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Best Holiday Fruitcake

Best Holiday Fruitcake

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This easy Christmas fruitcake is perfect for the holidays. It's light, tender, and full of dried fruits and nuts. Sprinkle the loaf with brandy, or leave it out! Either way, this fruit cake is a welcome addition to the holiday table.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

Are you a fruitcake lover? Though this traditional holiday cake is often maligned (I guess some people don’t like candied fruit?), it’s wonderful when well prepared.

This fruitcake is our family’s favorite, packed with dates, walnuts, raisins, and glazed cherries. Think raisin bread, on steroids. The recipe comes from the wife of a family friend, Patricia, who for years sent us a loaf every Christmas.

We usually have to make at least two loaves—one to eat right away because we just can’t wait, and the other to sprinkle with brandy and save for Christmas day. These loaves also make terrific gifts.


Fruitcake is really just like any other quick bread or loaf cake, only with a lot more fruit and nuts added. You make a simple cake batter, stir in the fruits and nuts, and bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The resulting cake is dense and looks like a beautiful mosaic when sliced, with fruits and nuts in every bite. (Tip: Toss the fruits and nuts in flour before mixing them into the batter. This will help keep them evenly distributed throughout the cake during baking.)

You can sprinkle the cake with liquor (we like brandy), or leave it alcohol-free. The liquor will make the fruitcake more moist, and will help it last longer.


Fruitcake lasts longer than most other cakes because it is filled with nuts and candied fruit. It will last even longer if you sprinkle it with a spirit like brandy. Just keep it tightly wrapped.

  • Without brandy, the cake will last tightly wrapped a week or more.
  • With brandy, the cake can last a month or more.

How to Store and Freeze Fruitcake

Cool the fruitcake completely, poke a few holes in the top of the cake and sprinkle it with brandy if desired. Wrap the loaf tightly with aluminum foil and store it on the counter.

To freeze, wrap the loaf in plastic and then in aluminum foil and freeze for up to three months.

More Festive Holiday Treats

  • How to Make a Gingerbread House
  • Gingerbread Cookies
  • Cranberry Orange Nut Bread
  • Candy Cane Cookies
  • How to Make Classic Tiramisu

Updated December 23, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Best Holiday Fruitcake Recipe

Best to slice this fruitcake with a knife with a serrated edge, such as a bread knife.


  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped glazed cherries (can sub dried sweetened cranberries)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (divided into 1/4 cup and 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • Grated rind of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 ounces Brandy (optional)


1 Preheat oven, prepare loaf pan: Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with greased parchment paper or brown baking paper, cut to fit the pan.

Place one piece to run the length of the pan and stand up above the rim about an inch. Place the other piece or pieces to cover the other sides. When the cake comes out of the oven, you can easily remove it by holding the sides of the paper and lifting the cake out of the pan.

2 Mix together sour cream and baking soda: In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and sour cream; set aside.

3 Toss the fruits and nuts with flour: Combine the dates, raisins, cherries, and nuts with 1/4 cup of the flour and toss to coat the fruit and nuts. Set aside.

4 Make the fruitcake batter: Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg, then the orange rind, then the sour cream/baking soda mix.

Add the flour and the salt and mix together. Combine fruit/nut mixture with creamed ingredients and mix well to distribute the fruit and nuts evenly.

5 Bake the fruitcake: Pour batter into a prepared 5x9-inch loaf pan.

Place the batter-filled pan into the preheated oven. Place a separate pan of water in the oven either on a rack underneath the fruitcake or beside it. (The water will help with a more even, gentle cooking.)

Bake at 325°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Water may need to be replenished during baking.

6 Cool on a rack: Remove to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan. Let cool completely.

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum to store. If you want, you can poke a few holes over the top of the cake and sprinkle on a few ounces of brandy or bourbon, especially if you would like to store the fruit cake for a while.

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Best 5 Ingredient Fruit Cake

This Holiday season make the best 5 ingredient fruit cake ever. Vegan , this cake is made with gluten-free flour, candied fruits, nuts, orange juice along with some zest and some baking powder in an Instant Pot. This holiday season spend time with your loved ones instead of the kitchen and wow your friends and family with this cake. Video Recipe.

[avatar user="Anvita" size="thumbnail" align="right" link="" target="_blank"]Anvita[/avatar]

Fruit cake anyone? We just perfected this delicious holiday fruit cake recipe in our Instant Pot. Literally a dump and stir recipe that is not only delicious but made with minimal ingredients. Make it ahead of time or last minute in your Instant Pot, you are sure to please a crowd. This is the easiest and best holiday fruit cake recipe ever. I am so excited to share this with you today. Happy Holidays.

Is it worth it to make your own holiday fruitcake?! See a full breakdown on cost, nutrition, and taste vs. store-bought options!

This is a guest post by Anna Rider! Anna is a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on with the help of her physicist and taste-testing husband Alex.

One of the strangest things about holiday fruitcakes is how much everybody likes to joke about how terrible they are. Too dry. Too sweet. Too old.

