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Traditional Christmas cake with fruits and nuts

FRUIT CAKE DONE RIGHT: A DELICIOUS RECIPE FOR THIS OFTEN TERRIBLE DESSERT

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For decades, people have been harshing on this dried fruit, batter, and booze concoction. And for good reason! It may be the bomb in Australia and jolly old England, but here in America, it’s been a joke ever since Johnny Carson made it one in ’89. But it was gross even before then.

Did you know that some people believe fruitcake actually improves with age, like a fine wine? Zingerman’s sells a 1-year-old version for $90 that they claim sells out every year. And in 2017, conservators of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust found a 104-year-old fruit cake in Antarctica that they have apparently considered eating. "There was a very, very slight rancid butter smell to it, but other than that, the cake looked and smelled edible," said a spokesperson. Likely the same words have been spoken about many contemporary versions, as well.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Good fruitcake is possible, especially if you’re able to avoid including the fluorescent, candied fruit that often also finds its way into things like spumoni and other culinary travesties. Follow one of the following recipes, and turn out your own fruity cake that people might actually eat.

World’s Best Fruit Cake

This entry from A Beautiful Plate uses unsweetened dried fruit soaked in dark rum, and optional chocolate chips. The result is a moist, balanced cake that won’t disappoint.

Best Holiday Fruitcake

Not limited by the word “world” in its title, this cake from Simple Recipes has set its sights on conquering the universe. Light and fluffy, this recipe makes the alcohol optional, and uses a mix of sweetened and unsweetened dried fruit, edging it closer to the traditional offering. But maybe it’s a good transitional cake!

Free Range Fruitcake

While these recipes are all somewhat similar, this fruitcake recipe by Alton Brown also has an assortment of fruit and nuts, and goes for the gusto with both rum and brandy in its ingredient list.

Try these recipes and see if they change your mind about the merits of fruitcake. Or pick your favorite aspects of each of the above recipes and combine to make your own amazing concoction. Or just don’t eat fruitcake!

For more tips on eating well this holiday season, visit the Redstone at SanTan Village blog.

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