Sunday, November 18, 2007


I am stupid and lazy, and I deserve all the bad things that happen to me. All of them. Except for George W. Bush. I played no part in that. But aside from that, it is all my fault.

How did I come to such a conclusion? Well, aside from my mother telling me, like, a billion times how I was fat and lazy and stupid and would never amount to anything, I was aided in coming to this conclusion by fruitcake.

I love fruitcake. I won't listen to anyone who knocks it. I am completely biased. I love fruitcake. I feel privileged that Myfanwe and I have reached a level of monetary comfort that we are able to afford dried fruit, which ain't cheap, let me tell you! Every year I read Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory", cry a little bit, then start baking. Oh, yes. I love fruitcake.

Every evening, after the dishes are washed and the kitchen tidied, I like to pull on some comfy jammies, brew a pot of tea, kick back in the recliner and knit. In the autumn and winter, I augment this ritual with a few slices of fruitcake. This is as close to paradise as I can get without a city-crippling snowstorm and a wood-burning fire.

As I may have mentioned in a post or two, this has been a busy autumn for me. But each weekend I have made a batch of fruitcake. Lovely fruitcakes. From three recipes, so far. Because I love all fruitcake.

Fruitcake is, if you don't already know, rather easy in the making, but tedious in the preparation. Most recipes are very specific -- butter the tins, line them with brown paper or parchment, then butter the brown paper or parchment. Cutting and fitting the paper takes something like eleventy-three hours per batch.

Well, the third recipe I made this year came from a very reputable source. I'm not naming names. This recipe instructed the baker only to grease the tins. Sweet Mother of Liver Sausage! I had been waiting for a recipe like this! I was so happy, I decided to bake a double batch! I greased the tins well with my own little hands -- a task I learned at my grandmother's knee. I thought about lining the tins with parchment, but the recipe didn't require it, and it saved me tons of time. What the hell!

I made a few minor variations, including substituting espresso for the prescribed apple juice or water -- I like my fruitcake dark and complex -- not just sweet. But no alterations that would affect the consistency of the final product. They baked beautifully,exiting the oven with a lovely sheen and a delicious aroma. I brushed them with a boiled rum syrup, let it soak in while they cooled for a few minutes, then tipped the cakes out of their tins.

And three of them stuck. %#$@!

I did the best I could to patch them back together, trying to use rum syrup as glue, but it is obvious that these are the crippled children of the fruitcake world. I don't think they will stand up to slicing, even if refrigerated. (Tip: If you want thin slices of fruitcake, refrigerate it before slicing.) I'm so sad.

All this could have been avoided if I hadn't been stupid and lazy.

So now, dear Readers, if indeed I have any readers after my confession here, please answer me this: Do you have any idea what kind of a dessert I could make with 4 pounds of crumbled fruitcake? I can't bear to waste it...that would be a sin.

Did I mention I love fruitcake?


Pearls Mother said...

A big hug of solidarity in the love of a great fruit cake.
A sigh of sympathy for your cake crisis.
You could crumble the cake, add some more liquid to moisten, if needed and roll into walnut sized balls, put a dollop of white icing on the top with a little glace cherry and something green ( I use spearmint leaves lollies) and voila, little pudding for gifts.
as a last resort, keep in a tin and use as a pudding substitute, just heat and add custard or cream or ice-cream or all three if it's been a really shitty week.
what is your fave cake recipe?

Sam said...

Hey Aidan, I've read your blog for a while, and I appreciate your fruitcake problem. I'm not sure if you have bread pudding in the States (it's a favourite over here in the UK) but you could use your ravaged fruit cake to make a version of bread pudding:
You'll need:
225g (8oz) Ruined fruit cake (this takes the place of stale bread and raisins...)
50g (2oz) Butter
1 Egg

Pre-heat oven to 170°C: 325°F: Gas 3
Break fruit cake into small pieces; soak in cold water at least 1 hour
Strain and squeeze out as dry as possible.
Place into a basin and mash with a fork.
Add the egg and enough milk to enable the mixture to drop easily from a spoon.
Place into a greased baking tin.
Bake for about an hour or until slightly firm to the touch.
When done turn out on to a hot dish.
Turn out dredge with sugar and serve hot with custard, or allow to cool.
I can't vouch for this, having never made it... but good luck!

