The official start of summer is still days away and Robert Lambert just started making our holiday fruit cake order. We ordered a few hundred. They'll arrive in early fall.
Besides the new season's cake we're also going to have fifty cakes he made last year and cellared for us. Vintage fruit cakes. It's kind of a play on the joke that no one ever buys a fruit cake — we just keep regifting them. Jokes aside, aging fruit cake is not a sign of latent madness. The British have aged fruitcakes for, well, ages. Robert has aged them too, for fun, not profit. It was a taste of a cake he'd aged for seven years old that made me decide to do this. The results should be rather awesome. Like with aged wine, all kinds of new flavors erupt. Plus the texture changes, getting denser but also more moist, like gravity is turning the cake into a new material.
Above: a picture of Robert taken in the early 1970s. He'd just arrived in Southern California from Wisconsin. It was winter in Hollywood. I love it. It made me think: I totally have to get this on the vintage fruit cake packaging. I think we'll make it the cover of the box.
Below: this year's fruit cake garnish. Candied seville orange slices, cut with a mold, paired with fresh bay leaf.