Fruitcake baking begins for 2008

Nearly 5,000 Camp Courageous fruitcakes will be made in the camp’s kitchen over the next seven days. It is a monumental task undertaken by about 35 volunteers as a fundraiser to benefit the campers attending Camp Courageous. For those of you that aren’t fans of this holiday cake, take note that these are not your typical fruitcakes.

The Camp Courageous fruitcakes that are sold each fall/winter have a unique recipe that was given to the camp by the late board member Leigh Clark. His original list of ingredients combines the sweet fruit of green and red candied cherries, pineapples, pecans, English walnuts, Brazilian nuts, and a mix of golden raisins and sweetened coconut. Added is just enough cake batter to hold everything together. What you end up with is a one-pound fruitcake that has a great taste. Even better, these cakes do not contain alcohol or citron.

The volunteers, who donate 100% of their time, have no easy task as they measure, mix, bake, cool, wrap, and box these fruitcakes. It takes two days to process each batch of cakes, which means they are frozen one day after they come out of the oven to ensure freshness. For many, the baking days start well before 6:00 AM and don’t end until mid-afternoon. The early start helps beat any heat of the day (almost 90 degrees (F) on this day and quite humid).

Due to their richness, it’s best to keep these fruitcakes frozen until you are ready to slice it and serve. In fact, I’ve been told that if you try to thaw it first you won’t have much luck with making full slices. You’ll enjoy a great cool treat that was made in the camp’s very own kitchen.

So how can you get one of the famous Camp Courageous fruitcakes? I’m glad you asked. Your first chance to buy will come at the annual Camp Courageous Pancake Breakfast and Open House which is always held on the last Sunday in September. Make plans to attend this year on Sunday, September 28th. Each cake is $10.00 and all proceeds go to benefit the campers. Can’t make the breakfast? No problem. A list of locations in the Eastern Iowa area (and beyond) that will be selling the cakes is being formed right now.  Once the list is ready and the cakes are available that list will be posted on the camp’s web site. You will also be able to order online.

Remember that none of this would be possible without the dedication of the volunteers that set aside hours of their time for Camp Courageous. Their efforts are greatly appreciated. Watch this blog and the camp’s web site for more information as it becomes available on the fruitcake sales.  If you or someone you know would like to help sell the cakes then please contact Pam Mayo at or call her at 319-465-5916, ext. 2120.