Holiday Fruitcake

Singer Ashanti rides in a hot air balloon at the "Wizard of Oz" 70th Anniversary Emerald Gala at Tavern on the Green in New York, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009. AP Photo

Fruitcake has been called the Christmas gift that keeps on giving, because some say those who receive it just pass it on to someone else.

But the maligned food may be enjoying a renaissance. Early Show Correspondent Melinda Murphy spent time in a family-owned factory deep in the heart of fruitcake country.

Murphy says she grew up in Texas and all her life she has heard about a fruitcake made there that's actually good. So, she decided to visit Bob McNutt. His family has owned the Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, for three generations.

"We produce about a million and a half fruitcakes — 30,000 a day," says McNutt. "And we ship to about 200 countries around the world."

People at the Collin Street Bakery may joke about wearing hairnets, but they would never joke about the fruitcakes.

The company's fruitcakes are made from the same recipe brought to Texas from Germany 106 years ago. The baked good is made by pouring 70 pounds of pecans, followed by raisins, pineapples, papaya, orange peel, cherries, and flour, and mixing in a secret liquid batter.

The 500 pounds of batter are plopped into pans by machine with a little help from humans. Then the decorators go to work.

Murphy was fitting in fine at the bakery, but she was disappointed to learn that eating was off limits while she worked. A few customers visited the bakery that day and explained to Murphy that they traveled miles to buy the fruitcakes.

The fruitcake is so famous that letters addressed to "Fruitcake, Texas" from as far away as England actually make it to the Collin Street Bakery.

"And not just this year," explains McNutt. "They've been doing that for years."

Robert Polk is the bakery's Santa of sorts. For 31 years, he has delivered the mail and picked up the fruitcake — getting a sample whenever possible.

But is it better than fruitcake bought in the store? Maybe and maybe not. And some may not like fruitcake at all.

However, don't count Murphy's television crew as having distaste for fruitcakes. They devoured her cake, although it may not win any prizes for decorations.

To order a fruitcake write to:
Collin Street Bakery
401 West 7th Avenue
Corsicana, TX 75110
  • Rome Neal

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