Fruit Cake

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Fruit Cake is a classic Christmas dessert cake with candied fruit, walnuts, raisins and a tender spice cake. Perfect for gifting or your morning coffee!

This Christmas, wow your friends and family with Ultimate Carrot Cake (which by the way is filled with the world’s best carrot cake jam), or a delicious, homemade Fruit Cake in your search for the perfect Dessert Recipe (check out all our dessert recipes!) for the holidays!

Slice of Fruitcake


Fruit Cake has been a holiday favorite for generations, and this tasty recipe is the perfect blend of new and traditional. It’s Christmas time, and you know what that means? Christmas cake! There aren’t many cakes that are more associated with Christmas than Fruit Cake, and this recipe is the perfect combination of time-honored and traditional with updated and delicious.

Plus, my Fruit Cake recipe is a great excuse to break out those super fancy loaf pans that you’ve been dying to use. This Fruit Cake has an incredibly reasonable cook time, and may just end up being the best Fruit Cake you’ve ever had.

A helpful tip for making Fruit Cake: once it’s done cooking, you should insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it’s clean when you pull it out, it means that the inside of the cake is solid and ready to cool off. If it comes back covered in batter, you need to put the cake back into the oven for a few more minutes to get it thoroughly baked.


  • Preheat oven to 300° and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  • Add your shortening and sugar to a stand mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs one at a time, then add in the vanilla.
  • Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and spices until just combined then fold in the chopped dried fruit and walnuts.
  • Pour the mixture into your loaf pan.
  • Bake for 90 minutes.
  • Cool for 10 minutes then remove from your loaf pan carefully and allow to cool completely before slicing or wrapping as a gift.


Fruit Cake in red loaf pan

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  • Fruit: You don’t have to just use the dried fruit in this recipe, you can mix in all sorts of other tasty ingredients like apricots, cranberries, currants, blueberries, and prunes. Mix and match them to change up the flavors of the cake without having to change the base ingredients, and you may find a new family favorite variation.
  • Toppings: When the cake first comes out of the oven and is still very warm, dust the top with brown sugar mixed with a melted unsalted butter. The warmth from the oven will caramelize the sugar and add a delicious, crunchy sweetness to the cake.
  • Spices: You can experiment with dashes of spice to get just the right taste. I recommend trying Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix or Apple Pie Spice to get a deeper, spicier flavor. Keep in mind that you should always start with a small amount of spice and add more to taste to avoid overdoing it and ruining the cake.
  • Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten-free, all you have to do is replace the shortening and all purpose flour. I recommend using almond flour or buckwheat flour. To replace the shortening, you can use Crisco or a little extra butter. While shortening isn’t usually made with gluten, most of them don’t specifically claim to be gluten-free, so it’s best to err on the side of caution if you have a gluten intolerance.

Fruit Cake Recipe


  • Who invented fruit cake? The ancient Romans. Although, there is an argument that Ancient Egyptians were actually the first.
  • What is the oldest fruit cake? In the oldest Antarctic base, Cape Adare, Robert Scott left a Fruit Cake during his 1910 expedition. It is still technically edible.
  • Why does Fruit Cake get such a bad rap? Fruit Cake tends to be pretty dense and has a specific, not terribly sweet flavor. This recipe is sweeter, has a spice cake flavor, is more tender and moist and more modern.



  • Serve: You can store Fruit Cake at room temperature for up to a month as long as you keep it in an airtight container. The Fruit Cake will get really stale if you don’t keep it covered.
  • Store: Properly stored in something airtight, Fruit Cake can stay good in the fridge for up 6 months before it turns rock hard and you need to throw it out. Never put a Fruit Cake away while it’s still hot from the oven. Let it cool down to room temperature first.
  • Freeze: You can keep Fruit Cake in the freezer for up to a year, you just have to make sure that it’s completely sealed and no moisture leaks in. If you’re storing a cut Fruit Cake, I suggest layering sheets of parchment paper in between them to make sure that they don’t fuse together over time. I also suggest eating it well before next year for best results.

Fruit Cake in gift tin

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Fruit Cake

5 from 8 votes
  • Yield: 16 Servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Fruit Cake is a classic Christmas dessert cake, made with candied fruit, walnuts, raisins and a tender spice cake. It's perfect for gifting or your morning coffee!


  • 1/2 cup red candied cherries
  • 1/2 cup green candied cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups candied pineapple , diced
  • 1/2 pound walnuts , halved
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat oven to 300° and grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

  2. Add your shortening and sugar to a stand mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.

  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add in the vanilla.

  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices until just combined then fold in the chopped dried fruit and walnuts.

  5. Pour the mixture into your loaf pan.

  6. Bake for about 90 minutes.

  7. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from your loaf pan carefully and allow to cool completely before slicing or wrapping as a gift.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 16 Servings, Amount per serving: 306 calories, Calories: 306g, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 90mg, Potassium: 214mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 66g, Vitamin C: 8g, Calcium: 47g, Iron: 1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Fruit Cake

Collage of Fruit Cake Photos

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  1. I forgot to say that I think a citrus flavor (any sort of orange, really) seems pretty essential to my tasting, which is why I add Grand Marnier to mine. I highly recommend at least one tablespoon of orange zest if you do not add Grand Marnier or triple sec to your cake. Looks great!

  2. …but, why is the rum gone?


    This looks great! Whenever I make fruitcake, I put the fruit and nuts in a Pyrex bowl, cover with Cognac and Grand Marnier (you could do brandy and triple sec), and microwave for 1 full minute to 90 seconds, let cool completely, and then drain and add them into the recipe. And I usually brush the warm cake with the leftover liquid after baking. Highly recommend that addition! And when you say to use extra butter if replacing the shortening, how much would that be exactly? I avoid shortening whenever possible.

      1. I’m confused. Your response in Nov. 2019 says you can substitute shortening with 1 1/8 unsalted butter. In this Feb. 2020 response you say 1/2 cup plus 1 TB butter.

        What did I miss?

  3. Can I make 2 at the same time? If so, would I have to adjust the cooking time or oven temperature? Can I drizzle with some rum or brandy once a week up until Christmas and wrap in cheesecloth and aluminum foil?

    1. It may need an additional 15 minutes in the oven if you decide to bake them at the same time. I’ve never tried drizzling with rum or brandy but it sounds amazing! Enjoy!

  4. The ancient Romans first made it? Who would have thought. I guess they were just bejewelling their breasd. What a delicious recipe I think this could work with almond meal instead of flour too. Have you tried it?

  5. No season can be called a holiday season if there is no fruit cake on a table, right? 🙂 I love how yours looks, so I should probably keep it somewhere on hand this winter!

  6. I’m not usually a fan of fruitcake, but this more modern version turned out amazingly well! It was moist, delicious and perfectly sweet!

  7. I love fruitcake but I know a lot of people don’t. I make my mothers recipe every year and I might also try your recipe because it sounds good. The only change I would do is switch out with pecans