Moist, rich, dark Christmas fruit cake loaded with delicious all-natural dried fruits and nuts: no artificial candied fruits and no bitter candied peel. There’s just something nostalgic about this recipe!.
CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE
This fruit cake is also very dear to my heart because it has more sophistication than your average cake.
As you can see, their uniqueness is in their color, and they bear a distinctive flavor. They are dark in color, which is due to the molasses added to the cake and the molasses does not only add to the color but also the flavor.
This is a easy, fool-proof recipe that anyone can follow and achieve consistent results. Despite many ingredients, this cake is quick to put together. It smells heavenly and tastes even better!
DEFINING THE CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE
First, let’s get on the same page about what I look for in the perfect fruit cake. For me, an ideal cake has the following qualities:
- Quick bread chockful of dried fruits and nuts
- A good structure strong enough to accommodate the dried fruits and nuts.
- Moist, flavorful, and rich
If this is what you are looking for, then we are on the same page!
A CHRISTMAS TRADITION
For most people, Christmas cake is a tradition for them every Christmas season. However, many people dread the bitter taste , the candied stuff, and the dry texture of the cake. I do too!
This is not like the usual dreaded brick textured Christmas fruit cake. This cake is tender, moist, flavorful, and chockful of all na tural dried fruits!
While this cake is the perfect Christmas cake in many homes, it can also be served as breakfast alongside tea!
SOAKING THE DRIED FRUITS
There are two major ways to soak the dried fruits: the hot and quick method and the long overnight method.
- The hot and quick method requires adding hot boiling juice to the dried fruits. Mix and cover it up. It will be ready for use in an hour. Likewise, you can also mix the juice with the dried fruits and microwave for a minute, then leave to soak for an hour.
- The long overnight method requires soaking the dried fruits in juice or rum overnight before using them.
I always like to use the quick method, so while the fruits are soaking, I bring out all my ingredients so they can come to room temperature.
Where are the candied fruits?
Now, in case you are wondering, fruitcakes are known to be made with candied fruits. Yes, that’s true, but I’m not a fan of the over-processed candied fruits with lots of preservatives, so I opted for all-natural dried fruits without preservatives or sulfur.
Glazing the Christmas cake
I used brown sugar glazing, which is an equal amount of water and sugar. The glazing adds an extra hit of sweetness, and it makes the cake more moist!
Rum, brandy, simple syrup, vanilla syrup, or ginger syrup can all be used for glazing your cake. That said, we’ve enjoyed this cake, both glazed and unglazed in equal measure.
Feeding the Christmas fruit cake
Sine this fruitcake is made without any alcohol, you might be wondering if you can still feed it. The simple answer is yes!
Follow the following steps below to feed your cake:
- Use a skewer to poke holes over your freshly baked cake. Make sure the skewer goes down through the cake.
- Add about 4 tablespoons of cup your choice of alcohol, such as white rum, whiskey, brandy, cognac, or rum, over the cake. You can spoon this over the surface, but I prefer using a spray bottle.
- Leave to cool down completely. Then, remove the cake from the pan and wrap it with clean parchment paper followed by a foil sheet.
- Continue to feed the cake with about 2 tbsp alcohol every two weeks until you are ready to use the cake or icing.
Note: Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
How To Store fruit cake
It’s no news that fruit cake can last up to a year. The concern most people have is how to store the cake properly.
Note that: This fruit cake recipe is made without any alcohol, so it should be consumed within a few days of baking or tightly wrapped and frozen for up to six months.
Fruit cake can be stored in three ways: room temperature, refrigerator, and freezer.
- Room temperature: When appropriately stored at room temperature, this cake will last up to a year. However, the cake will need to be fed with alcohol and properly covered and stored. All you have to do is wrap the cake in a cheesecloth soaked in rum or other alcohol. Then wrap in plastic, then aluminum foil. You can learn more on how to feed Christmas fruit cake here.
- Fridge: Fruitcake will last two to three months in the refrigerator without spoiling, but again, it has to be properly kept in a ziplock bag.
- Freezer: Fruitcake will keep for a very long time in the freezer. I’m kind of ”a minimalist”, so I will recommend 12 months. However, I have heard instances where people store this cake for up to 10 years!
- Be sure to have all your ingredients at room temperature. Bring out all your ingredients from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results! Please don’t take any shortcuts here.
- I baked this cake in a 9 by 2.5-inch round cake pan, but you can also bake it in a loaf pan. However, you need to note that the baking time will change.
- This recipe calls for butter, which makes the cake moist and adds to it’s flavor. Don’ skip it!
- The eggs give the cake richness, so I recommend using three for the best result.
- 1 cup raisins golden 1/2 and regular 1/2
- 1/2 cup diced dried apricots
- 3/4 cup chopped dates
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 orange zest
- 1 cup orange juice or apple juice
- 11/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 1 stick
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 4 tbsp molasses
- 1 Tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup orange juice or apple juice
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans walnuts, or slivered almond nuts)
- Topping/glaze optional
In a food processor, chop the dried pineapple rings, dates, and Apricots. Add the chopped fruits together with the raisins, cranberries, and orange zest in a nonreactive bowl.
Bring the orange juice to a boil, add it to the dried fruits, stir, cover, and let it rest for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter a 9 by 2.5-inch round pan and line it with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, add the flour, allspice, teaspoon nutmeg, teaspoon cinnamon, ginger powder, salt, baking powder. Mix well.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg one at a time until well incorporated, scraping the bowl after each addition. Whisk in the orange juice, vanilla extract, and molasses.
Add the flour mixture and use a spatula to fold a couple of times until it becomes well incorporated.
Stir in the soaked dried fruits with any collected liquid and the nuts until everything is well combined.
Turn batter into prepared pan and bake for two hours or when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven.
If you are eating it the same day, leave it to stand for 5 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool. You can glaze with simple syrup, rum, or brandy. On the other hand, if you plan to age the cake, you can read the instructions to do that in the notes above. Enjoy!
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen