How to Make Fruitcake Your Family Will Actually Eat

This fruitcake recipe is no joke—and once you learn how to make fruitcake, you'll be hooked.

Fruitcake is a classic Christmas dessert. It’s also one of the most joked-about foods of the holiday season. In fact, most people have never even tried fruitcake, but will poke fun at how terrible it tastes!

I’m here to tell you that you should give fruitcake another chance and learn how to make fruitcake that your family will request every year.

What Is Fruitcake?

Fruitcake dates back to ancient Rome and the Middle Ages, but its popularity expanded rapidly throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was considered a delicacy due to the cost of the ingredients. Each country began to make their own variations of this cake, and today, the traditional fruitcake is made with candied or dried fruit, nuts and spices and sometimes soaked in spirits.

The tradition of eating fruitcake around Christmas in America actually comes from a British tradition where the dessert is sometimes called Christmas cake or plum cake. The cake was rather popular in Victorian England as a dessert to serve for special occasions and Christmas. Even if you’re hosting a small Christmas this year, you’ll still want to include a fruitcake.

How to Make the Best Fruitcake

This top-rated fruitcake recipe comes from Taste of Home contributor Allene Spence of Delbarton, West Virginia.

how to make fruitcake sliceApril Preisler for Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups whole red candied cherries
  • 1-1/2 cups whole green candied cherries
  • 3 cups diced candied pineapple
  • 1 pound walnut halves
  • 10 ounces golden raisins
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Step 1: Prepare your workspace

This recipe calls for a dozen ingredients! Be sure everything is within reach. Preheat oven to 300°F.

Step 2: Mix wet ingredients

Combine the fruit and nuts in a large bowl.

In another bowl, cream the shortening and sugar until its light and fluffy. Then, beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add the dry ingredients to your creamed mixture and mix well. Pour over the fruit and nuts; stir to coat.

Step 4: Bake

Transfer the dough to a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 2 hours.

Cool the fruitcake for 10 minutes. Then, remove it from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap tightly and store in a cool place—like the refrigerator or even a cool breezeway.

You’ll want to bring the fruitcake to room temperature before serving. Be sure to slice with a serrated knife for clean pieces!

Editor’s Tip: Need some extra help with this recipe? Watch this step-by-step video to help you through the process.

Tips for Making Fruitcake

If you’re looking for your fruitcake to be well-received this holiday season, keep these tips in mind!

How do you moisten fruitcake?

You should store the fruitcake in a cool, dry place. To keep it moist, brush the top and sides of the cake with rum or brandy on a weekly basis. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. You can also soak cheesecloth in rum or brandy, wrap the cloth tightly around the cake and then wrap it in aluminum foil. Make sure the cloth is not dripping, but just moist. Resoak the cloth every week.

How do you make alcohol-infused fruitcake?

If you want to infuse your fruitcake with alcohol, you can soak the candied fruit in the same alcohol you will use to preserve the cake. Make sure that you use high quality spirits for better flavor. You can use rum, bourbon, whiskey and many other liquors.

What should I serve with fruitcake?

Serve with cheese such as Brie or sharp cheddar. As a dessert, fruitcake also pairs well with whipped cream, a drizzle of honey or ice cream. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how versatile this classic Christmas dessert can be!

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April Preisler
April is a food and travel lover, wine enthusiast, ice cream obsessed and the vision behind the blog, Food n' Focus. Her favorite cuisine is Italian and loves to cook international recipes.