The holidays will be here before we know it, and that means there’s a lot of planning to do. We need to get our decorations up, decide where to order a Christmas tree online, and do our holiday shopping. But we’re also planning our Christmas dinner menu, and that menu often includes fruitcake.
Whether sending a loved one a holiday care package or including a freshly baked fruit cake in a seasonal gift basket, you are going to want to send the best of the best this season.
What Are Fruitcakes?
Fruitcakes are pretty synonymous with the holiday season, and while they may be controversial in some circles, some families can’t enjoy the holidays without them. This cake is most-often made with candied or dried fruit, paired with nuts and a variety of warming spices. It’s also often drenched in rum or other spirits and is sometimes enjoyed decorated or with icing. While they are most often associated with the Christmas season, they are also very popular for weddings in certain parts of the world, for example in the U.K.
The Complicated History Of Fruitcake
Fruitcakes are often the victim of quite a bit of judgment and food humor, and have historically had something of a bad reputation. But it’s important to remember that as with any other food, there are bad fruitcakes and good fruitcakes. This misunderstood dessert is often quite delightful!
Any fruitcake fan though will be quick to share what they love about this traditional dessert. There’s much to appreciate about a fruity cake that is often spicy and filled with alcohol. It also is incredibly well tuned to customization, as you can make your own decisions on which fruit to include, and how the fruit will be enjoyed. Will your cake have candied fruit, or dried fruit? What type of nuts and spices? Which spirit will you include? There are so many ways to make this cake your own and create a new tradition to be enjoyed for generations.
But a great fruitcake is not dry and dense, as the unfair reputation suggests, but moist and flavorful. It’s festive and colorful and as picture-perfect as it is a great dessert to enjoy while sipping eggnog and trimming the Christmas tree.
No need to go through the trouble of making your own fruitcake this season, either. There are plenty of great ones available online, ready to be shipped in time for the holidays.
The Best Fruitcakes to Order Online
Harry & David Grand Traditional Fruitcake – $34.99
Harry & David knows a thing or two about entertaining and they are well known for their gift boxes of pears, but their fruitcake is very special as well. The Harry & David Grand Traditional Fruitcake ($34.99) is delivered bakery fresh in a collectible tin and loaded with pineapple, raisins, walnuts, pecans and glacé cherries.
Ackroyd’s Fruitcake – $19.99
This is not the fruitcake we are accustomed to, loaded with preservatives. Fruitcakes from Ackroyd’s are the next level, filled with yummy dates, raisins, sultanas, currants, candied orange peel and walnuts. And don’t worry about that something extra: Dark rum positively drenches the whole cake. Each fruit cake is cooked by hand, in small quantities, on the day it is ordered during the Christmas rush. The Ackroyd’s Bakery Fruitcake ($20) is a must for the holiday season.
Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes
What can be better than spending the holiday enjoying a fruitcake that is favored by royalty? Eat like a king (or a duchess, in this case!) this Christmas, with these dark, rich, delicious fruitcakes made by a team of Missouri monks using a recipe made by Jean-Pierre Augé, a chef who worked in the kitchen of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes ($38) are, much like the royal family, steeped in tradition and history.
Giusto Sapore Italian Panettone Original Gourmet Bread – $19.99
Giusto Sapore’s authentic Italian imported Panettone ($19.99 on Amazon) is decadent and rich, and that’s thanks to a recipe rich in butter, raisins and candied fruit like oranges. It has a very Italian flair, and is best enjoyed toasted with some powdered sugar and a hot cup of coffee.
Claxton Fruit Cake – $24.95
The Claxton Fruit Cake Regular Recipe ($24.95) is a fruitcake perfect for those who love a dessert with a bunch of history behind it. Granted, fruitcake in general is steeped in tradition, but this specific brand dates back over a century, and is an undeniable classic. It was even featured at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair! The raisins, candied pineapple, walnuts, glacé cherries, candied lemon, orange peel, pecans, candied papaya and almonds will give it a nutty, savory and fruity flavor which is then flavored with imitation rum, for a classic fruitcake experience.
Williamson’s Spiced Fruitcake – $16.99
Sugar, spice and everything nice is effectively what you will find in Williamson’s Spiced Fruitcake ($16.99), which is packed with cherries, pineapple, raisins, nuts and a bit of cinnamon and spice. These cakes are based on a 150-year-old recipe, that has withstood the test of time — but it’ll get enjoyed pretty quickly when it makes it onto your table this holiday.
