You may know that December 27th is National Fruitcake Day. You may know that fruitcake is traditionally served at British royal weddings. But did you know that the original wedding cake is fruitcake? It’s true, and for two reasons.
Firstly, fruitcake was once viewed as a symbol of wealth and prosperity due to its expensive and sought after ingredients , ie sugar, spices and exotic fruits. Therefore serving it was a show of financial status.
The second reason has to do with the fact that the tradition started in the Middle Ages, when food preservation was a problem. The high content of rum or brandy in fruitcake protects the cake from spoilage. The fruit in a fruitcake is also functional; it serves to attract water molecules that keep the cake moist. Add the fruit and alcohol together and you get a moist cake that just won’t (or can’t) go bad.
The virtual inability of fruitcake to go bad is a huge benefit to royal wedding cake bakers who sometimes require several months to decorate royal wedding cakes.