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.

The fruitcakes made by the monks at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. are made with two-thirds candied fruits and nuts, meaning there is less cake batter to dry out. According to bakery manager Ernie Polanskas, the monks make about 10,000 fruitcakes from January to September, and ship most of them out during the Christmas season. He says they use an old Betty Crocker recipe that they have tweaked some over the years. It includes both sherry and brandy in addition to the candied fruits and walnuts. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

The fruitcakes made by the monks at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. are made with two-thirds candied fruits and nuts, meaning there is less cake batter to dry out. According to bakery manager Ernie Polanskas, the monks make about 10,000 fruitcakes from January to September, and ship most of them out during the Christmas season. He says they use an old Betty Crocker recipe that they have tweaked some over the years. It includes both sherry and brandy in addition to the candied fruits and walnuts. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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