Hot Plates: Fruitcake

Before it became the stuff of in-law jokes, fruitcake was considered a luxury, packed as it was with exotic dried fruits and nuts. Some talented chefs are kneading the joy and good taste back into this dessert.

ARLINGTON BAKERY Owner John Mathels boasts that customers from as far away as Italy and Spain call every December to order his cognac-laced, pecan-laden, Italian-style cakes. 187 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-646-7444.

CLEAR FLOUR BREAD This buttery German stollen is so packed with golden raisins, apricots, and currants, we’re still not sure what magic holds this rich cake together. (Perhaps it’s the snowy dusting of sugar.) 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, 617-739-0060,

LORENZ ISLAND KUISINE No mysterious neon-green fruit here: This Jamaican restaurant’s moist, nutless fruitcake gets its flavor from bits of finely chopped prunes, raisins, currants, and cherries, and, true to its heritage, a generous dose of rum. 657 Washington St., Dorchester, 617-506-6061,

OLEANA Pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick whips up a soft, chewy panforte—the official fruitcake of Siena, Italy—filled with apricots, figs, cherries, hazelnuts, and ginger. 134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-661-0505,