So what makes a good fruitcake? Is it the red and green festive cherries, the plump raisins, or the nostalgia associated with the cake? It could be any of the three.
Fruitcake has a spotty reputation. Either you love it or hate it. In the South, it’s less of a joke and more of a holiday tradition. No regifting here, fruitcake is a welcome signal that the holidays are on their way.
Fruitcakes weren’t invented in the South, however, the plethora of nuts available helped them be less expensive to make in our region.
A lot of people have memories of fruitcake from family holiday times. And we’re shining a spotlight on a few businesses that are baking fruitcake, and while they all taste different, they keep the basic premise the same. Dense, rich, and packed with different textures, these cakes deliver the holiday feelings with each bite. If you don’t make your own fruitcake this year, consider these bakeries that ship to your home.
Backstreet Cafe is the award-winning brainchild of James Beard recognized Chef Ruben Ortega. He decided to take his own approach to fruitcake and has reimaged the classic. “I started with an old recipe that I have, and tweaked it to make it my own, using fresh and dried fruits, fresh juices, and warm spices and Texas pecans, and a little bit of brandy to add the perfect touch,” says Ortega.
The cake’s a little boozy, which creates a lighter product. Soaking the fruit in brandy makes it moist and flavorful. Backstreet Cafe stocks their special fruitcake in house, but also ship nationwide.
Claxton Fruit Cake
For me, there wasn’t a holiday without Claxton’s familiar nut-filled, bar shape fruitcake. My mother sliced and served it with coffee to most guests that visited during the holidays. It was right up her alley, full of Georgia-grown pecans, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pineapple, papaya, candied lemon, orange peel, and those bright red and green cherries that tasted more like candy than fruit.
The fruitcake has been produced in the town of Claxton, Georgia, the ‘fruitcake capital of the world’, since 1910. Southerners here recognize the iconic horse and carriage on the label and flock to gift and eat this version at the holidays.
Claxton Fruit Cake is available in a variety of sizes and can even be ordered in ClaxSnaks, fruit cake by the slice.
Southern Supreme Fruitcake & More
Bear Creek, North Carolina
This family business started with sales of a Nutty Fruitcake at a Raleigh Christmas show that became so popular, it helped make Southern Supreme Fruitcake & More into the large company it is today. Located in Bear Creek, North Carolina, those moist and chewy, nut-filled cakes are available in the company store, but also to mail to your home. Choose from 8 ounce slices to four and half pounds to get your fruitcake fix. If you’re in the area, book a group tour, and tasting of the bakery’s facility.
Collin Street Bakery
Collin Street Bakery makes their fruitcakes every day from scratch, just like they have for the last 126 years. Fruitcake started as one of the most popular products they offered and that’s still true today. The company believes in using the best ingredients, and plenty of them, averaging 27% pecans in their cake making it full of nuts and fruit and less cake batter.
The cake comes in a tin that’s reusable, becoming a collectable for customers as it changes every year.