (who's going to break into a suitcase and only steal fruitcake? :wacko:)

I gave the sole cake to my landlord for Christmas, and I had none. :sad: I wasn't sure if she would like it, though, because usually North American sweets are much too sweet for Japanese people, but I wanted her to have it, anyway.

Today my landlord mentioned that she brought the cake to her painting group and everyone really enjoyed it! They all commented on how delicious and moist it was. In Japan panettone and stollen are more common than fruitcake (though fruitcake is available), so it was quite a treat for them.

Thanks to all those who chimed in with their recommendations. I'm going to try some of the others next year! :smile:

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