Yet, fruitcakes are everywhere during the holiday season. People gift fruitcakes to each other. We share fruitcake recipes.

Are fruitcakes really that bad? Could it be that store-bought versions are truly terrible but homemade ones are secretly amazing?

We can test this hypothesis with a holiday-themed homemade trial to determine whether homemade fruitcakes can beat the store-bought varieties.

In case you’re new to the homemade trial series, we pick a food and make it from scratch. Then we compare the homemade version to the store-bought ones in the categories of TIME, COST, NUTRITION, and TASTE. Let’s dive in!

This Caribbean-Inspired Fruitcake Will Have You Coming Back for Thirds

It’s anything but dry, thanks to a few neat ingredients.

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Re-gifted fruitcakes are the butt of many holiday jokes — and for good reason. They last forever and tend to get harder and drier as time goes on. But have you ever noticed that people never re-gift regular layer cakes? If there’s, say, carrot cake sitting around, people are going to want it eat it immediately and then lick the plate it was sitting on. But what if you encountered a fruit cake that was as delicious as said hypothetical carrot cake? One that was tender and boozy begging to be eaten right away? Meet Vallery Lomas’s Holiday Fruitcake with Dried Fruit.

During a class on the Food Network Kitchen app, Lomas, a lawyer-turned-baker (like, a champion of the Great American Baking Show kinda baker), explains why her fruit cake is different than many of the classic versions.

For starters, it’s made with rum and Caribbean-inspired dried fruits like dried pineapple plus unsweetened coconut flakes. Bite into a slice, and the flavors will transport you to a sunnier, warmer place and time (if you aren’t there already, that is!).

Second, there are some major textural differences … meaning her cake is actually moist! And tender! And everything you’d like in a cake! Instead of using those little artificially colored green and red cherries, she uses naturally dried fruit that she nukes in the microwave in a bowl full of rum to really plump them up and infuse them with moisture. Often commercially sold fruitcakes are so dry because the petrified dried fruits suck out moisture from the batter, but that’s not an issue here. Moreover, Lomas includes plenty of rum in the batter and brushes the whole finished cake with even more rum for mega moisture.

Finally, the cake is baked in a bundt pan, not a loaf pan, so it looks like something made in this century — rather than a gift that the three kings came bearing. Want the recipe? Head over to the app and ready thy appetite, because if there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that you’ll be having thirds.

Position an oven rack in the lowest third of your oven and preheat to 250°. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan and set it aside.

Chop the candied pineapple into about &frac13 inch pieces. Cut the cherries in half.

In a large bowl, mix the pecans and fruit with 3 tblsp of flour.

Calling all chocolate lovers! This rich and decadent cake is loaded with candied apricots, figs, pineapple and ginger, raisins, walnuts, almonds, roasted peanuts, and chocolate, and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a dash of rum and a secret ingredient…dulce de leche.

This time of year, it’s quite common for our calendars to become crowded with events—from potlucks and bake sales to office parties and neighborhood get-togethers. And these scrumptious squares—packed with all the sweet, crunchy, goodness of real-deal fruitcake—will wow at every single one.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 cup chopped candied citron
  • 1 cup chopped candied pineapple
  • 1 cup halved red candied cherries
  • 1 cup halved green candied cherries
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup chopped almonds
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ⅔ cup bourbon whiskey
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 6 egg whites

On the first day, combine the candied orange peel, candied citron, candied pineapple, red and green candied cherries, currants, raisins, walnuts, and almonds. Combine the orange juice and the 2/3 cup bourbon pour over the fruit and nuts. Stir and then cover tightly. Let the fruit marinate in a cool place for 1 full day, or at least 20 hours.

On the second day, line two 9x5 inch loaf pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease the inside with cooking spray. Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a whisk to blend.

In a separate large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Stir in the egg yolks until blended and then mix in the applesauce, the 1/2 cup bourbon, and vanilla until fluffy. Continue stirring, and add the the flour mixture gradually until well combined. Add the molasses and stir to combine. When the batter is thoroughly mixed, gently mix in the fruit and nut mixture with all of its juices.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they can hold a stiff peak. Fold egg whites into the batter. Divide evenly between the prepared pans. Cover loosely with a towel and let the batter stand overnight in a cool, dry place.

On the third day, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Place a large baking pan on the bottom shelf and pour boiling water into it until almost full. Place a baking sheet on the center shelf and place the fruit cakes on the baking sheet.

Bake for 2 1/2 hours in the preheated oven. Check the water level and refill if needed. Cover the cakes with a sheet of parchment paper, taking care not to let it touch the shelf. Continue to bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour more. Cool fruitcakes in the pans, set over a wire rack. Once cool, remove the cakes from the pans, and leave the parchment paper on. Sprinkle with more bourbon if desired and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in a tin or other sealed container overnight before serving.

Video! The Best Holiday Fruitcake

Fruitcake is really just like any other quick bread or loaf cake, only with a lot more fruit and nuts added. You make a simple cake batter, stir in the fruits and nuts, and bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The resulting cake is dense and looks like a beautiful mosaic when sliced, with fruits and nuts in every bite.

