What is Fruitcake?


Lauren Rose

Have you ever heard of fruitcake? I’m sure you know of its bad reputation and how most think it is one of the worst holiday desserts, but there is more to fruitcake than that. Fruitcake is a cake made with candied or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and optionally soaked in spirits. Fruitcake is usually served in wedding or Christmas celebrations. Fruitcake first originated in Rome, where it was made with a mix of pine nuts, barley mash, pomegranate seeds, raisins, and honeyed wine. During the roman times, fruitcake was made into an energy bar sort of shape called “satura” instead of a full cake. It was made this way to sustain Roman soldiers while they were in battle, it was easy to carry around and it lasted so long without going bad.

Before fruitcake was made of nuts, berries, and spices, it was made up of meat. During Shakespearean times, fruitcakes included meat, wine, fruit juices, and some preserved fruits. Delicious right? After some time though, the meat was eliminated and more fruits were added, giving it a new name, “plum pudding.”

As centuries went on, the ingredients in fruitcake changed over time. Fruitcake as we know it today though, can be traced all the way to the Middle Ages. You may despise fruitcake, but you cannot deny its history.