What is it about fruitcake that makes it last so long? I’m not talking only talking about commercial fruitcakes that you find today, but the ones that great-grandma used to make that lasted for years without spoiling.

I have a fruitcake recipie that I make, but it is normally all consumed by the New Year. Could the un-eaten portion of my fruitcake be saved so that my great-grandchildren could see what a good baker I was?

I once tried to eat a fruitcake when I was little,but the fork would not penetrate it at all! It was like a rock.Weird.

A fruitcake is made up (for the most part) of dried fruit. I read that the ancient Romans made 'em to last for years on purpose.
I guess even they liked to give the same fruitcake to each other each year.
Other fruitcakes are delt with swiftly by the Straight Dope board monitors.

The fruitcake’s legendary longevity is surpassed only by the irrational persistence of people who think this subject amusing reminding us of it every year for the last 50,000 or so years. These people also revere Carrot Top and Gallagher.

Personally I like fruitcake – if it’s made properly. I haven’t had a good one since my mother died. Her secret: after baking and cooling, she poured brandy over it, wrapped it in cheesecloth, and let it sit for a few days. Yummy. Now whether a fruitcake soaked in booze will keep forever is another matter; Mom’s didn’t last long.

Boracchini’s bakery (sp?) in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle makes a fruitcake that’s actually quite tasty.

My mom makes cakes that last from year to year – and yeah, she pours booze on them.

Brandy, I think.

Your mom is the singer Brandy? :smiley:

The problem with most (cheap) fruitcakes is that they contain “citron.” I don’t know exactly what “citron” is; I’ve only seen it in two forms: in fruitcake, and in little plastic containers for use in making fruitcake. However, that’s irrelevant: that nasty “fruitcake” taste is actually citron, which reminds me of watermelon rind steeped in Lemon Pledge.

I suspect that such fruitcakes last so long because bacteria and insects don’t like citron any more than I do, and avoid them like the plague.

A real fruitcake, using actual dried fruit and no “citron” filler, can be pretty good… and yeah, I think alcohol (and possibly sugar) are the preservatives in this case.

Wouldn’t the alcohol evaporate, thereby
rendering it’s preservative properties

Also, I don’t use citron in my cakes;
only dried fruit. If citron is another
perservative, does that mean my great
grandchildren will never taste my cakes?


BLESS YOU for identifying that taste. Now, I shall never again have to put it in my mouth simply to try and figure out what it reminds me of.

BTW, a handy use for fruitcakes is to pile them up and use them as shims in pier and beam foundations.

According to “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauere and Marion Becker, “Many people feel that these cakes improve greatly with age. When they are well saturated with alchoholic liquors, which raise the spirits and keep down mold, and are buried in powdered sugar in tightly closed tins, they have been enjoyed as long as 25 years after baking.” (source: How Stuff Works)

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

[to be sung in a broad Irish accent]

“There were nuts and prunes and berries
There were apples and raisins and cinnamon too
There were gums and dates and cherries
And a cross that was nailed on with glue
There were celery seeds in abundance
Sure to work up a fine stomach-ache
That could kill a man twice
After eating a slice
Of Miss Fogerty’s Christmas Caaaaake!”


10,000 loaves of fruit cake were made in 1887. from that time, they have just been passed around. No new fruit cake was ever made after that.

Fruitcake was a real-life “Green Eggs and Ham” story for me.

I had always thought, “That is some of the nastiest looking stuff I’ve ever seen. Who would ever want to eat it?”

I was almost 30 when I tried it for the first time.

What can I say? It actually wasn’t half bad.

Now I like it.

I’m almost 40, and I recently tried chitlins for the first time.

Guess what? Not bad, also. They do have a strong taste, but they’re not bad at all. After you’ve eaten a few, they become quite tasty.