Looking for a memorable holiday gift? Think Beekman 1802 Generous Fruitcake. It’s studded with nuts, dried fruit, and soaked with booze. What’s not to love?

Beekman 1802 Fruitcake sliced on an opened brown paper wrapping

I don’t like fruitcake. I never have, I never…well, that’s what I thought until I received an unassuming brown paper package tied up with string. (Yes, meine liebchen, you can break out into song now.)

It was the Beekman 1802 Generous Fruitcake, from, of course, the Beekman Boys. Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge have had America in their thrall ever since the popular TV show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which chronicles their city-to-country move, first aired. I may have lied a bit about the package tied up with string. But The Boys do tie up their goat-milk soap with string. I took a bit of creative license. So sue me.

The “generous” in the name of the fruitcake doesn’t refer to the size of this blonde beauty, but rather Generous, the housekeeper to William Beekman, the original owner of the 19th-century mansion where The Boys now live, who was known for her liquor-laced holiday cakes. Weighing in at 1 1/2 pounds, the cake certainly fits the adjective “generous,” though.

Beekman 1802 Generous Fruitcake

What I love about the fruitcake is that it’s not that dark, menacing, brick-of-a-thing studded with so many pieces of neon-colored fruit it can be seen from space. Rather it’s loaded with natural dried figs, dates, dried apricots, golden and dark raisins, dried cherries, dried pineapple, pecans, and, mercifully, Laird’s Applejack. If that weren’t enough, the cake comes swaddled in brandy-soaked cheesecloth. The Boys explain that “as the cake is consumed, keep the remainder wrapped and continue to brush the cloth with your own brandy or spirit of choice. The flavors will continue to develop.”

Is it homey? Yes. Is it moist? Very? Is it all gone? Absolutely. The One, who is, shockingly, a fan of those shot put-like fruitcakes of yore, sniffed around this one suspiciously. It wasn’t treacly, it wasn’t heavy, it didn’t look like someone had baked a string of Christmas lights inside. But one bite and he was hooked. Since then, we’ve had it for dessert with homemade Licor de Leite sprinkled over top, for a snack out of hand, and for breakfast lightly toasted and slathered with salted butter. Ain’t no better recommendation than that.

Generous Fruitcake, $28 at Beekman1802.com


About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Hello David, I have been following you for a LOOOONG time and I have always valued your comments and opinions on pretty much everything you post. I will have to say this is the first time I don’t agree with you. I ordered one of these “fruit cakes” to try as I am a fan of fruit cakes. I am SO DISSAPOINTED in this one. The one I received was dry, barely smelling like brandy. When I cut into it I could feel how dry it was. It tasted stale and not fresh at all.

    I will be reaching out to Beekman 1802 as well. Keep up the awesome work yo0u do and Happy Holidays to you and yours!!!

    1. Anthony+Scott, I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m going to order another one right now. If I find the same thing, I’ll remove it from the site. Thanks for the heads up. And a happy, happy holiday season to you and yours, too.

    2. Anthony+Scott, the new cake arrived today. It was as I remember–dense and moist. It’s not a super-saturated, sticky fruitcake like others I’ve had (and don’t like). This one was cakey and moist. The brandy flavor is light, I will say that.

  2. Love this fruitcake, Love the Boys, love what they have done to all of us…engaging in social action, running races around the world, turning thousands into goat cheese, soap loving kinsfolk. Bravo, and thank you for this lovely write up~ be well, and Merry / Happy / Healthy~