No holiday food is more ridiculed than the fruitcake.
YouTube is packed with videos of people destroying fruitcakes in creative ways. A town in Colorado has a yearly fruitcake flinging event.
What I consider my fruitcake awakening happened years ago, when I clipped a recipe for Arkansas Fig Fruitcake from a newspaper and baked a few as Christmas presents. No chewy nuggets, no cheesy colors. Just dried fruit and nuts. The grateful recipients — at least they said they were — praised the rich, fruity flavor and the moistness achieved without so much as a drop of brandy. I made the cake for a few years, then forgot about it.
Until this year, when it was time to start thinking about holiday gift baking. The fig fruitcake came to mind, and I wondered whether I could find other worthy recipes that didn’t rely on sugar-injected fruit and buckets of booze.
It turns out I could.