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Holiday Fruit Cake Recipe

Updated on January 13, 2020
lizmalay profile image

I love baking of all types: cakes, biscuits, donuts, cookies, pies, bread, scones, muffins, and much more!

Christmas morning. My husband and I enjoyed a few slices of fruit cake while watching the snow's outside the window.
Christmas morning. My husband and I enjoyed a few slices of fruit cake while watching the snow's outside the window.

A Little Christmas Story

Before I was born, my father used to work for a Scottish man name Hugh for his large estate in Perak. He took care of his horses, his house, and sometimes he cooked for him and his family too. Every year during the Christmas holiday, Hugh often brings a beautifully decorated box and presents it to my father. When my father removed the box, installing inside was a pleasant fruit cake packed with candied and dried fruits. I love listening to my father's story when he was very young. Thus, from this story and to celebrate the holiday, I decided to make a fruit cake.

Fruit Cake Ingredients

I have tasted a delicious fruit cake, but very seldom I made the cake. Since it's been a while, I decided to prepare the ingredients a day before I started baking the cake. I thought it would be nice to make the cake for Christmas this year. By the way, to make a fruit cake it is always started by soaking the dried fruits with liquor or alcohol. For this recipe, I have used raisins, dried cranberries, glazed cherries, and orange zest. I wish I had sultanas in the mixture but, sultanas are not a common ingredient in the US supermarket.

By the way, some have preferred to put chopped nuts such as cashew and pecan but, I don't have any in the pantry so, I decided to leave them out. If you want to add nuts, just roughly chopped them (about 1 cup) and mix them into the cake mixture before putting them in a prepared baking pan.

Why Alcohol Is Used In the Fruit Cake?

It is said, alcohol dictates the fruit cake flavors as well as act as a preservative. Usually, brandy, dark rum or red wine is used to soak the dried fruits overnight. However, I decided to opt-out of the alcohol and substitute with the orange juice. I prefer a strong citrus flavor in the fruit cake.

Tips for A Moist Fruit Cake

A fruit cake usually takes 3-4 hours to bake or steam. This time I decided to bake the cake as my food steamer is not larger enough to fit the pan. Fruit cake is best when it's moist and not dried. To keep the moisture of the fruit cake, brush the cake's top with the strained juice or orange juice. After that, cover the cake tightly with a cling wrap and store it at room temperature. The longer it sits, the better the cake will be. Slice the cake when it's ready to be served. If you're using juice like me, refrigerate the cake after 3 days of being at room temperature.

By the way, did you know December 27th is a National Fruit Cake Day in the US? I guess it's a perfect time to bake one!

I hope you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do!

Happy holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (add 1/3 cup more if the mixture is very sticky)
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup mix dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, raisins, glazed red cherries, and 2 tablespoons orange zest)
  • 1 1/3 cup orange juice or grape or pineapple
  • 3 large brown eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1-2 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. To soak the fruit mixture: In a jar, combine the raisins, dried cranberries, glazed cherries, and orange zest. Add the orange juice into the fruit mixture and cover it with a cling wrap. Put the lid on the jar and store it at room temperature. (You can do this a day before and soak the mixture overnight).
  2. On the day of baking: Preheat the oven at 290°F.
  3. Strain the fruit mixture and set aside. (Save the strained juice for later).
  4. Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and dark brown sugar. Start mixing with lower speed to combine. Then switch to medium speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and pale.
  6. Lower the speed and add eggs one at a time.
  7. Add molasses, vanilla extract, and orange juice into the mixture.
  8. Add the flour mixture, in two batches. Do not over mixing. Stop the mixer as soon as the mixture comes together.
  9. Add 3 tablespoons of flour into the mixed fruits and mix well. (This is to prevent the mixed fruit from sinking to the bottom of the pan.
  10. In the same mixing bowl, add the mixed fruits. Use a spatula to combine the fruits into the cake mixture.
  11. Transfer the cake mixture into a prepared pan.
  12. Bake in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours. (Cooking time may vary).
  13. Transfer the cake onto a wire rack to cool.
  14. Use a skewer to poke random holes on the cake.
  15. Brush the cake with the strained juice or orange juice.
  16. Wrap the cake with a cling wrap to keep the moisture in the cake. Let it sit overnight at room temperature.
  17. Occasionally, the next day unwrap the cake and brushes the cake with juice.
  18. Slice the fruit cake when it's ready to be served.
  19. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea!

