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.

Ernie Polanskas, bakery manager at the Holy Cross Abbey bakery in Berryville, Va., holds one of the famous fruitcakes made by the monks on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. He says that they use a recipe that they got from Betty Crocker back in the 1960s which they have tweaked a little over the years. Their fruitcake is two-thirds candied fruits and nuts, and he says this fact, along with the fact that they steam it while they bake it, keeps it really moist.  (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Ernie Polanskas, bakery manager at the Holy Cross Abbey bakery in Berryville, Va., holds one of the famous fruitcakes made by the monks on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. He says that they use a recipe that they got from Betty Crocker back in the 1960s which they have tweaked a little over the years. Their fruitcake is two-thirds candied fruits and nuts, and he says this fact, along with the fact that they steam it while they bake it, keeps it really moist. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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