Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (2024)

Published: Last Updated: by Marye 1691 words. | About 9 minutes to read this article.

This easy fruitcake recipe has been in our family for years. It's full of dates, candied cherries, candied pineapple, and pecans that make it more like candy than a cake! No need to let it "ripen" it's great the same day it's made! This recipe makes 2 (5x9-inch) loaves.

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 1 hour hr 45 minutes mins

Total Time 2 hours hrs

Jump to Recipe

Next time try this bourbon cake!

Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (1)

Thiseasy fruit cake recipeis full of pecans, candied pineapple, candied cherries, dates, and just enough batter to hold it all together.

It's moist and sticky - more like a candy than a cake! It's a traditional fruitcake with old fashioned flavor and it's been a family favorite for generations.

Table of Contents
  • Ingredients for Old Fashioned Fruit Cake
  • Fruit Cake Recipe: Love It or Hate It
  • Fruit Cake FAQs
  • Why Is Fruit Cake a Christmas Tradition?
  • More Holiday Recipes from Restless Chipotle
  • You May Need...
  • 📞 The last word
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 💬 Comments

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Fruit Cake

The one thing that always amazes me about this old-fashioned fruitcake recipe is that there is almost nothing holding all of that sweet, sticky fruit together. Make sure you DO NOT buy fruitcake mix - you want to get each type of fruit called for individually.

  • Candied Pineapple chunks are called for but sometimes I haven't been able to find it and used the rings instead. Just cut them in chunks. Red and green are the most festive if you can find them.
  • Candied cherries are usually pretty easy to find. If you can use part red ones and part green ones it's prettier.
  • Pitted dates are what makes this cake sweet and sticky. I prefer to get the diced dates but you can get pitted whole dates and dice them yourself.
  • Pecans don't need to be toasted but I think they add more flavor.
  • Sugar is just granulated sugar.
  • All-purpose flour is what creates the batter that holds this together.
  • Baking powder is one ingredient that I add because mom always did - but honestly I have no idea what it does here.
  • Salt helps to balance the sweetness of all the candied fruit.
  • Vanilla adds a rich dimension.
  • Large eggs work with the flour to create the batter.

Fruit Cake Recipe: Love It or Hate It

I grew up loving dark fruitcake. To be honest, I could never figure out why people didn't like it.

To me, there was nothing more delicious than a piece of my Mom's fruit cake - moist, chewy, and candy-like; thickly slathered with cream cheese or butter. Even better if it was sitting next to a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmm - Christmas!

...And sugar overload.

That is, I didn't understand it untilthe fateful day when I tasted someone ELSE'S version of this traditional holiday cake. EWWWW!

I finally understood the jokes..the grimaces..the gagging. Right then I felt sorry for anyone who wasn't me, who didn't have access to this amazing stuff.

I mean, how could it be Christmas without it?

I used to sell this homemade fruitcake on eBay for $30 ...and that was twenty years ago or more! No one that has tasted this recipe doesn't like it...It is moist..and more chewy than cakey...there are no golden or dark raisins in it and no "junk" mixed candied fruit...

A few years ago I had the opportunity to interview the folks at Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas. I think they make the SECOND best fruitcake in the world. 😉

Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (2)

Fruit Cake FAQs

This recipe is rated: Easy

Here are the questions I am most frequently asked about this recipe.

Can you ship fruitcake?

Short answer: yes!
I have no clue where my mom got the recipe but she made it for her 6 siblings every single year.
Numerous fruitcakes were wrapped in waxed paper, then boxed, then covered with brown postal paper and tied with a string. It happened just after Thanksgiving just like clockwork. My job was holding my finger on the string so Mom could make the knot tight.
This Christmas cake was mailed overseas to my uncles during World War II ... it has been mailed overseas to my kids in the military. It always arrives perfectly intact and fresh.

Can you make this recipe ahead of time?

You can make in November and let it sit in a cool place or make it closer to Christmas..either way it will be great.

How long does a fruitcake last?

A fruitcake that's stored properly can last for years - not at our house though because we eat it long before it has a chance to go bad.

Does fruitcake have to be refrigerated?

Fruitcake will last a month or so at room temperature if it's properly wrapped. It will also keep for up to about 6 months in the refrigerator.

How do you keep a fruitcake moist?

This traditional fruit cake recipe is moist because of the baking technique and we've eaten the last few bites of it a month or so after making it - it's not dry. Just keep it wrapped. Some people wrap it in a cheesecloth that's been soaked in rum or brandy - and that's a good way to ensure it doesn't mold if you are storing it at room temperature for a long time.

