Fruitcake has been a holiday tradition for hundreds of years. The oldest references to fruitcake date back to Roman times, when the recipe included pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins mixed into barley mash. Yummy stuff!
In Europe in the 1700s, a ceremonial type of fruitcake was baked at the end of the nut harvest and consumed the following year to celebrate the beginning of the next harvest.
In the 18th century in England, there were laws restricting the use of plum cake (the generic word for dried fruit at the time) to Christmas, Easter, weddings, christenings, and funerals.
Between 1837 and 1901, fruitcake was popular. It is said Queen Victoria received a fruitcake for her birthday one year, and legend has it, she put it aside for a year as a sign of restraint, moderation, and good taste. It is the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.
Fruitcake is full of healthy nutrients. The fruit and fiber in fruitcake is loaded with anti-oxidants, molecules that protect cells from disease and damage.
The cakes contain a lot of sugar which means that water activity will be low, which keeps mold from forming and makes the cake last a long time.
A fruitcake can last several months. If there's no mold, it's safe to eat, even if it has been around a while. But fruitcakes can't last forever.
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