A slice of holiday fruitcake: Collin Street Bakery, TX

Just like the gift exchange at work, fruitcakes are a part of the holiday season whether you like them or not. But how far would you travel for a fruitcake if it was one of the most famous Christmas cakes in the world? Would you travel over 2,950 miles? We did!

Earlier this week we visited this gleaming white Southern-plantation-style building that houses the newest Collin Street Bakery location in Waco. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana has a reputation for great sweet treats and holiday gifts that travel well beyond their home in Texas. The attention to quality has created a loyal customer base.

This company, one of America’s foremost mail-order food companies, ships over a million of their DeLuxe Fruitcakes around the world each year. It’s the answer to the family-who-has-everything holiday gift dilemma. And set aside your preconceived notions about fruitcake. This confection is incredible.

Each cake is 80 percent fruit and nuts with no artificial ingredients. To ensure they have the most luscious fruit and best pecans, the company owns an organic pineapple and papaya farm in Costa Rica and the world’s largest pecan sheller in Corsicana. Cherries are bought from Oregon and Washington, and the golden raisins come from California.

The 100,000-square-foot bakery on Seventh Avenue (formerly on Collin Street, where the business originated and got its name), operates quietly for nine months of the year, producing a variety of cookies, cakes, pies, and the occasional fruitcake. But from October through mid-December, the batter flies and the staff swells from 100 regular employees to 700 to produce over 30,000 fruitcakes (75,000 pounds) a day.

Bakers make cakes in three sizes: 1 7/8 pounds, 2 7/8 pounds, and 4 7/8 pounds. The unbaked batter travels along three decorator lines where employees artfully arrange fruit and pecans by hand in concentric circles.

After the cakes are baked and cooled, they are placed in the bakery’s signature holiday tin that has been used for more than 50 years.

Rosaula, a friendly, dedicated, enthusiastic Collin Street bakery employee anxious to serve customers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t worry if fruitcake isn’t your thing. Collin Street Bakery makes plenty of other items that have attracted a devoted following. There’s a deep dish pecan pie, chocolate fudge pecan pie, white chocolate macadamia cheesecake, White House pumpkin cake, apricot pecan cake, and pecan coffee Bundt cake.

Hungry yet?

DeLuxe fruitcakes are synonymous with the holiday season

The Collin Street Bakery, which has been selling its famous DeLuxe fruitcakes since 1896 from a downtown store, now has three locations. A branch store and cafe, opened in late 2006, occupy a gleaming white Southern-plantation-style building in the new Corsicana Crossing shopping area beside Interstate 45 about 55 miles south of Dallas.

With the new store beside the interstate selling all of Collin Street’s goodies, you don’t have to drive into town for a treat—unless you want the 10-cent coffee traditionally served there.

Over a year ago Collin Street Bakery opened a third location on Interstate 35 just north of Waco (exit 338A) and another is on the way in Tyler. It was the Waco location that we recently visited.

Would you travel over 2,950 miles for a Collin Street Bakery DeLuxe Fruitcakes ? We did! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When we walked into the airy, light-filled room with floor-to-ceiling windows, we saw cakes to the right; artisan breads to the left; pies, cheesecakes, and pastries over there; and across the room, in a display case that appeared to go on forever, a ton of cookies of seemingly all kinds—and there’s always wonderfully delicious free samples.

The new locations also serve ready-to-eat quality fresh food. It’s made on-site by some of the friendly, dedicated, enthusiastic employees. Presented cafeteria-style are small or large sandwiches made on the bakery’s own unique breads, garden-fresh salads, home-style soups, and gourmet coffees and cold drinks.

To be continued tomorrow…

Worth Pondering…
Let Them Eat Fruitcake.

—Marie Antoinette, when asked what her starving subjects should eat. Her publicist dropped the “Fruit” for fear of causing an uprising. Thus “Let Them Eat Cake” became the famous quote. However, Marie didn’t really like her starving subjects much, and hoped that they would clue in and stop griping if she handed over all of her Christmas Fruitcakes. Instead, they cut off her head. It’s true! Really!

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