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Dried fruit replaces traditional candied fruit, adding a depth of flavor to this delicious fruit cake recipe.

November 19, 2015

This is one fruitcake that won’t be re-gifted or used as a doorstop! This version uses dried fruit instead of the traditional candied fruit. It still needs to be baked well in advance — plan on at least 2 weeks to develop the full flavors. A wooden spoon makes a difference in this recipe, and this is where the whole family, in the English tradition, can have a stir.


  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup gold rum
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-and-1/4 sticks (5 ounces or 10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup apple juice, preferably unfiltered
  • 4 whole cloves, ground, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 6 allspice berries, ground, or 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1-and-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-and-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-and-1/2 to 2 cups toasted pecans, halves or coarsely chopped
  • Brandy for basting


Combine dried fruits, candied ginger and both zests. Add rum and soak overnight to re-hydrate fruit and bring out their flavors. As a shortcut, microwave fruit for 5 minutes.

Place soaked fruit and any liquid in a non-reactive saucepan with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. Stir occasionally while cooling, to prevent a skin from forming. If prepared in advance, this will keep, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.

Heat oven to 325 degrees and place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven. This prevents the loaf from cracking during the long bake time. Not as critical if you are making tiny loaves. Butter the bottoms of two 8-and-1/2 by 4-and-1/2-inch loaf pans.

Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large spoon, wooden if you have one. Stir in eggs, one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour. Check for doneness with the toothpick test. If it comes out clean, fruitcake is done. If not, bake an additional 10 minutes, and check again.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack. Baste top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.

Line a food-safe container with parchment. (This will make the fruitcake easier to remove.) When cake is completely cooled, place it in the lined container and seal tightly. Every 2 to 3 days, check on the cake. If it feels dry, brush with brandy. (Unless it seems gummy, brush with brandy anyway.) The cake’s flavor will enhance delightfully over the next 2 weeks. Three weeks is even better.

Great toasted and served with a spread of lightly sweetened whipped mascarpone cheese. The cake slices best when refrigerated first.

Cook’s Note: Fruitcake is expensive to make. We like to split it into smaller loaf pans to use as gifts. You can even split the batter between two 9-inch standard loaf pans. Just check for doneness at 40 to 45 minutes and use the toothpick test. If you have any leftovers, stash them in the back of the fridge and take them out to enjoy, even months later! You may vary the choice of dried fruits — use chopped prunes, dates, or figs. You’ll need about 1 pound, 6 ounces of fruit combined, exclusive of nuts.

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Is the rum essential in this recipe? Can it be made with something other than an alcoholic beverage?

The rum cooks off during the baking, but I would sub unfiltered apple juice in place of the rum if you want to replace it completely. I'd then add at least a teaspoon on rum-flavored extract to the wet mix. Rather than brushing the fruitcake with rum after it bakes (I think more apple juice at this point might get sticky, but if anyone tries it, let me know!) I'd just let it sit a couple days so the flavors can meld, then eat it like a super-delicious fruit and nut loaf.

Is rum essential in this recipe? Can it be made with something other than an alcoholic beverage?

Would you pls. add a 'print option' for your recipes!!! I've asked previously. Thanks (I'm a supporting Canadian Member.)

Hello Margaret,

Thank you for your comment and for your continued support of KCTS! Although we are unable to add a print option on the webpage itself at this time, the easiest way to print is from your web browser! We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

If you are in Chrome or Firefox, click on the menu in the upper right hand corner of your browser window (it looks like three horizontal lines) and select the print option. In Internet Explorer or Safari, click on "File" in the top left hand corner, and select "Print" from the menu that drops down.

You can also copy and paste the text from the webpage into a Word document, and print from there!

Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions, and thanks again!

Thank you for the recipe; it sounds wonderful! Could I possibly exchange the flour for brown rice and almond flour? I have both on hand and would like to make that change if it would not change the density or flavor of the cake. Thanks again!