2015 marks the 85th year of the holiday fruitcake tradition at St. Michael’s. There are no fruitcakes anywhere quite like these!
The history of fruitcakes at St. Michael’s started with the women of the parish, dating back to the 1930’s. It became a celebrated part of the annual Christmas Bazaar, which started in the 1950’s. People travelled from all over North County San Diego to purchase these famous fruitcakes. A brief pause took place during WWII due to food rationing, when the women of the parish decided that having no fruitcake was better than compromising on ingredients.
The fruitcakes’ special, secret recipe involves an extensive and timely process. All-natural ingredients are purchased locally at Bates Nut Farm. The nuts, candied fruits, and dates are chopped and put into 2 pound portions. With the prep work done, the group is ready for cooking day where all the fruitcakes are baked and cooled. The cakes are then wrapped in an alcohol-soaked cloth, then bagged, boxed and stored in the pantry.
After three weeks, the fruitcake boxes are opened and dipped in the alcoholic mixture once more. Again the fruitcakes are bagged and boxed to soak for another three weeks. After marinating for six weeks, they are ready to eat just in time for the holiday season!
Making these fruitcakes is not possible without the help of many volunteers. Working together in the kitchen always makes for a fun-filled day of fellowship and sense of purpose. Please consider helping to continue this special tradition. Volunteers even get to sample one, just to ensure that they live up to their reputation!
Written by Ginny Unanue, Archives Minister.