It has been noted that to make The Reverend a very happy man, all one has to do is sit him down with a good cup of hot tea and a slice of fruitcake. Of course, as Christmas approaches, the opportunities to offer fruitcake (in the form of Christmas cake) proliferate and the Reverend is continually on the lookout for the very best offerings.

It probably doesn’t need to be said that the highest calibre Christmas cake is always homemade. This does not mean that just because Christmas cake is homemade it is necessarily exceptional of course.

What is true is that I have yet to taste a commercially manufactured cake that is anything other than merely mediocre. Unfortunately, and in spite of numerous examples to the contrary, I continue to be ever-hopeful.

Fruitcake Label

Consider the label on this nicely presented tinned Christmas cake I bought yesterday. Pay particular attention to that phrase: Authentic homemade recipe. Now it’s quite plain what the Woolworth’s people intend to convey with this, but seriously, it’s just one GREAT BIG LIE!

First of all, before we go into the semantics, who are they kidding with the basic pitch here? There were, by my rough count, around three hundred cakes in the stack that this one came from, and I think we can assume that this wasn’t the only Woolworths’ supermarket to feature this product. So at around 800 Australian Woolworth’s stores x 300 cakes, we’re looking at display stock of 240,000 Christmas cakes.

Whose home did they make these in?!! Donald Trump’s?!!

The idea that this cake was homemade, then, is plainly preposterous. So there must be some trickery in that phrase authentic homemade recipe. You can see where I’m going here, I know. Yes, when the lawyers go before the judge in the Tetherd Cow vs Woolworth’s Christmas Cake Action of ’08 they are going to say this:

But Your Honour, it is an authentic homemade recipe. Old Mrs Woolworth did really scribble down this recipe at home. Sure, we make the cakes themselves in a fifty floor stainless-steel factory full of conveyor belts and robots and digital cherry glazers, but the recipe was authentically made at home. That’s all we claim on our product.

The defense rests.

And the cake? Well, it wasn’t bad. Desperately in need of a good dosing of brandy, and a little wimpy as far as Christmas cakes go, but passable. Not even close though, not even remotely, to the delights I used to sample every year as the judge for Kate & Annie’s annual Christmas bakeoff.

After all, homemade is where the heart is.


Hey CowPokes!! Don’t Forget: the Christmas Competition is still running! Be sure to get yer entry in!