Be Christmas quiz ready with everything you need to know about fruitcake. Impress your guests with Hattie Ellis' fruitcake facts


Fruitcake facts are a little known subject, but will come in handy over Christmas. Whether you are swotting-up for the local Christmas quiz or simply want to impress, take your guests by surprise with Hattie Ellis’ fruitcake facts. Who was Dundee Cake invented for? Which monarch introduced the tradition of Christmas fruitcake? Read on discover the answers, as well as many other surprising fruitcake facts.

Fruitcake will always be a part of the traditional festive feast, but sometimes the options can be overwhelming. Rather than loitering undecided in your local shop, let Hattie Ellis pick for you with her 6 top fruitcakes. From Fortnum & Mason to The Fabulous Fruitcake Company, make your choice safe in the knowledge that they will all make for a delicious Christmas cake.

To make an impressive Christmas lunch from start to finish, take our advice for your best festive feast yet. Canapés are a fail safe way to keep your guests occupied between present opening and lunch. Make fantastic canapés without the faff, read the three best Christmas canapé recipes. Bypass the traditional turkey this year for a lunch that will get everyone coming back for seconds. Learn how to make a three-bird roast, and leave your guests guessing what’s inside.


  • Fruitcake goes back to the celebratory fruit pottage made in Medieval times that came to be boiled as a pudding – the origins of Christmas pudding – or baked into a cake.
  • The tradition of a Christmas fruitcake, like Christmas trees, was introduced by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the 1840s, based on the Twelfth Cake, which was originally a yeast-raised fruited cake.
  • Queen Victoria’s wedding fruitcake was 2.7m in circumference and weighed 136kg.
  • Fruitcakes have some notoriety in the States, where ‘fruitcake’ means ‘nutter’, and Johnny Carson joked that there’s only one fruitcake in existence, forever passed on to new and ungrateful recipients.
  • Dundee Cake is said to have been invented for Mary Queen of Scots, who preferred almonds to cherries in her fruitcake.