Collin Street Bakery FruitCake (DeLuxe Recipe) – $33.45
You know it’s going to be something special when it makes it to Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” holiday episode. The Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe Fruitcake ($33.45) is world famous, and when you taste it, you’ll know why. Filled with savory and sweet ingredients like pecans, pineapple and honey, this is a sweet and rich cake that will stay fresh all through the holiday season.
Gethsemani Farms Fruitcake – $41.20
Want to take a holiday party to the next level? One way is to add some bourbon! This spicy 2.5-lb. Kentucky Bourbon Fruitcake ($41.20) is made by Gethsemani Farms monks who have given the fruitcake tradition a bit of a Kentucky spin by adding a bunch of bourbon to the mix. Along with that Kentucky bourbon, you’ll find pecans, cherries, English walnuts and raisins, for a fruity, savory finish.
Trappist Abbey Fruitcake – $16.75
This fruitcake is so popular, it appears on Amazon’s best-selling fruitcake list. The Trappist Abbey Fruitcake ($16.75) is perfect for a holiday dinner dessert as it is rich and indulgent, with candied fruits (including pineapple and cherries) and finished with a heavy soak in brandy. This is one worthy of a stocking up on!
Eilenberger’s Bakery World Famous Fruitcake – $38.99
This is another fruitcake with a pretty rich history to back it up. Available on Goldbelly and sent direct from Texas, Eilenberger’s Bakery World Famous Fruitcake ($38.99) is based on a recipe that’s over a century old, brought over from Germany by its founder. The cake is packed with Texas pecans, cherries, tropical pineapple and golden raisins and is made in an egg batter for a lightweight and savory bite.
Gladys’ Bakery Czech Pecan Fruitcake Loaf –$55.95
Fruitcakes are unique in that they can take many different forms. This one has a loaf format, which makes it not only feel homemade but also easier to carry to Grandma’s for dinner. Gladys’ Bakery’s Czech Pecan Fruitcake Loaf ($55.95) is a loaf-style pecan cake covered with rows of cherries and pecan halves. This one is different from a lot of fruitcakes, not only in shape but in the absence of raisins or dates, meaning it’ll feel extra unique when you enjoy it.
Southern Supreme Gourmet Specialties 3-Pound Fruitcake – $38
Some pretty special fruit comes out of North Carolina, and this fruit cake is the fruit (so to speak!) of a family business, based in Bear Creek, North Carolina. The three-pound fruitcake ($38) is huge, and perfect for a large gathering of family and friends. Baked with a mix of nuts, golden raisins, pecans, cherries, dates and more, it’s sure to be the perfect dessert after a night of opening presents.
Anna Mary’s Gourmet Nutcakes – $15.99 to $53.99
This is more a nutcake than a fruit cake, which would be perfect for anyone who doesn’t like anything too sweet and fruity. The Gourmet Nut Cake 1-pound loaf contains over 70% nuts and fruit, with “just enough batter to hold it together.” There’s also a 28-oz. loaf option and 3- and 5-pound ring-shaped cakes to choose from. Check out all your nut cake options. The recipes from this family-owned business all stem from Anna Mary Byler, Amish Mennonite mother of 12. Her children currently operate the business, hand-mixing, hand-packing and hand-decorating the cakes in small batches.
Jane Parker Bourbon & Rum 16 Oz. Loaf – $29.97
Add some tropical flavor to your holiday dessert with the Jane Parker Bourbon & Rum 16 oz. Loaf ($28.97), which is made with bourbon and Caribbean rum. These fruitcakes are special in that they are baked in small batches and filled with raisins, glacé red cherries, glacé golden pineapple, orange peel and crunchy pecans.
Sunnyland Farms Gluten Free Fruitcake – $56.55
If there’s someone attending your holiday gathering with dietary restrictions, it’s important to keep them in mind when planning dessert. The Sunnyland Farms Gluten Free Fruitcake ($56.55) is safe for those who are gluten free, but delicious for everyone. It’s filled with pecans, dates, raisins, pineapple, cherries, cinnamon and cloves.
Zingerman’s Robert Lambert’s White Rare Citrus Fruit Cake – $75
You don’t get much more history than from this fruit cake, which is rooted in a British recipe dating back to the Victorian era. Robert Lambert’s White Rare Citrus Fruit Cake ($75) is made with citrus fruits, like blood oranges, bergamots, Rangpur limes and rare Japanese shekwasha, all handpicked and mixed with homemade Blood Orange Syrup, golden Hunza raisins and nuts soaked in cognac. It is then garnished with a slice of candied lemon and a cedar sprig, for a perfect finishing touch.
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