Fruitcake is not so popular anymore. But what is it about this flour and fruit mixture that makes it such a great holiday treat for winter campers?

     

Fruitcake—or what some holiday traditionalists would call Christmas cake—has had a bad rep for quite some time. It was once a cherished treat back in the 18th and 19th centuries when ingredients were rare and expensive. Somewhere down the line, however, it became conventional to loathe fruitcake. There’s even an annual fruitcake toss where people in Colorado hurl unwanted cake with medieval catapults.Kevin Callan

     

Fruitcake has been around for a long time. The ancient Romans mixed barley, pomegranate seeds, nuts and raisins—creating some sort of energy bar. German Christmas bread, called Stollen, and the Italian holiday bread known as Panettone are other close kin to the fruitcake. So is Russian Easter bread, known as Kulich, and Irish fruit bread which is called Barmbrack. English fruitcake—or what Canadians call Christmas cake—peaked during the Victorian era. Fruit was a rarity in winter and the fruitcake contained dried sugary portions. It was also soaked in brandy well before the holidays began.Kevin Callan

    

Winter campers, however, would appreciate the ancient Egyptians who made fruitcakes and placed them with the bodies of their departed loved ones to carry with them to the afterlife. The preserved fruit mixed with a dense cake was thought to withstand the journey. That’s why I take it winter camping. It lasts forever—and contains an insane amount of nutrients.Kevin Callan

     

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 lb sugared cherries
  • 1 lb bleached sultana raisins
  • 1/2 cup warm water

           

Cooking Directions:

Cut the fruit up into small bits and add to the mixture of the remaining ingredients. Place in a cooking pan with a removable bottom, lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees for two to three hours. The longer it ages, the better it tastes

     

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