Everyone jokes about how terrible fruitcakes are. I wanted to see if they were right. Fruitcake gets a bad rap and I wanted to see if it was true.

I searched the internet for hip, cool, new fruitcake recipes which should tell you I am not that hip if those are my search terms. I scrapped those words and looked for something traditional and classic, since that’s the point of the fruitcake, right? I printed out a recipe from King Arthur Flour called Everyone’s Favorite Fruitcake figuring the baking people might have a clue. That, or they want me to buy name-brand flour, which might be terrible because I’m thrifty. 

So I headed to Aldi and bought mammoth amounts of the cheapest, yet still expensive, dried fruit and filled my rented cart. 

Dried fruit in a metal bowl

As I measured cup after cup of fruit, I pondered how we have an overabundance of sugar around the holidays and that we really don’t need a dessert that lasts 6 weeks. I can’t think of any food that lasts that long in my house, except for the unintentional science projects in the back of the fridge. Those experiments get looking terrible, but I know they’re not meant for human consumption like the humble fruitcake is.   

Fruitcakes must have made more sense years ago when you dried or canned fruit yourself, but I calculated with all the dried fruit I bought, even from Aldi, I would have rather made $40 worth of crisp, buttery toffee.

You may have heard the quote about fruitcakes from Johnny Carson, “The worst gift is a fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.” Or maybe you haven’t because you don’t know who Johnny Carson is! Fruitcake is not appreciated by Millenials or Gen Z or Gen X or probably any generation at this point. I did a poll on my Instagram stories to see if anyone I knew had ever baked a fruit cake. Out of all my friends, in the age range of early 20s to mid-60s, not a soul had made fruit cake. So either I need older friends, or y’all need to start making fruitcakes so I don’t feel so alone.

Fruitcakes must have made more sense years ago when you dried or canned fruit yourself, but I calculated with all the dried fruit I bought, even from Aldi, I would have rather made $40 worth of crisp, buttery toffee.

Once the fruitcake was out of the oven, I used my at-home taste testers to rate the fruitcake and decide if this goes in our Make Again pile. My 5-year-old gave it a 7/10 and described it as “pretty yummy.” The 9-year-old came at me with a 5-  “It’s pretty good, but not my favorite.” My husband asked what the rating scale was and when I told him 1-10, 10 being delicious Christmas toffee, he gave my fruitcake a 4 and said he would not choose it at a holiday party if given any other choice. Not exactly a ringing endorsement! I, however, cannot give you my vote for a scientific reason. Since fruitcake is supposed to save for up to six weeks, you’ll have my ranking at Christmas! Or check your mail, it may come to you! 

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