Every year at Christmas it shows up. It is a popular gift around the holidays that — let’s face it — most of us dread receiving. The dense cake is filled with sugar-soaked fruit that makes for an overly sweet, hard bite. The historic Christmas cake, inherited from the British and wedding cake of both Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, is actually edible for up to 25 years after it’s made. Shockingly, this doesn’t make it more appealing. But love it or hate it, fruitcake never goes away. What’s the story behind this sturdy seasonal dessert?

What’s in it?

It’s not just a cake with some fruit inside. The fruit and nuts for fruitcake have to be dried or soaked in sugar. All of that is loaded up into a very heavy cake. The average fruitcake weights two pounds. Because of the sugar, fruitcake doesn’t go bad for a long time.

Some recipes call for alcohol in the cake, or for it to be stored in a cloth with alcohol on it. Alcohol gets rid of bacteria, which is what causes food to go bad. And maybe because fruitcake lasts so long they often get forgotten, or re-gifted, and ends up sitting around on shelves. December 27 is National Fruitcake Day, but then a little more than a week later it’s Fruitcake Toss Day on January 7.

If this piece of historic dessert is you favorite enjoy a once a year opportunity to partake. If you would rather eat anything else other than fruitcake, don’t waste your calories. The average piece has 450 calories and 81.5 grams of carbohydrate!!! Save your calories for something you really enjoy and that fruitcake will make a great doorstop.

“Friends are the fruitcake of life — some nutty, some soaked in alcohol, some sweet.” ― Jon Ronson

By: Cindy Jester, MS, RD, LDE

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