The Story About Why Our Fruitcake Has Holes
For over 125 years, the expert bakers at Collin Street Bakery have made millions of pounds of world-class fruitcake. Guided by the recipe and technique pioneered by our founder, Gus Weidmann, the fruitcakes we bake today are pretty dang close to the ones baked in 1896. Of course, we’ve updated the recipe to accommodate modern methods of baking, and our ovens are quite a bit bigger than in Gus’s day. But, besides small tweaks here and there, we haven’t strayed too far from tradition.
Take for example, the shape of our cakes. Baked in a perfect circle with a hole right in the center, today’s fruitcakes look how they did way back when. This iconic shape has visually set our fruitcakes apart from all others. But, that’s not the only reason why we’ve continued this tradition. We have discovered fruitcakes baked with a hole in the center truly taste better. But, that’s not just our opinion—it’s a fact. Keep reading to learn why.
Bursting Your Bundt Pan Bubble
In the sound of music, Julie Andrews sings, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” And, we agree. Our place to start is the baking pan. ‘Cause, let’s face it, you can’t bake a cake without some kind of pan.
Despite popular opinion, our fruitcakes are not baked in Bundt pans. This is an understandable misconception because Bundt pans are baking pans with chimneys—those vertical holes running through the center of the pan. Despite a rather similar style, it’s historically impossible for our cakes to be baked in Bundt pans, primarily because Bundt pans didn’t exist when Gus Weidmann baked the first DeLuxe® Fruitcake in 1896!
H. David Dalquist at a 1950s baking ware exhibit—Source: mnopedia
The History of the Bundt Pan
With its rather intimate connection to the stereotypical 1940s American suburban kitchen, it’s very difficult to believe the Bundt pan to be a relatively recent invention. But, in fact, Bundt pans weren’t invented until the year 1950, by a man named H. David Dalquist.
Dalquist was the owner of Nordic Ware Bakeware, a Minnesota-based manufacturer of high-quality kitchenware products. Sometime in 1950, Dalquist was approached by a group of Jewish women homesick for the types of desserts made in their native Eastern European countries. They were looking for someone to recreate a traditional Kugelhopf cake pan—a tall, ring-shaped pan with fluted sides and a chimney. Dalquist was more than happy to oblige, casting a shorter, aluminum-based, circular cake pan with distinctive fluting. Originally called a “bund pan,” after the German word for “bond,” Dalquist decided to add a “t,” enabling him to trademark his new product.
Largely because of its sentimental resemblance to the traditional European Kugelhopf, Dalquist’s newly patented Bundt pan was a huge hit amongst the small community of Jewish women who’d originally commissioned the pan’s creation. It wasn’t until 1966 that the Bundt pan’s popularity exploded when it was featured in the 17th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off. Today, more than 70 million households across the world are proud owners of Bundt pans.
If Not Bundt, Then What?
So, our DeLuxe® Fruitcake precedes the invention of the Bundt pan, making it an impossible candidate. But, that’s not the only reason. Cakes baked in Bundt pans are intended to be flipped. Meaning, what we see as the top of the cake when the pan is filled with batter, is actually the bottom of the cake when it’s fully baked. Seeing as though our DeLuxe® Fruitcake is hand-decorated before baking with huge pecan halves and glaceéd fruit, it’s not intended to be turned out like a Bundt cake.
Now we’ve clearly ruled out this option, the next logical question would be, “If not Bundt, then what?” The answer is simple, yet scientific–our fruitcakes are baked in ring pans. Makes sense right, seeing as though our cakes are shaped like rings with distinctive holes in the center? And, you see, it’s thanks to this very distinctive ring shape that we can bake the best dang fruitcakes ever created. Here’s why the shape is important.
The Science Behind Baking
Baking is an exact science, requiring accurate measurements, weights, temperatures, and times. Unlike cooking, where creative liberties can be taken–a dash here or a splash there– baking requires strict, almost mathematical precision. With the addition of every ingredient, a baker initiates a series of complex chemical reactions between fats, starches, and proteins which impact a cake’s texture, structure, rise, and flavor. Anyone who’s watched an episode of The Great British Bake Off knows this to be true.
Do you know who else knew this? Collin Street Bakery’s fruitcake founder, Gus Weidmann. He not only appreciated the science behind baking but, worked with it to create the ultimate fruitcake recipe. What’s even cooler, his accuracy and precision didn’t stop there. He extended his study of baking to the examination of the best baking medium–aka the pan. After trial and error, Gus discovered baking fruitcake in a ring pan yielded the best results. This is all because of the hole in the center of the pan.
