Fruitcakes take a lot of abuse. They’re the butt of jokes and maligned as doorstops or boat anchors. Ned Atwater—owner of several local shops making and selling fresh foods and baked goods, including Atwater’s in Belvedere Square—set out nine years ago to bring a little respect to the seasonal dessert. “People were skeptical,” he admits. “We gave out samples at first.” But, by using quality ingredients like local eggs, organic flour, toasted nuts, and Myers’s dark rum, and letting the cakes absorb the flavors for at least two weeks, he’s been gaining customers for the holiday sweet bread ever since. He also credits fruitcakes’ comeback to an interest in traditional recipes. “I think it has to do with the resurgence in old ways to make food,” he says. Now, his bakery is turning out more cakes each year in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Orders can be placed online at atwaters.biz. But probably the real reason that Atwater is so dedicated to this treat: “I love fruitcake,” he says.
Atwater’s elevates the bread from punch line to palate pleaser.
Issue date: December, 2011