A traditional fruitcake is a must-have Christmas cake. Loaded with delicious moist fruits such as raisins, sultanas, cherries, and currants soaked in brandy overnight. This is a simple and easy dark fruitcake recipe that does not need much preparation.
The fruits used below are quite traditional but can be substituted for other dried fruits such as dates, cranberries, and more fruit peels. The alcohol used is again traditional but can be substituted with orange or cranberry juice for a non-alcoholic fruitcake recipe.
Apart from Christmas, a fruitcake is perfect for wedding cakes, christening cakes, and communion cakes during the year. Traditionally, a fruitcake would be iced with marzipan and royal icing. The modern approach these days is to ice it with marzipan and then cover it with fondant instead of royal icing.
A fruitcake makes perfect gifts to family and friends during Christmas and festive celebrations. As well as edible favors for weddings and other celebrations such as christening and communion. Instead of baking it in a 9-inch round pan bake them in these mini loaf pans. The baking time will be reduced considerably so check them at about 20 minutes.
Ingredients and substitues
- Flour – I use only plain, all-purpose flour (maida). But, you substitute ½ cup flour with either semolina/rawa.
- Butter – I like to use unsalted butter but you can use salted butter and omit salt in the recipe
- Sugar – today, I am using white sugar but light brown sugar does add a wonderful caramel flavor from the molasses
- Fruits -dried rainsins, sultanas, currents, glace cherries and fruits are most commonly used but I love the additon of dried figs, apricots, dates, and cranberries
- Nuts – a combination of almonds and cashews are very common but walnuts, hazelnuts and macadamia are very delicious too
- Treacle – Treacle is what makes this a dark fruitcake. If you do not have treacle you can omit it but the fruitcake will not be dark brown. More plain ivory. You can use 1 tbsp cocoa powder for color but do note that you may end up with a slight chocolate taste. Some love it very much. Personally, I like to keep it traditional and leave the cocoa powder out.
- 400 grams (14 oz) Raisins
- 400 grams (14 oz) Sultanas
- 400 grams (14 oz) Currents
- 200 grams (7 oz) Candied peel / mixed peel
- 200 grams (7 oz) Cherries
- 300 ml (1.25 cups) Brandy
- 4 large Eggs
- 170 grams (6 oz) Butter unsalted
- 250 grams (2 cups) All-purpose Flour
- 200 grams (¾ cups) Brown Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Orange zest
- 1/4 tsp Lemon zest
- 1/2 tbsp Treacle
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Alcohol for feeding
- 240 ml (1 cups) Brandy
Soak Fruits (preferably overnight)
- In a large bowl, combine the fruits and alcohol. Mix well. Pro tip – Use a glass mason jar or stainless steel bowl. Do not use aluminum or copper as it will react with the alcohol.
- Soak the fruits on the counter for an hour up to overnight or in the fridge for up to six months. Pro tip – I highly recommend giving it at least an hour to soften the fruits. The resulting cake will be very moist.
- When ready to use drain the fruit from alcohol. The remaining brandy can be used for feeding the cake after it has been baked. Pro tip – the fruits will be very very soft so handle them carefully.
Fruit cake batter
- Preheat the oven at 320°F/ 165°C/ Gas mark 3. And line a 9-inch round or 7-inch square cake pan with parchment paper twice. Pro tip – Line the pan once – spay it and line it again. This will prevent the outside of the cake from drying while the center cooks slowly.
- Dry ingredients – Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.
- Wet ingredients – Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add treacle, orange zest, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, followed by the eggs one at a time
- Dry to wet – Add the flour mixture followed by the drained fruits. Combine well but do not overmix. Pro tip – we do not want the fruits to sink to the bottom and the best way to do that is to prevent overmixing.
- Bake – Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 60 o 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean.
- Cool – When baked cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert on a cooling rack to cool completely. Pro tip – if you do not plan to feed the cake some of the remaining brandy can be poured onto the cake as soon as the cake is out of the oven.
Feeding the fruitcake (optional)
- Remove parchment baking paper around the cake. Gently poke holes in the cake with clean toothpicks or skewers.
- Pour the 4 tbsp brandy all over the cake. Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. Store it in a cool dry place. Feed the cake with 4 tbsp brandy once every 10 days for up to 3 months. Pro tip – You can also feed the cake once every month if you do not want to make it too boozy.
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