A Hole-in-One Fruitcake
You see, when you bake a cake, the temperature of the batter must rise to a certain level for a certain period of time for it to be cooked through. If the batter is not baked long enough, it’ll remain raw and inedible. If the batter is cooked too long, it’ll become dry and burnt. Either way results in a fairly unpleasant finished product.
Baking times get even more complicated depending on the density of the batter. Thick, ingredient-packed batters, like fruitcake batter, take longer to be cooked through. But then, the struggle becomes baking the inside without burning the outside. If there was only a pan with some sort of hole in the center so the inside of the cake could cook at the same rate as the outside…but, wait–da da da daaaaa! A ring pan!! A ring pan enables our fruitcake to be evenly baked and beautifully golden brown while retaining its moist texture.
Additionally, because ‘ole Gus cracked this code for how to make the perfect fruitcake, each of our cakes can be baked with more batter in each pan. Fruitcakes baked in traditional loaf pans must be smaller in size or risk the baking dilemma mentioned above. Thus, when you order a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake, you actually get more bang for your buck. That’s the beauty of our hole-in-one fruitcake.
The Perks of Paper Pans
Keeping with tradition, our fruitcakes are still baked in ring pans today, but, we’ve found a way to modernize this method for maximum efficiency. You see, in the olden days, each of our fruitcakes was baked in a metal ring pan. Once the cake was baked and packaged, the metal ring pan had to be washed before reuse. This limited the number of cakes our bakers could turn out each day, a genuine problem when our fruitcakes are in such high demand. That’s why today, we use paper baking molds. Shaped just like the traditional ring pans, these paper molds eliminate the need for washing and drying between batches of fruitcake. This means we can make more fruitcakes, more efficiently, at a lower cost. Plus, each paper baking mold is all-natural and recyclable.
Shop All Our Cakes with a Hole
Collin Street Bakery’s crowning glory is, of course, our DeLuxe® Fruitcake. And while our Texas Pecan Cakes aren’t called fruitcakes, technically, that’s what they are. All baked in the same fashion, with a hole right in the center, all our fruitcakes are seriously tasty. Available in a variety of flavors, we guarantee you can find something that fits your fancy. But, enough talk. Let’s shop!
Made with crunchy pecans, hand-picked pineapple, and all-natural honey, our fruitcakes are sweet and delicious. With just one bite, you’ll understand why our DeLuxe® has been Collin Street’s crowning achievement for over 125 years. A classic dessert that truly lives up to the hype, our fruitcake is perfect for any season, event, or celebration.
Our Pineapple Pecan Cakes are made using our specialty honey-sweetened batter, filled with crunchy pecans and lush pineapple. Covered with pecan halves and chunks of juicy pineapple, this cake is as bright and fresh as a tropical breeze.
Our Texas Blonde Pecan Cakes are made using our specialty honey-sweetened batter, filled with crunchy pecans, lush pineapples, ripe cherries, and golden raisins. Decorated with a crushed sprinkling of pecan bits and baked till golden brown, this cake is as beautiful as it is delicious.
Rich honey batter surrounds ripe pineapple, golden raisins, nutty pecans, delicious cherries, creamy caramel bits, and semi-sweet chocolate chips to form this recent addition to the Pecan Cake family. Finished with just a sprinkling of crystallized salt, this cake tickles the taste buds with the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
Our Cherry Fudge Pecan Cakes are made using our house-made chocolate fudge batter, filled with crunchy pecans, ripe cherries, and chocolate fudge. Delicious from the first bite to the last, this recent addition to our Texas Pecan Cake family is quickly becoming a customer favorite.
Our Apricot Pecan Cakes are made using our specialty honey-sweetened batter, filled with crunchy pecans and tangy apricots. Covered with pecan halves and bits of real, glaceèd apricots, this cake is a delicious twist on a classic dessert.
Finally! Our world-famous fruitcake now has a gluten-free alternative. Made with crunchy pecans, hand-picked pineapples, and all-natural honey, our Gluten-Free Fruitcake has good stuff baked right inside. Presliced for your snacking convenience, now is your chance to savor the flavor of our Bakery's most popular dessert, minus that pesky gluten.
The Proof is in the Fruitcake
To fully appreciate why our fruitcake is the BEST ever made, you have to try it for yourself. Shop our entire selection of cakes with holes in the center today because as they say, the proof is in the fruitcake.