Is this recipe healthy?

Short answer: nope. Fruit cake is high in calories and sugar so you probably shouldn't make a habit of having it for breakfast. Generally it's considered a holiday treat so whether or not it's healthy isn't usually a concern.

How do you store fruitcake?

et the cake cool and remove it from the pan. Leave the waxed paper on it and then wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil.

Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (3)

Why Is Fruit Cake a Christmas Tradition?

Fruitcake dates to ancient times when the Romans ate a satura cake, a mixture of barley mash, raisins, nuts, pomegranate, and wine.

Over time it evolved into fruitcake - with the candied fruit added to help preserve the finished cake during a season when fruit was not normally available.

It was popular in Victorian England, where it was called a "Christmas Cake" and the tradition was brought to the United States.

Fruitcakes were used as wedding cakes during Victorian times, as a matter of fact, partly because they could be made well ahead of time.

More Holiday Recipes from Restless Chipotle

One of the things I absolutely love about the holiday season is all of the holiday baking! Here are some of my favorites -

  • Baked Brie Cheese Appetizer with Apples and Bacon
  • Fluffy Gingerbread Waffles
  • Spiced Candied Pecans
  • Copycat Red Lobster Stuffed Mushrooms

And if you are thinking of parties you'll definitely want to take a look at these -

  • Gingerbread House Party is so much fun for the kids! I've been doing it since the early 1980s. You make easy houses out of graham crackers and let them decorate with all kinds of candy. SO much fun.
  • 50 Best Red Velvet Recipes because what's Christmas without red velvet? Seriously!!

You May Need...

The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

What’s new? A brand new store full of things to help you make the recipes, celebrate the days, and create the memories! Check outRestless Chipotle & Co. As always, thanks so much for being a part of Restless Chipotle!

I use thesePyrex glass loaf pansfor all of my bread baking whether I’m making yeast bread, quick breads, or loaf cakes like this fruitcake recipe. I love that they’re easy to clean and last forever.

Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (8)

📞 The last word

This is the exact holiday cake my mom made. I have no idea where she got the original recipe but I do know that everyone who's tried it loves it!

I can't imagine a Christmas dinner without it and a batch of her homemade fudge.

If you're a fruitcake lover, or you know someone who is, give this recipe a try.

If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!

If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖 Recipe

Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (9)

4.69 from 415 votes

Old Fashioned Fruitcake Recipe

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This easy fruitcake recipe has been in our family for years. It's full of dates, candied cherries, candied pineapple, and pecans that make it more like candy than a cake! No need to let it "ripen" it's great the same day it's made! This recipe makes 2 (5x9-inch) loaves.

Course Dessert

Cuisine Amercian Heritage,Holiday

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour 45 minutes minutes

Total Time: 2 hours hours

Servings:20 servings

Calories:350

Author:Marye Audet-White

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pecans
  • 1 pound dates, pitted and chopped
  • ½ pound candied cherries, (red and geen)
  • ½ pound candied pineapple, (red and green or yellow)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1 tablespoon rum, bourbon, or brandy

I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying purchases.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250° degrees (that is not a typo-TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY degrees)

  • Place a pan ⅓ filled with boiling water in the oven to create steam. Put it on the rack under the rack where the fruitcake pans will got.

  • Fill the pan with hot water as needed during baking.

  • Spray two 9-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and line with wax paper or parchment paper.

  • Spray wax paper with cooking spray.

  • Chop dates and nuts.

  • Add them to a large bowl.

  • Sift dry ingredients over fruit and nuts and mix in with your hands.

  • Beat eggs until light, add vanilla and pour over fruit, mixing well. (you will probably need to mix with your hands - it's messy.)

  • Spoon fruit cake batter into prepared pans, pressing down gently to remove large air bubbles and spaces.

  • Place the filled loaf pans onto the rack above the pan with hot water.

  • Bake at 250 for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

  • Let cool.

Notes

This is one of our favorite holiday cakes! During the Christmas season I'll even serve it with a little cream cheese for brunch. Watch the full video on YouTube - click here.

  • To store: let the cake cool and remove it from the pan. Leave the waxed paper on it and then wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil. Store in a cool dark place.
  • This fruit cake ships well. Just wrap it in waxed paper, then in aluminum foil.
  • You can brush this with rum or brandy if you like but I never do - it's good without it.
  • No need to let fruitcake age. It's delicious the same day it's baked.
  • Don't use the "mixed candied fruit". It isn't moist enough and your cake will be dry and tasteless.

You'll find more helpful tips and variations in the body of the post.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 51IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

First published December 22, 2011. Last updated October 16, 2021 for structure and editorial fixes.

