Baker puts heart, soul 
into abbey’s fruitcake

Whether it’s a deep-seated hatred, cold-hearted humor or blind affection, no other food prompts as visceral a reaction as fruitcake. It’s the gift that keeps getting re-gifted, a dish given wide berth at holiday dinner parties. It is the Brussels sprouts of the dessert world. For some though, it’s a luxurious treat, one with a heady aroma and dense filling. The task of baking this marginally beloved cake falls to the monks of Holy Cross Abbey.

Brother Christopher Harmon ships fruitcakes from the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. The monks have been making fruitcakes for nearly 40 years and sell them as a means of making money for the day-to-day operations of the monastery. They bake from January to September, with Christmas being their busiest shipping time of year. True to the nature of their order, they do as much by hand as possible. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Brother Christopher Harmon ships fruitcakes from the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. The monks have been making fruitcakes for nearly 40 years and sell them as a means of making money for the day-to-day operations of the monastery. They bake from January to September, with Christmas being their busiest shipping time of year. True to the nature of their order, they do as much by hand as possible. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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