Throughout our nearly 65 year history, we've been asked lots of questions about fruitcake. Here are some of our favorites:
How do people serve fruitcake?
Some serving suggestions shared by our customers include:
with spiced, hot apple cider or eggnog
with warm brandy, Amaretto, or cream sherry
with hot buttered rum
with hot tea and lemon
microwave a slice for a few seconds and serve with vanilla nut coffee
put a few drops of orange juice on a slice and microwave for 10 seconds
straight out of the pan!
What is the best way to slice the fruitcake?
Cut across the width of the cake using a knife with a thin blade. We recommend 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut each slice into thirds. The cake is easiest to slice after aging a day or two. Keep the knife clean between slices.
How long will my fruitcake keep?
Rather than spoiling, the problem to guard against is dryness. If you want to keep the cake for several weeks, we recommend that you remove it from the pan and store it in a Ziploc bag. The fruitcake will also freeze very well. Store it in a Ziploc freezer bag, and it will keep as long as it is airtight. Many of our customers tell us they freeze and enjoy their cakes all year, since they can be easily sliced while frozen, and do not require thawing in order to sneak a taste at any time!
Where did fruitcake originate, and why is it associated with the holidays?
No one seems to know for sure, but fruitcake likely dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans. The Egyptians believed that fruitcake was an essential food for the afterlife. The Romans mixed raisins, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds with a barley mash and dried it to produce a hearty, compact food for the long campaigns of the Roman legions. Modern fruitcake is related to the English plum cake. "Plum" was a generic term the English used for any dried fruit. The English tradition of giving slices of plum cake to poor women during the Christmas season may be the beginning of the association of fruitcake with the holidays.
How did the Jinks Traditional Fruitcake get its start?
Gerald and Vi Jinks bought the Oswego (Kansas) bakery in 1954 and produced a full line of handmade products, including doughnuts, pastries, bread, cakes and cookies. Gerald developed the fruitcake we make today as a holiday offering for their patrons. The fruitcake soon became almost as well known as his doughnuts and grew into a regional holiday tradition. Today, nearly 65 years later, the exact same recipe and process for making the cakes are still in use. Gerald and Vi retired from the Oswego Bakery in 1990 and built a small shop at their rural Cherokee County home to continue making fruitcakes for the holiday season. Their son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Cheryl, assumed responsibility for the business in the late 1990s. Gerald passed away in 2003, but Vi still oversees production each year. From its beginnings as a holiday offering to the loyal customers of the Oswego Bakery, the Jinks Traditional Fruitcake has grown to serve a nation-wide mail order clientele and a growing number of retail vendors in addition to those who continue to visit the little country bakery for this ongoing holiday tradition.
How is your fruitcake different than others I've tasted?
As with his other products, Gerald insisted that only the best ingredients be used in the fruitcake. In addition to locally sourced pecans, he added cherries, pineapple, golden raisins, fresh eggs, and whole butter. There have never been any mixes, citrus peels, alcohol, low quality nuts, or fillers in our product. Each cake is made entirely by hand in small batches the same way Gerald made them nearly 65 years ago. Our fruitcakes are different than others because they're mild and buttery. They are bursting with big, golden pecans, and you can taste the candied fruit. You won't taste citron or alcohol when you bite into a slice of Jinks Traditional Fruitcake.