Posts Tagged With: Fruit cake

361/365: National Fruit Cake Day

If you don’t take a bite of today’s food, don’t worry: it’ll still be around, in pretty much the same exact form, 10 years from now. Or so the jokes go. December 27 is National Fruit Cake Day!

Fruitcakes are cakes made with chopped candied or dried fruit, nuts, and spices. They are dense and rich, with detractors complaining that they’re rock hard and nearly inedible. We can blame ancient Rome for this monstrosity; the first fruit cakes, containing a mixture of pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins – mixed with barley mash – appeared during Caesar’s heyday. They became popular all over Europe, and closely associated with Christmas, when fruit cake was often given out as a gift (and subsequently re-gifted). When made with alcohol, fruit cakes can remain edible for years! These overly preserved monstrosities get such a bad rap that a holiday devoted to getting rid of them – National Fruit Cake Toss Day – has been created (January 3rd). Hmm, this may have to become one of our first food challenges next year!

To celebrate, we bought a fruit cake from the grocery store. Took a couple bites and decided its reputation is well deserved. Blech! Overly sweet and dense pretty much sums it up.

National Fruit Cake Day

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

157/365: National Applesauce Cake Day

Today we’ve got a golden delicious treat for you: June 6 is National Applesauce Cake Day!

Cake has been around for eons, and applesauce dates back to the Middle Ages. But the two never co-mingled until fairly recently: during World War I, when a shady sugar shortage shocked the country. Cooks were urged to display patriotism by substituting applesauce for the sugar that cake recipes called for. The concept wasn’t entirely unheard of; Medieval European fruitcakes sometimes called for fresh or dried apples. Applesauce adds sweet flavor to a cake and makes it impressively moist. The cakes grew in popularity through the 1920s and 30s, before falling off the radar for a while. They were rediscovered in the health-conscious 90s, and seen as a healthier, low-cholesterol and low-fat alternative to a traditional cake. They are typically spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and make a perfect autumn treat.

But it’s June.

Nevertheless, we soldiered on (pun intended) and completed our challenge. We kept it simple with a yellow Duncan Hines cake mix and chocolate frosting. When you substitute applesauce for oil, you keep a 1:1 ratio, so it was easy enough to switch that out. Oh, and the cool thing is, last fall Tara and I went out to Hood River for bushels of fresh apples, and I made homemade applesauce. That’s what I used in the recipe, so in that sense, the cake is sort of “from scratch” too. And I have to admit, it turned out tasting pretty good! Just a hint of cinnamon-y spice.

Applesauce Cake

Categories: Desserts, Pastry | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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