Real Estate Ray's Blog: Fruitcake, THE PERFECT GIFT FOR 2020

Fruitcake, THE PERFECT GIFT FOR 2020

      This may be hard to believe, but there are those that are not fans of fruitcakes.  I love all fruitcakes, even the store bought ones containing those mystery neon green and red tidbits so I will let the late, great Johnny Carson discuss the fruitcake's dark side.

      Johnny Carson was not a fan.  He recommended storing any gifted fruitcakes in a closet to re-gift the following Christmas.  Interestingly, this may not be a bad thing for real fruitcake aficionados.  Some (NOT ME) will not even contemplate eating a fruitcake less than three years old. Ha!  No food lasts three years in my house! The requisite three weeks for this recipe is hard enough to endure.

     Let's take a deep dive into the science of fruitcakes with Alton Brown.  After all, 2020 is all about the science and Brown's Free Range Fruitcake is his answer to just about every fruitcake critic.  It is GOOD EATS!

      Why is fruitcake this year's perfect gift?

     1.  The fruit is macerated in rum for 24 hours, tasty and useful, killing any dastardly germs.

                 Macerating fruitcake fruit

     Pro tip #1-do not allow self maceration by the chef the night before this step.  There will not be enough rum to properly soak the fruit!  But really, does the fruit need THAT much rum?

     2.  The finished cake is spritzed with brandy once it comes out of the oven and then every third day for the next three weeks. Safety first!  I have this great germ joke I'd like to tell right now, but, in good conscience, I don't want to spread it around!

             Spritzing the fruitcake with brandy

     (CAUTION-do not place spritzed cake near a candle or other open flame.  I may or may not have learned this the hard way given the positioning of the cake to my gas range top.)

     3.  The recipe can be tweaked as necessary.  Believe it or not, there are those that do not like raisins.  I know, I know, very strange!  How about substituting dried figs or dates for the raisins?  You don't like dried apricots, try dried peaches.  You don't like pecans, then substitute walnuts.  If you do not like brandy, try spritzing the cake with triple sec or, even better, Grand Marnier.  If you don't like dried cherries, forget it. I can't help you!

     4.   If the fruitcake beneficiary still does not like the cake, it can be placed in a dark corner of the closet for Christmas gift giving 2021. I do miss Johnny Carson!

  I give you the perfect ADULT Christmas gift for 2020!  I would love to hear your choice for this year's perfect gift below.

        Pro tip # 2-It is very difficult to tell when this cake is done.  My first experiment with this cake looked more like a chocolate lave cake when I cut into it.  The solution is to insert a meat thermometer into the center of the cake when it starts getting close to done.  When the thermometer reads 195-200 degrees, it is done. 

     Pro tip 2.  When measuring your flour, always work above the sink.  Again, I may or may not of learned this the hard way, but never, ever hold the flour canister and a nearly full cup of flour in the same hand as you tip the canister to get the last bit of flour out of the canister.  There is a good chance you will lose that cup of flour.  Ok, I admit it.  I do have personal experience with this one!  To borrow Martin Yan's tagline, If Ray can cook, you can too!

    The cake is good!  Many of my friends have been pleasantly surprised.  I do believe they are already looking forward to next year's fruitcake.  Don't tell anyone, but I have several already tucked away in a dark corner for next year!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! ! ! ! !

Thank you Carol Williams and Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker for this year's Christmas Challange  I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Other Christmas Blogs 2020:

Mom's Christmas Cookies

A Fabulous Forties Christmas!

             eXp Realty of California, Inc

Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, e-Pro

Past Client Testimonials   

3412 Babson Drive

Elk Grove, CA 95758

RayRHenson@gmail.com

916-698-8415

 

 

Comment balloon 46 commentsRaymond Henson, SRES, GRI • December 22 2020 05:41PM

Comments

Raymond, 

Count us in on Johnny Carson's opinion of fruitcake.  I have never liked candied fruit of any kind in baked goods, except for raisins.  Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and holiday celebration.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 25 days ago

Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the cakes I made only had dried fruit in it.  The ginger was candid, though.  I hope you and Ron have a wonderful Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 25 days ago

Hey Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI there are an aweful lot of questions that you're leaving out the answers too.  That is so wrong!!   And so funny!  Personally I have never like fruit cake but I may hve to try one of yours.....maybe!!  Fun Post!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) 25 days ago

We have a famous place here in Texas that is known for its fruitcakes. They ship them all over the world. I have never learned to love them. Yours, however, looks great!

