People who dislike fruitcake just never had a Golden Fruitcake, which has neither candied fruit peel nor candied citron. Citron is a nuisance melon that grows wild here.
One ingredient in Proper Fruitcake does grow in my garden: Pecans.
"As Christmas time approached, Sook made elaborate fruitcakes, dark and blond, to be given away to important people, and some not so important. This undertaking required much work and thought." -- Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory
My proper fruitcake has tasty fruits like glacee cherries and pineapple, golden raisins, a quart of pecans and/or walnuts, some coconut, perhaps a few dates, all held together with a minimum of rich cake batter. The exact proportions of the various ingredients varies by the cook. I have tatterred handwritten copies of various recipes of cooks who have gone on, including Mrs. Jimmy Hatcher's White Fruitcake.
Another, called Golden Old Fashioned Fruitcake I laboriously copied from Mr. Darcy Nicholson's own index cards shortly before he died. He insisted that I sit there and write down every word. Mr. Nicholson was a retired wholesale grocer, a Daylily fancier and a noted cook. Mr. Nicholson also grew the tallest castor bean plants I ever saw, at least 20 feet tall, treelike, in the center of the loop of his driveway.
His recipe includes 3 Tablespoons of rum or brandy flavoring. His Optional instructions are thus: Remove from oven 20 minutes before baking time is completed: brush top with syrup. Decorate with nut halves and candied fruit strips, pressing gently to make them stick. Return to oven for 20 minutes. Cool overnight in pan. Cake is better if baked 3 weeks ahead of time.
My MIL always put her cloth-wrapped fruitcakes in a clean lard can (a popcorn tin makes a good modern substitute) with apples. The cakes mellow and take up the fruity taste of apple. Delicious.
Once aged, fruitcake can be sliced very thin and if the cherries were left whole, gives a look of stained glass windows to the slices. A slice of Golden Fruitcake served with coffee or hot tea in a Sacred China Christmas Mug on a cool December afternoon is just delicious.
I skip through all that beating of batter and dredging of fruits and nuts in flour. Now I just add the fruits and nuts to flour that is going into oatmeal cookies and make Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Cookies, using half the sugar we used to add. If I want to really feel smug, I substitute canola oil for the butter. I could still make a real fruitcake, there's time.