Ghosts of Fruitcakes Past
I'm a bit obsessed with fruitcake. Many people think it is a joke but I find it really delicious, even in less-than-gourmet forms. I've blogged about making them before so I'll go back and add the tags so you can see if I'm repeating myself. (in case you didn't know, if you click on a "tag" at the bottom of the post, it shows you other posts with the same "tag". like magic)
My Texan grandmother, Dorothy Fannin, always made what she called "blond" fruitcakes. They had the classic multicolored candied fruits and some nuts, but no alcohol and were very light on the spices. She stored her fruitcakes wrapped in foil in the freezer until it was time to eat or mail them. The freezing also made them moister and easier to slice than when fresh. She hasn't made them in years, but I completely understand - fruitcake is labor intensive and those multicolored candied "fruits" are surprisingly expensive.
Last year I didn't make any fruitcakes. The season change was hitting me pretty hard and I couldn't rally the energy. Things are going much better this year. We started off the fruitcaking season about a week before Thanksgiving with a vintage fruitcake tasting. (because that's what you do when you find dusty box of 2 year old food stashed on top of your fridge!)
I did a quick google and the consensus was "if it smells good, has no mold, and has been soaked in alcohol - safe enough to eat". I assembled a few lucky people and bullied them into trying the 2 year old cakes with me. It was tasty, if a bit dry, best chased with a little whiskey. A few people even went back for seconds. No one got sick.
So, fruitcake (when soaked in alcohol) really does last forever, but it tastes much better within 6 months to a year of baking.