If you are not a fan of fruitcake it is likely that you have been subjected to the introduction of mass-produced cakes in the early 20th century which took all the love out of the process, and just a lack of knowledge as to how to make a great moist cake. I defended the much-alligned fruitcake on national radio in the Great Fruitcake Debate.
Fruitcake can be traced back to the Middle Ages when dried fruits became more widely available in Europe, with regional variations evolving. Still, dried fruits were expensive to buy, and time-consuming for home cooks to make themselves, so the tradition of making fruitcakes for special occasions such as weddings and holidays gained in popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries.
This recipe will make one large loaf. I love making a number of fruitcakes for the holidays and slice into small portions as a homemade gift for friends and family. The trick is to start in October and let the cake mature a month or so before the holiday season.