American vs. European Fruitcake

American vs. European Fruitcake
Posted in: Fruitcake, Community

The Difference Between European Fruitcakes & American Fruitcakes

Like many of the baked sweets we now enjoy in America, we can trace the origins of fruitcake back to Europe. In fact, the first fruitcake recipe on record dates all the way back to Ancient Rome! But that’s a story for another time. Today we’ll be looking into a few examples of European fruitcakes to see how they compare to the fruitcakes we enjoy stateside.

English Fruitcake

With America usually taking the “go big or go home” attitude towards food, the English Christmas Cake definitely gives us a run for our money!

Traditionally, the Christmas cake starts out simple: a standard round fruitcake. But after that, it’s anything but standard. English Christmas cakes are then covered with a thick layer of marzipan, a rich, sweet paste made out of almonds. They are then slathered in white royal icing and further decorated with Christmas scenes made out of icing. Outside of the Christmas season, you can also find this style of fruitcake served at weddings.

German Fruitcake

In Germany, fruitcakes (known as Stollen) don’t quite resemble their American counterparts.

Fruitcake vs. Stollen: Flattened with a chewy crust, Stollen is often baked more like a traditional loaf of sourdough bread. Stollen also forgoes the usual candied cherries and pineapple in exchange for citrus zest, candied citrus peels, raisins, and almonds.

Italian Fruitcake

Italy actually boasts claim to a few distinct varieties of fruitcake. The most well-known is perhaps the Panettone. Panettone, which hails from Milan, Italy, is typically served around Christmas time (noticing a pattern there?). They are traditionally filled with dried and candied fruits and have a distinctive light, airy texture.

But that’s not Italy’s only contribution to fruitcake. There’s also Panforte, from Tuscany. By comparison, Panforte is far more chewy and dense. Heavily flavored with spices, Panforte literally translates to “strong bread!”

Polish Fruitcake

A Polish fruitcake, known as Keks, is somewhat like a mix between a German Stollen and an Italian Panettone. Often baked in a traditional loaf shape, Keks deviates from the international standard of nuts, raisins, and candied fruits, by introducing figs into the mixture. Not surprisingly, the Polish kept with the pattern and usually serve their Keks around Christmas time.

American Fruitcake

Although we’re a little biased, we think we’ve saved the best for last! The American style of fruitcake has been a holiday tradition for families across the country since the late 1800s. It wasn’t until around 1913 that the Americanized version reached audiences abroad with the advent of modern mail-order food companies.

American fruitcake is far flashier than its European counterparts as it’s most often adorned with colorful candied cherries and pineapples, as well as many varieties of nuts. Traditionally, an American fruitcake comes served in decorated, festive tins, not unlike Collin Street’s DeLuxe® Fruitcake in a Red Holly Gift Box.

As you can see, American fruitcakes stand apart from their European cousins in a multitude of ways. But, while the style of baking and choice of ingredients may vary, one thing is for certain— people love fruitcake. From the spiced panettone of Italy to the fig-filled keks of Poland, families from all over are cutting themselves a slice of delicious fruitcake.


Thinking of Starting Your Own Tradition?

Perhaps you’d like to be like the British royals and on your special day serve fruitcake instead of wedding cake! Now, there’s an idea. A Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe® Fruitcake as your wedding cake? Now, that’s an idea to chew on. While you ponder, order one of our cakes to sample the tasty possibilities. 


September 29, 2020
Gail Koombes
October 5, 2020 at 3:43 PM
I had a fruitcake covered in marzipan with royal icing for my wedding 36 years ago. My Mother in Law made it. She was from Sweden
Collin Street Bakery
October 6, 2020 at 8:43 AM
That sounds delicious! Have you tried our fruitcake before?
S. Starling
October 6, 2020 at 12:29 PM
Been ordering your fruitcake for Christmas for over 30 years...maybe 40 years! It was my father's favorite cake! Truly delicious and great tradition. Although it is only the two of us at home now, my husband and I will have your fruitcake at our 2020 Christmas and leftovers for breakfast on into 2021.
Collin Street Bakery
October 8, 2020 at 11:56 AM
Thank you so much! We are so happy to be apart of your yearly holiday traditions.
Nancy J. Garcia
October 9, 2020 at 6:31 AM
The first time I had your Deluxe Fruitcake was in 1966. I was a Senior in High School. We had a fund raiser for choir. We sold the one pound Deluxe Fruit Cake in a tin for $10.00! The design on the tin was the same then only with a Light Blue base. I kept it for many years, I wish I still had it. I am I loved it then and I know I still would today. I am 72 years old and I would say that after 54 years comparatively speaking to the time passed the price is still very good. Believe it or not I haven’t had one since then, but the want is still there. Thank you for being there to appease my love for it and the memory of a special time.
Collin Street Bakery
October 13, 2020 at 12:03 PM
Thank you so much for sharing this with us. We are so glad you have enjoyed our products for this long. We hope you order a cake soon!
Verne Lee J Nagle
November 11, 2020 at 1:21 PM
I like any of the above, but Collin Street Bakery is definitely easier to obtain. I send a fruitcake to my sister every Christmas. Collin Street Bakery also makes great cookies, pastries and pies. It's an obligatory stop on I-45 between Houston and Dallas and points west.
Ian Stewart
February 27, 2021 at 7:06 AM
I'm from Australia, and I've had your fruit cakes twice, but many years ago. Since then, I've been making them myself, from various recipes, all probably English origin, and while I'm biased, i prefer the English style, and my latest iteration is outstanding, in my view, and my wife's view also, but she's biased, too.
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