Photo Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
To soak the fruit mixture: In a jar, combine the dried fruits, glazed cherries, and orange zest. Add the orange juice into the mixture.Cover it with a cling wrap. Put the lid on the jar and store it at room temperature. Strain the fruit mixture. Set aside. Slice the orange and squeeze the juice. Set aside. Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In a stand mixer, combine the butter and dark brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the molasses. Add the vanilla extract. Add the fresh squeezed orange juice. Gradually, at the flour mixture. Mix the ingredients until it's combined. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour into the strained mixed fruits and mix well. This will avoid the fruits to sink bottom of the cake. Combine the mixed fruits into the cake batter. Use a spatula to combine. Transfer the cake mixture into a prepared pan. Smooth the cake mixture. After 3 hours. Transfer the cake into a wire rack to cool. Use a skewer to poke some holes on the cake. Brush the cake with the strained juice or orange juice. Cover the cake with a cling wrap and store at room temperature overnight. Slice the cake when it's ready to be served. Yummy and moist homemade fruit cake for Christmas morning.
To soak the fruit mixture: In a jar, combine the dried fruits, glazed cherries, and orange zest.
To soak the fruit mixture: In a jar, combine the dried fruits, glazed cherries, and orange zest.
Add the orange juice into the mixture.
Add the orange juice into the mixture.
Cover it with a cling wrap. Put the lid on the jar and store it at room temperature.
Cover it with a cling wrap. Put the lid on the jar and store it at room temperature.
Strain the fruit mixture. Set aside.
Strain the fruit mixture. Set aside.
Slice the orange and squeeze the juice. Set aside.
Slice the orange and squeeze the juice. Set aside.
Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine the butter and dark brown sugar.
In a stand mixer, combine the butter and dark brown sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Add the molasses.
Add the molasses.
Add the vanilla extract.
Add the vanilla extract.
Add the fresh squeezed orange juice.
Add the fresh squeezed orange juice.
Gradually, at the flour mixture.
Gradually, at the flour mixture.
Mix the ingredients until it's combined.
Mix the ingredients until it's combined.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour into the strained mixed fruits and mix well. This will avoid the fruits to sink bottom of the cake.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of flour into the strained mixed fruits and mix well. This will avoid the fruits to sink bottom of the cake.
Combine the mixed fruits into the cake batter. Use a spatula to combine.
Combine the mixed fruits into the cake batter. Use a spatula to combine.
Transfer the cake mixture into a prepared pan.
Transfer the cake mixture into a prepared pan.
Smooth the cake mixture.
Smooth the cake mixture.
After 3 hours. Transfer the cake into a wire rack to cool.
After 3 hours. Transfer the cake into a wire rack to cool.
Use a skewer to poke some holes on the cake.
Use a skewer to poke some holes on the cake.
Brush the cake with the strained juice or orange juice.
Brush the cake with the strained juice or orange juice.
Cover the cake with a cling wrap and store at room temperature overnight.
Cover the cake with a cling wrap and store at room temperature overnight.
Slice the cake when it's ready to be served.
Slice the cake when it's ready to be served.
Yummy and moist homemade fruit cake for Christmas morning.
Yummy and moist homemade fruit cake for Christmas morning.

© 2019 Liza

Comments

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    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

      Liza 

      5 weeks ago from USA

      A Mexican Flan? I never had one. Surprisingly, my husband never mentioned it to me. Every year, I visit his grandparents (Mexican food is the biggest influence in their family) for Thanksgiving, neither I have seen or tasted one. This is very intriguing.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      5 weeks ago from The High Seas

      I grew up in Australia with British family eating fruit cake and it's something that I like quite a bit. I introduced my Hispanic wife to it many years ago and she said she prefers Mexican flan. There's no accounting for taste now is there? ;)

    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

      Liza 

      6 weeks ago from USA

      The fruit cake was delicious. Thank you for your lovely comment, Heera :)

    • Heera Harindran profile image

      Heera 

      6 weeks ago from India

      Wow. The fruit cake looks yummy, especially the fruit mixture. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

      Liza 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      More surprises, actually my husband and his family never heard of sultanas before too :) I bet your daughter fruit's cake is delicious, Liz. I realize fruit cake is a popular tradition cake in the UK. In the meantime, in Italy, a sweet bread loaf known as Panettone is quite similar to a fruit cake.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 weeks ago from UK

      I was surprised to read that sultanas are not easily available, as we have them in UK supermarkets. This is the first year in a long time that I have not made a fruit cake for Christmas. My daughter made a very good one, which she moistened with whisky, as she had no brandy.

    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

      Liza 

      2 months ago from USA

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Shaloo. The fruit cake was delicious, indeed. I might be doing another one soon :) Happy Holidays!

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      2 months ago from India

      The cake looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

      Liza 

      2 months ago from USA

      Thank you for your lovely comment, MG Singh. I love cakes too. The fruit cake turned out really good :)

    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR

      Liza 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Linda,

      Fruit cake is one of my favorite cakes to bake during the festive season. It's tedious to make but, it's really worth it. By the time I'm replying to your comment, the cake is already gone :) Maybe next time instead of bake in the oven I'll steam it. Thank you for commenting. Happy Holidays!

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      2 months ago from Singapore

      I love cakes and this looks appetizing.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love fruit cake, as long as it's moist. Your recipe sounds like the type that I enjoy. Thanks for sharing the recipe and for sharing the tips for keeping the cake moist. It looks like a lovely treat for Christmas.

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