fruit cake a British speciality, is a close, rich, heavy cake made by the creaming method, raised with baking powder and beaten egg. Up to half the weight of the finished cake may consist of dried fruit. In earlier centuries it was called plum (or plumb) cake, ‘plum’ denoting all kinds of dried fruits. Today the name plum cake survives (in the English form) on the mainland of Europe, though here it often means a sadly dry product without much fruit.
Fruit cakes are used as part of celebrations, such as weddings; see wedding meals and cakes. They also loom large among christmas foods and may make an appearance at christenings and birthdays. Many families have their own favourite recipes. Decoration is important; festive fruit cakes are usually topped with marzipan and covered with royal icing, suitably embellished with piping, cut paper, and little figures.