Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden Post by David Kleinecke
This Xmas season we got two almost identical "fruitcakes".
But they were not what we used to call fruitcakes. Rather
they were more or less the Italian sweet bread called
panetone but baked in the shape of old-fashioned
I like panetone but it is IMO not fruitcake.
It bears little resemblance to the fruitcake we used to eat when I were
a lad. Panettone has relatively little fruit in it, it dries out very
fast once opened, has very little icinf (and no marzipan) and is almost
white in colour. Fruitcake has lots of fruit in it, can last months
without getting stale, has lots of icing, and marzipan, and is dark in
Fruitcake encompasses a wide range of cakes.
The cakes I make have little fruit, but the key fruitcake ingredient is
candied orange peel, which is difficult to make and takes several days.
We've tried to find a workable substitute we can buy, but all the
commercial varieties are vile, rubbery, and over sweetened with large
Making the peels involves a cycle of simmering for 30 minutes, then
soaking in cold water for 6 hours, then simmering for 30 minutes for a
total of six cycles)
The cake recipe includes butter, eggs, sugar (brown), as well as
Guinness (or another dark stout/porter), currants, golden raisins, and
Getting good currants and golden raisins is also tricky, most are
But the key ingredient is the candied orange peel.
'But you ain't part of it, are you?' said Granny conversationally. 'You
try, but you always find yourself watchin' yourself watchin' people, eh?
Never quite believin' anything? Thinkin' the wrong thoughts?'