Baking season. That and something else having to do with the birth of the Christ child. What’s it called again…? Anyway, what with everybody out there planning their ginger-almond bread puddings and vintage chocolate Bûche de Noëls, I thought it’d be nice to get down to basics with the all-time most undervalued Christmas confection: the fruitcake. I know what you’re thinking: boring. But I’ll be darned if a real honest-to-goodness home made fruitcake isn’t well worth the effort. And assuming I can convince you, now’s the time to get after it, since a good booze-soaked cake needs a minimum of two weeks to ripen. Two months would be wonderful, two years probably ideal, but then we’re working to a deadline here. Since our American cakes spring from at least two major fruitcake traditions, the English and the German, I figure why not cover them both? And since fruitcakes need not come from any fancy schmancy recipe source to be outstanding, let’s look at this classic spiced dark fruitcake recipe and this stollen. And no whining! This stuff, taken its proper context, is great.