Apollo 17 Fruitcake
Eric Hartwell - March 2, 2007
Apollo 17 tested two new food types - irradiated ham and a nutritional
to AP news reports,
"Ham was selected because its cured flavor masks a slightly objectionable
flavor produced n the process. Aboard Apollo 17 the ham is in slices so that
it can be eaten in sandwiches with either white or rye bread.
"It is one of two new foods being tested in the flight — the other is a
fruitcake so nutritionally complete that a 6-ounce serving provides a third
of the daily nutrient and 2,500-a-day calorie requirements for each
According to the Apollo 17 Press Kit,
The nutritionally complete fruitcake provides all the nutrients needed by
man in their correct proportions. The fruitcake contains many ingredients
such as: soy flour, wheat flour, sugar, eggs, salt, cherries, pineapple,
nuts, raisins, and shortening. Vitamins have been added. The product is heat
sterilized in an impermeable flexible pouch and is shelf-stable until
opened. This fruitcake can provide a nutritious snack or meal. This food is
planned for use in the future in the Space Shuttle program as a contingency
Moonmen's Fruitcake Recipe
SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) — December 18, 1972 —
The Apollo 17 astronauts kept munching on their own special
fruitcake during man's last planned flight to and from the moon. You
might want to put it on your Christmas surprise menu.
At the request of The Associated Press, U.S. Army
Laboratories at Natick, Mass., scaled down the recipe for "Astronaut
Fruitcake" and tested it for baking in home kitchens.
The following recipe will yield about two pounds.
It may be baked in ten 3-ounce sizes or in two 1-pound coffee cans.
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons shortening
1 extra large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 cup light raisins
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup halves candied cherries
1/3 cup candied pineapple in 1/2-inch dices
1 cup pecan pieces
Mix and sift together flours, salt, baking
powder and spices. Set aside. Cream sugar and shortening
together thoroughly. Add egg to creamed mixture and mix
thoroughly. Blend in dry ingredients and water. Fold fruit
and nuts into batter, mix until evenly distributed.
Ten 3-ounce cakes: To form each
3-ounce cake, place 1/2 cup batter on 12-inch square of
heavy duty foil, or a double thickness of regular foil.
Flatten batter to depth of 3/4 inch. Fold sides around cake
batter, then fold up edges of foil so batter is tightly
wrapped and will not lose moisture during baking. Bake 1
hour at 300 degrees F. Allow to cool thoroughly - preferably
overnight - before unwrapping and serving.
Two 1-pound cakes: Place half the
batter in each of two 1-pound coffee cans. Cover top of can
with foil and crimp edges to form seal. Bake upright in a
pan of water in 300 degree F oven for 3 1/2 hours. Be sure
the foil does not touch the water in the pan, as it may draw
up water into the cake during the baking.
Source: Associated Press news release, published in various papers: San Mateo
Times - Saturday, December 16, 1972 - San Mateo, California, page 7.