The fruit cake is a heavy cake laden with dried fruit and nuts, and redolent with sweet spices, with origins that date back to the Ancient Egyptians and the Ancient Greeks. In the Middle East, dates, and various types of nuts might have packed such a cake. In Greece, pomegranates may have provided the main fruit.
Though today, most have access to fresh fruit during the winter months, the fruit cake is still a traditional winter treat. It is generally colorful, when made commercially, as it tends to be packed with candied fruits, rather than simple dried fruits. Not everyone enjoys this cake; in fact one company sells these cakes as doorstops. Quality of ingredients can really make a difference in the popularity of the cake.
Many people shy away from the modern fruit cake because the candied fruit, and citron tends to have a somewhat bitter taste. This can be remedied by using simple dried fruit instead, which produces a more natural looking cake. Others avoid it since it is typically soaked in alcohol. It is actually, quite acceptable to use apple juice instead, which can make the cake both non-alcoholic, and child friendly.
Fruit cake rather resembles almost a candy when cut in thin slices. It is very dense, and overlarge servings will certainly pack a lot of nuts and fruit. Served in thin slices, it is somewhat similar to the Italian torrone, which can be described as a cake or nougat filled with nuts and fruit.
While one can find fruit cake in abundance online, fruit cake made at home is not difficult. Usually the cake mixture is similar to a pound cake, but has less sugar since the fruit provides plenty of sweetness. It can be made in either loaf or bunt pans. Loaf fruit cake tends to be easier to store.
Fruit cake should be made three to four weeks prior to serving or to giving as gifts. If using apple juice instead of alcohol, chefs recommend storing the cake in the refrigerator to prevent molding. A cake doused in alcohol can be stored outside the fridge, and should be covered in cheesecloth, or wrapped in several layers of wax paper and foil.