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) 25 days ago

Hi Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker, if I answer all the questions, then I will not get any comments. 😉  I hope you did find it funny.  I think the whole fruitcake thing is funny and loved Johnny Carson's take on it.  Merry Christmas!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 25 days ago

I would love to try their fruitcake, Paula McDonald, Ph.D..  Maybe one day.  Merry Christmas! 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 25 days ago

Fruitcakes, something I'm not a fan of, but I do love raisin bread and bread pudding made with fruit cocktail.  The only fresh cooked bread that I really like is zucchini or banana bread, now those are also nice gifts to bring to dinner. My youngest daughter is the expert on making those for me.

Wishing you a blessed and Merry Christmas. 

Posted by Graziella Bruner, Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County (NCS Premier Real Estate) 25 days ago

We used to have a single fruitcake that made the rounds in my family.  Year after year, it was traded back and forth.  By the end, it was hard enough to use as a hammer (and twice as tasty).

Posted by Alan May, A moving experience! (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) 25 days ago

That is a fun tradition, Alan May.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas! 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 25 days ago

OMG, that Carson gig was hilarious, Ray! Re-gifting next year - priceless!

I am the odd one - I have always loved fruitcakes of any kind - like you! The neon whatever-they-ares were even delish! 

Like you, I used to make them but, haven't in decades. Yours look divine! 

I hope you and yours have the merriest of Christmases!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 25 days ago

I have to admit, I've never been a fan of fruitcakes. My mom used to make them, but I just didn't like all that candied fruit stuff. But thank you for sharing! I hope you have a wonderful fruitcake-laden Christmas!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) 24 days ago

Debe Maxwell, CRS, I am glad you enjoy Mr. Carson.  I remember a skit he did where he brought the fruitcake into his studio with heavy equipment.  When they placed it on his desk, the desk collapsed. I just could not find that one so maybe it was another comedian or my mind is playing tricks on me.  That does happen from time to time.

It is almost a miracle that I baked the cakes three weeks ahead of Christmas so they could be spritzed and aged properly.  So far, I am getting positive reviews from those that I gave them to as gifts.  We try ours soon, maybe for New Years Eve.

Thank you for all you do on AR and for your cheery comment.  Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 24 days ago

We will try our fruitcake soon, Kat Palmiotti.  Ours has dried fruits and only the ginger is candied.  So far the feedback has been very good.  Thank you for dropping by and Merry Christmas to you! ! ! 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 24 days ago

I will pass on the fruitcake, haha.  I think I would much prefer that delicious tort you made.  Merry Christmas my friend!

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Vacasa) 24 days ago

Young man!  ( Brian England )  You will eat your fruitcake and like it!  JK, I will make you that tort again one of these days.  Merry Christmas! ! ! 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 24 days ago

Fruitcake does seem to be fitting for 2020 - because it's been a very nutty year. Lol. I will also pass on the fruitcake, Raymond, but there must be fans as fruitcake lives on season to season. Merry Christmas.

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 24 days ago

I am not a fan, although Larry likes them. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo and Home Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) 24 days ago

I was doing a little research, Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD.  It seems one family kept theirs for over 140 years.  That is some tradition and it was on the internet so I know it is true.  Merry Christmas! ! !

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400,  If we were closer, Larry would get a fruitcake and you would get my new traditional treat, Cranberry bread!  Merry Christmas! ! !  

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 24 days ago

Best wishes to your and your family for a Very Merry Christmas.

I love fruit cake but have not had any this year.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) 24 days ago

Glad to meet another fruitcake fan and would love to share one with you one day, Roy.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 24 days ago

Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI - I'm also a huge fan of Fruitcake! In between Dallas and Austin there is a famous store called Collins Bakery - it looks like the White House and they are famous for making homemade fruitcake and sending it to many, many U.S. Presidents each year for Christmas. Their fruitcake is out of this world! It's expensive but delicious! 

I would love to meet-up there one day with you and Roy Kelley and your wives to share fruitcake and coffee or tea inside the Collins Bakery. They sell it year-round and it's always fresh and delicious!

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) 24 days ago

That would be a blast, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP.  I would love to meet all three of you!  Merry Christmas! 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 23 days ago

Raymond, never been a big fan of fruit cake but what a lovely post about it, give me Panatone any day:)Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 23 days ago

I think you probably already guessed this, Endre Barath, Jr., but I am just a big fan of food.  I do enjoy Panatone too, especially if it is turned into french toast.   Thank you for stopping by and Merry Christmas!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 23 days ago

I LOVE fruitcake! We go to Sam's club before Christmas and buy a lot of them to freeze for year round enjoyment!

