Old Fashioned Fruit Cake

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Dense and moist, and brimming with plump raisins, candied fruits, and nuts, frut cake is a classic Christmas treat!

It’s as aromatic as it is delicious and makes a wonderful, make-ahead hostess gift!

fruit cake on a serving board

What is Fruit Cake?

Fruitcake, sometimes called Christmas Cake or Plum Cake, is one of the oldest recipes around! Originally, fruitcakes were prepared to preserve fruits and nuts by baking them in a dense cake. It has certainly been transformed throughout the generations into the festive, holiday offering it is today!

  • Gourmet: This easy recipe makes a loaf of fruitcake filled with jewel-toned dried fruits, nuts, and fragrant spices.
  • Make-ahead: Fruit cake should be made well in advance (even months in advance) and it freezes well.
  • Perfect gift: Homemade fruit cake can be wrapped in parchment paper and tied with a ribbon or twine for a thoughtful and personalized gift.
ingredients to make fruit cake including flour, sugar, currants, butter, walnuts, raisins, coffee, peel, eggs, baking powder, almonds, dates, cherries, and spices

Ingredients for Fruit Cake

Batter – Keep fruitcake batter rich and moist using grape juice (or apple juice). Use all-purpose flour, real butter, and large eggs for the best results.

Fruits – Dark or golden raisins, currants, dates, and candied cherries are the standard fruits for fruitcake, this recipe also has a kick of citrus peel to bring the flavors up a notch. You can find these ingredients in the baking aisle, however, I’ve included links above as well.

Ensure the cherries are candied or glazed, not maraschino cherries. The citrus peel can be orange peel, lemon or a mixture. As long as the measurements are the same, you can replace the fruits with other dried candied fruits such as pineapple or apricots.

Nuts – Walnuts and almonds are used in this recipe, but you can mix and match any variety of nuts, like pecans or even macadamia nuts.

Spices – This recipe only needs a dash of allspice and cinnamon to accent the other ingredients. You can add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or use homemade spice blends like apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice will really punch up the flavors!

fruit and nuts in a bowl for fruit cake
wet and dry ingredients to make fruit cake in separate bowls
ingredients to make fruit cake in glass bowls
fruit cake ingredients in a glass bowl all mixed together

How to Make Fruit Cake

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients as described in the recipe below.
  2. Cream the wet ingredients and add the dry ingredients.
  3. Fold in the fruit and nuts mixture. Pour batter into a prepared pan and bake.
  4. Let the cake rest for a few weeks and cut using a serrated knife.

While optional, I highly recommend soaking the fruit cake in rum or brandy. Dip cheesecloth in rum and wrap it around the cake before it goes into the refrigerator.

coffee in a bowl for fruit cake
cheese cloth and coffee in a glass bowl for fruit cake
homemade fruit cake ingredients covered in cheese cloth
slices of fruit cake and a whole loaf behind

How to Store Fruit Cake

Fruit cake should be refrigerated for at least 3 to 4 weeks before eating. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months and in the freezer for up to a year!

I leave the alcohol-soaked cloth on the fruit cake when freezing, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Festive Holiday Favorites

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fruit cake on a serving board

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Old Fashioned Fruit Cake

Homemade fruit cake brings warm holiday flavors with candied fruits, plump raisins, and crunchy nuts.

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes

Chill Time & Cool Time 2 hours 45 minutes

Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes

Author Holly Nilsson

  • 12 ounces seeded or sultana raisins
  • 4 ounces dried currants
  • 4 ounces candied citrus peel chopped
  • 4 ounces pitted dates chopped
  • 8 ounces candied cherries roughly chopped, red and/or green
  • 4 ounces walnuts chopped
  • 1 ounce blanched almonds chopped
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grape juice
  • 4 ounces dark rum optional
  • Place all chopped fruits and nuts in a medium bowl. Stir to combine

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.

  • Whisk flour, baking powder, allspice, and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

  • In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft and fluffy.

  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add grape juice.

  • Add dry ingredients a bit at a time, mixing after each addition. Fold in the fruit mixture.

  • Line two 8-inch x 4-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Fill the cake pans and bake for 70-80 minutes or until evenly browned.

  • Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for 45 minutes. Lift out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

  • Soak two pieces of cheesecloth with rum and wrap around each loaf. Cover, and let sit for at least a week. Repeat the process if desired. The cake may also be served plain.

Store fruit cake tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 months or in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Calories: 570 | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 696mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 378IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert

Cuisine American

© SpendWithPennies.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Please view my photo use policy here.

close up image of slice of fruit cake with writing
slice of fruit cake on a plate with writing
slices of fruit cake with the whole loaf behind, with writing
images of fruit cake slices with a title

Recipe Slightly Adapted. “Inexpensive Fruit Cake”. Recipe. Purity Cook Book. Winnipeg, MB, 1932. 50. Print.

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

See more posts by Holly

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