Dense and moist, and brimming with plump raisins, candied fruits, and nuts, fruit 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 of ground ginger or use homemade spice blends like apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice will punch up the flavors!

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 at least a week and cut using a serrated knife.

Add a Rum Soak!

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.

How to Store Fruit Cake

Fruit cake should be refrigerated for at least 1 week 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

Did your family love this Old Fashioned Fruit Cake? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

fruit cake on a serving board
5 from 14 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

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
Servings 2 loaves
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. 
5 from 14 votes

Nutrition Information

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
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.


, ,

Like our recipes?
Follow us on Pinterest!

Follow us on Pinterest

Recipes you'll love

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

Follow Holly on social media:

pinterest facebook twitter instagram

Free eBook!

Subscribe to receive weekly recipes and get a FREE Bonus e-book: Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals!

You can unsubscribe anytime by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of emails you receive.

Latest & Greatest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Just found this recipe, but have a question. Can I use the precut mixed fruit (Its got all the fruits cut and mixed and sold as “Fruit cake mix” in the store) rather then all the individual kinds of fruit? I dont know about where you live but here it would be MUCH cheaper to just get the mix. Just use equal amount (minus the raisins and nuts of course), or do I HAVE to use the currents and dried peel (I know would be better with the peel, but the cost is just unreal here. And without looking at the ingredients the peel may already be in the “fruit cake mix” not sure). Anyway, would appreciate your thoughts on the subject. Thank you.

  2. I hate peel and glaced cherries. can I sub dried apricots, dried curries and nicer dried fruit? what aboutdousing the cake with alcohol when it’s aged longer?

    1. Those fruit substitutions sound great, Graham! We wrap the fruit cake in rum soaked cheese cloth and find that is the perfect flavor but you could try adding additional alcohol if you prefer. But I have only made this recipe as listed so I would love to hear how your alterations turns out for you.

  3. Just a question for you. In the blog it says to soak dried fruit and nuts in coffee. When you get to the recipe there is no mention of coffee or a soaking process. No mention of amount of coffee or how long to soak and are the fruits and nuts drained before adding to the recipe. This could add to a failed recipe as there may be more liquid than needed. Brad

    1. Sorry for the confusion Bradley. This was an optional step that has been removed for clarity sake. You could soak the fruit and nuts in coffee. I would add enough liquid so they are covered (about 1/3 cup) and allow to stand for about 3 hours. Then drain the liquid off before continuing with the recipe as written.

    2. Hi this is going to be made by my husband as my birthday cake this year Xmas Eve…..With my Scottish heritage it just tickles my taste buds..:)
      But does it have to be made in advance?
      Wish us luck!!!
      Merry Christmas

      1. It’s best made in advance. I would suggest making it now and letting it age a couple of weeks if possible! Happy Birthday!

  4. Your preamble indicates to soak the fruit and nuts in coffee, but there’s no mention of coffee in the recipe’s ingredient list, nor any instructions to do this in the actual recipe. How much coffee? Why coffee and not rum or brandy? Please clarify. Thank you.

    1. Sorry for the confusion Ali. This was an optional step that has been removed for clarity sake. You could soak the fruit and nuts in coffee (or rum!). I would add enough liquid so they are covered (about 1/3 cup) and allow to stand for about 3 hours. Then drain the liquid off before continuing with the recipe as written.