The Best Fruitcake For Fruitcake Haters, According To Prue Leith - Exclusive

Is any traditional holiday food as widely disrespected as fruitcake? Perhaps candy corn, but other than that, we can't think of any other seasonal treat that's viewed with as much scorn as this dense Christmas confection. There is, of course, the classic joke credited to Johnny Carson: "There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other" (via PBS). However, though many people detest fruitcake for its dense texture and rainbow-hued collection of dried fruits, it clearly still retains fans, as millions are sold every year in the U.S.

In England, the traditional fruitcake is more elaborate than in America. As "The Great British Bake Off" judge Prue Leith told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview, "To make a proper Christmas cake, it takes ages — lots of fruit, you need marzipan and decoration and icing, and it's a whole performance." Nevertheless, at root, it's very similar to the American version: a super-dense cake chock-full of as much dried fruit as it can hold.

Leith recently paid a visit stateside to judge the culinary efforts of various athletes, actors, and comedians in "The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Holiday." We asked her if she had any fruitcake tips to help win over American fruitcake skeptics.

For fruitcake haters, emphasize the cake rather than the fruit

First off, it must be said that Prue Leith does not agree with the people who don't care for fruitcake. She's an admirer of many different types of fruitcake, including panforte, an Italian confection that skips the cake entirely in favor of pressed bricks of dried fruit. We're not saying you absolutely have to enjoy fruitcake, but if one of the world's foremost baking experts is a fan of the stuff, maybe you should give it another shot.

If you're not convinced by that line of argument, Leith does recommend another option. Instead of the dark, treacly traditional fruitcake recipe, Leith makes a fruitcake with a lighter batter and light-colored fruits. "It's an ordinary cake recipe with lots of fruit in it, dried fruit, but I make it with all white or light dried fruits ..." she explained. "The light-colored fruit tends to be a bit more acidic and less sweet, and that makes it delicious for fruitcake haters."

That sounds like a marvelous cake to us, but Leith acknowledges that some haters may still be left unswayed by this recipe. Still, it's worth a try. Leith said, "They might still not like the fruit at all, but it's the best kind of fruitcake for them because it's not too heavy and it's not stodgy at all."

You can watch "The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Holiday" now on The Roku Channel.