You can sprinkle the cake with liquor (we like brandy), or leave it alcohol-free. The liquor will make the fruitcake more moist, and will help it last longer.

The 10 Best Fruitcakes to Order Online in 2021

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As soon as the holiday decorations go up and A Christmas Story starts playing on repeat on TV, you know the fruitcake is soon to follow. Every fruitcake is unique to the baker making it. And everyone has their preference for the kinds of fruit, level of spiciness, overall crumb, and addition of alcohol that make for the perfect fruitcake. But, a few ingredients are consistent in almost every recipe.

There likely will be brightly-colored jellied fruit. Embrace it. Most of the time, fruitcakes include cherries, dried fruit, pineapple, raisins, and candied citrus. In the United States, most fruitcakes are also made with pecans, as pecans are native to the South. Not surprisingly, the fruitcake tradition is strongest in the South and throughout Texas. Cakes made with less fruit, or at times of the year other than the holidays, are often called "pecan cakes" instead of fruitcakes. The cakes are typically decorated with more fruit and nuts and generally don't need icing.

If you've never had a fruitcake before, visions of dense, dry, or cloyingly sweet cakes might come to mind. But the good ones should never be dry or dense enough to throw like a rock. The best fruitcakes are just as moist and flavorful as your favorite banana bread. With traditional fruitcakes available from all over the world, there's bound to be one you enjoy. Whether you're an enthusiast or testing the waters for the first time, here's a roundup of some of the best fruitcake options available for delivery this holiday season.

7. Mrs Swearingen&rsquos Southern fruitcake recipe from Georgia

One pound of flour, one pound of sugar (brown preferred), one pound of butter, one dozen eggs, two teaspoonsful of baking powder, two pounds of raisins after they are seeded and clipped, one and three-fourths pounds of currants, two tablespoonsful of cinnamon, one level tablespoonful of mace, four nutmegs, one teaspoonful of cloves, two wineglassfuls of wine, one wineglassful of brandy, two pounds of citron, one small teacupful of preserve syrup.

After you clip the raisins and currants, roll in flour before adding to the batter. Bake very slowly. This quantity will make two good-sized cakes. &mdash Recipe from Mrs. W. E. Swearingen, Vienna, Georgia

Related Video

OK, my family is not crazy about citrus peel or too much candied fruit, so I substituted dried apricots, dried cranberries and golden raisins for about half of the fruit. Cake was a teeny bit dry, so next year I will soak dried fruit in orange juice before adding. Still. a very nice fruitcake. Will make again next year.

I have prepared this recipe 2 years in a row and it turns out beautifully each time. My family, most whom dislike store bought fruitcake, agree that this is the best they've had. I also age this for about 2 weeks with Appleton rum applied every 2nd day and wrapped in cheesecloth which gives it an extra flavour and moistness that is well loved.

Hello from An American Kitchen in Rio. Again I bless Recipes for Christmas fruitcakes are not to be found here. The Brazilians prefer Pannetone made with candied fruits or chocolate drops. Very nice, but when an American dreams of Christmas fruitcake the best she can do it bake one herself. I eliminated the lemon extract and used one tablespoon of my own homemade vanilla. I can not find the real stuff here so I covered some split vanilla beans in vodka. After 2 weeks I had a perfect extract. I substituted nearly all the fruit and nuts for what I found locally. 200grams of walnuts, 200grams of Brazil nuts (castanhas do pará) 200grams of dried apricots,200grams of bananada (a sticky sweet type of candied banana)and 200grams of dates. Everything was roughly chopped or quarted with sissors. I divided the dough between 3 small bundt pans. The day after baking I spooned a concoction of high quality apricot preserves heated with brandy over the cakes. I then piped white buttercrean icing stars around the top edge. We served it very cold to facilitate slicing. All of our guests had triple servings!!

I have made this recipe every year since it first appeared in the magazine. My family LOVES it -- actually I make several each year since my husband's co-workers always request one. The only change I make to the original recipe is that I use vanilla extract instead of lemon. Otherwise, I make no changes. This is a very light, or "blonde" fruitcake, very moist and not at all like the traditional, dark cake.

This fruit cake was very good. We were looking for a recipe to fit a fancy bundt pan we got as a wedding present. We couldn't find "candied" fruit so we just used regular dried fruit. Also, we could not find dried orange peel so we substituted dried apricots instead. We think it worked out great. It is a very pretty presentation too with the powdered sugar. One tablespoon of lemon extract is a bit much. I think perhaps half a tablespoon would suffice. We would definitely make it again.

Made this fruitcake but added some raisin and Glace Fruit [store bought in a plastic tub. . After baking and cooled wraped it in a soaked with Brandy cheesecloth then placed in the Refer for three weeks in a plastic bag. .

Watch the video: Jamaican Fruit cake. Christmas Cake. How to make Fruit cake (August 2022).