Posted by faye schubert, Living the Branson Lake Life 23 days ago

Raymond, I know NO ONE, (except you now) that enjoys fruitcake.  Have to be honest, have not even seen any at the store!   

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 23 days ago

I heardthis story first hand from the participants and I am sure it was fruit cake and started at Christmas. However the paper says otherwise... what ever it was I think with the discussion of fruit cake and things you can do with one this is appropriate...(N.B. both participants have since passed so no way to know for sure)

A Battle For Years Now: Loser Takes The Cake

WENATCHEE - Old birthday cakes never die, they become birdbaths.

And, if you follow the saga of a cake bought by Dick Washut for Mike Ogan in the early 1980s, old birthday cakes get pulverized in a blender, stuffed inside colored condoms, pickled in a fruit jar, baked inside lasagne, encased in concrete and dropped by crane into the bottom of a swimming pool.

Then they become embedded in an office arboretum for use as a birdbath.

And this all happened to just one cake.

It started out as a day-old lemon cake from a grocery-store bakery and now rests in the garden outside Washut's dental office here. Birds swim in the indented top section, dodging plastic flowers placed there last fall.

A patient brought the plastic flowers down, Washut said. "He thought it looked so terrible out there."

A cake encased in concrete and embedded in dirt sounds like a permanent fixture.

Wrong. This cake is still evolving. Mutating might be a better word.

Ten years or so ago, when Washut first gave the cake to Ogan, it was to get back at Ogan for what Washut considers years of abuse. To hear Washut tell the story, the abuse began with Washut's mother.

"When you've been born on April Fool's Day, you become paranoid," he said. "I will never forgive my mother for having me on April Fool's Day."

And then, there's Mike Ogan.

"He's a bad person," said Washut.

Washut and Ogan have known each other for years. They were even

neighbors for a while. Those were tough times, and Washut blames Ogan for much of the trouble. Ogan has pulled some fast ones on Washut.

"My house has been for sale twice at ridiculous prices. We've had people lined up to see it," said Washut. "I've had my picture in the paper for open houses, and had people show up."

So, in the early 1980s, on Sept. 20 - Ogan's birthday - Washut went after his revenge. He took the day-old lemon cake to Ogan's house and rang the bell.

"I was surprised to see him standing there, grinning," Ogan recalls. "He said, `I've got a cake for you.' And when I reached for it, he just dropped it and walked off.

"So I said, `Washut, I'm going to get even with you.' "

And the saga began:

Ogan scooped up the smashed cake and stuck it in the freezer. Next April 1, he hired UPS to deliver the mess back to Washut.

The next September, Washut stuck the cake in a used pizza box, drove over it with his pickup truck and delivered it, with the cake oozing out the sides of the box, to Ogan.

The next April, Ogan, who'd left the cake out to dry all winter, turned it to dust in his wife's blender. Then he stuffed the cake inside colored condoms and sent it back to Washut.

Washut smoked the condoms and returned them to Ogan as sausage. Ogan pickled the cake "sausages" in a big fruit jar - complete with bay leaves, dill and vinegar.

Washut packed the sausages in lasagne and sent them back to Ogan.

Ogan put the lasagne in his barbecue and cooked it on low for two days, until the whole mixture looked like solid charcoal.

Washut combined the charcoal lasagne with three packages of cake mix, cooked the goop in a big pan, covered it with candles and shipped it back to Ogan.

"By then, I'm running out of ideas," said Ogan. "I came down to my shop and made a cement form, 2 feet wide, 3 feet long and 1 foot high. I took a piece of safety glass and put the cake under it, then poured cement around it."

This new creation weighed 600 pounds. Ogan borrowed a forklift and delivered the cake to the front steps of Washut's office, where it sat for several months.

"It was a good conversation piece," said Washut. "People could look through the glass top and see the cake."

Ogan thought he'd won the war - until the next September.

"My wife and I came home from going out to dinner and I saw this boom truck driving by," Ogan said. "I didn't think too much about it until my wife said, `What are all the balloons doing in the swimming pool?' "

Washut had rented a crane and lifted the concrete cake - with balloons attached - over Ogan's garage and into his pool. The cake rested on the bottom. Only the balloons showed above the water.

"I had one major concern while putting it there," said Washut. "Mike had restored this antique car inside the garage and I envisioned all sorts of bad things happening with that crane."