Anonymous said...

Freeze the cake. Then use it to make trifle for Xmas and New Year or Hannukah etc etc etc. I make custard and layer the cake with fruit,nuts and custard soaking each cake layer with sherry. Top it off with whipped cream and cherries! Place in fridge. Yum yum yummy! Ps Trifle is the traditional Xmas desert here in South Africa.

Knit-Knot said...

I, too, love fruitcake. But only if I make it, without the candied fruit. There is just something not quite right about translucent cherries.

When I was growing up the broken fruitcakes were the ones we got to eat. The others had to be kept and soaked in brandy and carefully aged for 6 weeks. But we could eat the broken ones now. Sometimes we broke them on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Keep it to eat and make some more to give away.

Angie said...

Trifle! crumbled fruit cake layered with something puddingie and Viola! Fruitcake trifle. You are NOT lazy and stupid, simply following the directions! Lazy, stupid recipe that was... P.S. How did the fruitcake taste?

Aidan said...

Thank you all for your support. Fruitcakes everywhere are feeling more appreciated and loved because of you.

Angie: I couldn't possibly know how it one with any scruples would EVER take even so much as a taste of a fruitcake before it had time to ripen. (It is delicious!)

Maybe I'll press the cake into ramekins, warm them gently, then pop them out onto a custard-covered plate a la Spotted Dick. (Oooh, doesn't that sound dirty? I'm such a naughtly little baker!)

Cherice said...

You are quite the opposite of lazy and stupid. I can tell you what to do with your "ruined" send it to me and I will happily eat it from a bowl with some hard sauce on it (or ice cream, or shoot, I'll eat it plain). I would love your recipe (because I like a good fruitcake) and I'll send you my mother's (it could be my great grandmother's gumdrop cake recipe).

In my house even the ugly desserts get devoured (and not just because there's a teenager in the house).

Aidan said...

OK, Cherice, send your address to aidangilbert at gmail dot com and I will ship one off to you! Think of it as're adopting a crippled fruitcake you read about on the internet!

anne marie in philly said...

I also lerve fruitcake at holiday time.

but I don't make my own; collin street bakery in corsicana TX, or swiss colony in madison WI makes it happen for me.

also lerve mincemeat pie and plum pudding. call me strange...;-P

PS - I got those same remarks from my parents, teachers, etc. THEY WERE WRONG! f*ck 'em!

anne marie in philly said...

I also lerve fruitcake at holiday time.

but I don't make my own; collin street bakery in corsicana TX, or swiss colony in madison WI makes it happen for me.

also lerve mincemeat pie and plum pudding. call me strange...;-P

PS - I got those same remarks from my parents, teachers, etc. THEY WERE WRONG! f*ck 'em!

la takahashi said...

I love fruitcakes! hee hee

Leslie said...

Aiden, you are neither lazy nor stupid. You followed the instructions and whomever published those instructions omitting the liner paper was lazy and/or stupid.

Unfortunately, I need to loose too much weight so am not indulging this year. Perhaps next year you'll provide us with your favorite fruitcake recipe??? said...

I love fruitcake too. I'm so tired of the bad rap it gets.
Fruitcake lovers...unite!

(Wait...that doesn't sound quite right...does it? )

Ted said...

I'd like your fruitcake recipes, as you have excellent taste in food.

uses for damaged fruitcake:

-chocolate-coated fruitcake balls

-reheat with a bit of extra moisture so it's as moist as Christmas pudding, serve with cider-lemon sauce from here

It's fabulous.

Denise said...

Couldn't you serve it like Christmas pudding? With some heavy cream, unwhipped, drizzed over the top...definitely too good to waste.

Oh how I love fruit cake...the kind my Mum (still back home in Ireland) makes, with the greatest ingredients, slight tang of whiskey, half an inch of marzipan and icing...the US version is rightly derided but my Mum's mmm mmm

Aidan said...

Denise, Denise, Denise.

"...the US version is rightly derided..."

Derided, my fat white Irish ass! I am a glabalist at heart. All fruitcake is good. All. You hear me? You mum's, my grandmather's, and every other mum's fruitcake.

Don't. Diss. The. Fruitcake.

That said, I'm going to try serving it like Christmas pudding. With hard sauce. Yum. Thanks