Next, Ogan hired a crane - and we're talking $275 here, folks - to remove the cake and store it where Ogan could revamp it with a special stand attached to more concrete. Then Ogan hired a crane again, and he and his sons dug a big hole in Washut's office garden and lowered the cake into the ground.

"We poured concrete around it so it wouldn't move again," Ogan said. "It's a permanent fixture there."

Oh yeah? Just because three years have passed, Ogan should not think Washut has given up. He is entertaining several ideas and waiting for just the right time to spring it on Ogan.

Washut won't say when he'll do this dastardly deed but he promises one thing: "Whatever I do, it's going to be significant."

Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate) 23 days ago

Dear Raymond,

Looks wonderful. For all those folks, who do not like fruitcake, donate it to your favorite through hiker or mountain climber. Excellent trail food!

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) 23 days ago

It is funny that you mention that, Dörte Engel.  Alton Brown said the same thing!  I may try it one of these days.  We enjoy trail running!

J Perrin Cornell, that is hilarious and oh, so neighborly.  Ha!  Thank you for sharing the story.  

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 23 days ago

faye schubert, it is great to meet a fruitcake fan!  Merry Christmas.

Joan Cox, my dad used to tell me if you do not like something, it was not prepared properly.  I bet you would like my fruitcake!  Note-Mary Margaret still is NOT a fan of my fruitcake! I made her cranberry bread, peanut butter fudge and haystacks!  Variety is the spice of life!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 23 days ago

Raymond, LOL - thinking I would love cranberry bread.  I made pizzelles and the chocolate chip cookies Roy had posted.  Still have too many left.....

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 23 days ago

Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI  Never have been a fan of fruitcake  sorry 

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376 (HomeStarr Realty) 23 days ago

My wife is with you, Hannah Williams.  She likes the lemon bars and the peanut butter fudge.  There is always plenty of choices at Christmas time. 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 23 days ago

Raymond:

The Johnny Carson video was hilarious, athough I suppose it could be offensive to a fruitcake afficionado, which I am not!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) 23 days ago

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS, He did another skit where he had some heavy equipment bring in a fruitcake and sit it on his desk.  Of course, the desk collapsed.  I just could not find that video.  I miss his form of comedy.

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 23 days ago

Raymond  Merry Christmas to you as well stay tuned for my Panatone Post:))Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) 22 days ago

Fruit cake is one if my favorite holiday tradition! I loved your post. 
thus remind me my grandmother and all her memories.

 Thank you for sharing. Happy holidays 

Posted by AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS, Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL (Keyes Co. ) 22 days ago

Great job on the feature this week...well deserved!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) 22 days ago

Endre Barath, Jr., I am looking forward to your Panatone post.  I am sure it will be a good one!

Thank you AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS, I am glad you enjoyed the post and it made you remember some fond memories of your grandmother.

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 22 days ago

Thank you very much, Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®.  I was surprised, for sure.  

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 22 days ago

Hi Raymond,
I've never met a fruitcake I like but the rum part is appealing. I would certainly try your and I do like your tips... especially the one about how to tell when it's done. Maybe that is the big trick into it not being hard as a rock.

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) 22 days ago

Hi Carol Williams, I have tried that trick twice, once for the fruitcake and once for some cranberry bread that I made.  Each time they came out just about perfect.  I was pretty surprised that a meat thermometer works on bread and fruitcake.  I just tried my fruitcake yesterday.   It was good.  I will make it again.  Thank you for stopping by and hope you had a great Christmas!

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 22 days ago

This would have been a perfect gift for 2020!  Just wish you had been featured last week....

Posted by Jana Holmstrup (Jana Holmstrup - CCO - Kings Mortgage Services, Inc.) 21 days ago

Thank you Jana Holmstrup.  I had the idea for the post a few weeks ago.  It took me that long to decide it was worthy of posting.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 21 days ago

When I was a young girl, my grandfather worked for Hostess Bakery. At Christmas time, he would bring home a couple of tins of their amazing fruitcake. I don't know if it was sold in stores; something in my old memory seems to think it wasn't. But it was the ONLY fruitcake I ever found that was actually a cake, moist and sweet, with the added fruits and nuts. Sure do wish I could have another slice of it. 

Posted by Anne Corbin, Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia (Long and Foster - Lake Anna) 20 days ago

It does sound good, Anne Corbin.  It is nice to have such great memories. 

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 20 days ago

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