More Southern Cakes for All Occasions

  • Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf
  • Cranberry Pound Cake
  • Red Velvet Poke Cake

About Marye

Meet Marye Audet, a wizard in the kitchen and a storyteller at heart. Marye is like your eccentric but fun aunt who knows all the secret recipes and isn't afraid to spill them. She's been around the culinary block more than once, turning simple ingredients into mouthwatering masterpieces. With a sprinkle of humor and a dash of wit, she makes cooking feel like a piece of cake (which she can also teach you to bake perfectly). When she's not conjuring up delicious dishes, you might find her sharing laughs with her family, reading by the fire, or scribbling down her next big recipe idea. Marye believes that a good meal and a hearty laugh are the best parts of life. Marye's a NY Times Bestselling author with 10 cookbooks under her belt and her recipes have been featured in Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Today, House Beautiful, Texas Living, Food & Wine, and many more.

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Reply

  1. Bill Langell

    Hi
    I use to love the collinstreet cake ( 50 years) but they have changed.
    I don't care what they say.
    It is so obvious, I'm sure others have noticed.
    Are there Chat rooms where people discuss how to recreate their older recipes?
    Around 1980's were the best, but even into the 2000's were still great.
    Thanks

    Reply

  2. Peter

    Okay. Planning ahead for next season when I try to make this for the first time versus buying the Collin Street Bakery fruitcake. I'm not a big fan of dates are they noticeable and or is there a substitute for them or not. Thanks

    Reply

  3. n. lily

    Marye- Thank you! It was delicious!
    I’d still like to know if you recommend a total of 1/2 pound cherries or 1/2 pound of each color?
    I have made fruitcake for years trying different recipes and YOUR’S is absolute best! No need for me to try another recipe! Thank you so much

    Reply

    • Marye

      The recipe calls for 1/2 pound but I like to use 1/2 pound each. I made them wiht 1/2 pound total this year and I didn't like it as well

      Reply

  4. Leslie

    Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (14)
    I am in process of making this fruitcake and hope it turns out well. The recipe directions don't reference the sugar (unless that is supposed to be powdered sugar and is included with the direction "Sift dry ingredients...") or candied fruit. Presumably, if it is powdered sugar, the recipe would say so, but...? Perhaps it won't much matter at which step I add the granulated sugar and candied fruit, but I'd have more confidence if the directions had been better reviewed prior to publishing.

    Reply

    • Marye

      The sugar is part of the dry ingredients in this recipe. It is not powdered sugar or it would say so. The instructions have been reviewed many times and this is the first time this question was asked despite tons of comments and over 400 4 and 5-star reviews.

      Reply

  5. Debra

    I will attempt to make this today so I hope you are able to respond quickly. Thank you in advance. I was only able to find dried pineapple, not candied. It seems to be fresh and is sweet. Can I use it as is or do I need to do something to it to use it in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Marye

      I've never used anything but candied pineapple so I really don't know how it would turn out. Sorry.

      Reply

  6. Ethel

    Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (15)
    I made this fruitcake today and it is the best I ever had. Thanks so much for the recipe.

    Reply

  7. Carol

    Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (16)
    Very easy instructions. I made this recipe about 2-3 years ago. This time NO ONE was selling red candied cherries! So I rinsed and dried maraschino cherries, chopped them, and added them as a substitute. I recommend them because they worked great and added a nice cherry flavor! The YouTube video is great too!

    Reply

  8. Michele

    I'm making this today(I LOVE fruitcake,but this will be my first attempt at baking one!) Can it be made in a bundt pan versus the loaf pans? If so,how should I adjust baking time? Thanks so much!!

    Reply

    • Marye

      I've only made it in loaf pans so I am unsure about how it would do in a bundt pan.

      Reply

    • Traci Wilson

      Michelle, were you successful with a bundt pan? If so what adjustments did you make? Thanks!

      Reply

  9. Arthur ray

    Do you sell them? Fruit cake

    Reply

    • Marye

      Nope.

      Reply

  10. Lori

    Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (17)
    Good flavours. For me it was a bit doughy

    Reply

  11. Gill

    Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (18)
    I used X2 Bundt Pans and the recipe turned out perfectly. Very similar to The Collin Street Bakery fruitcake that we used to get shipped to UK, but better! Love ,love, love it!

    Reply

  12. Jenine

    Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (19)
    This is the fruitcake of my dreams!! Thank you for sharing another great recipe Marye. I think this will make the table for my birthday also.

    Reply

  13. Jan Pryibil

    I would like to bake your fruitcake in small loaf pans. I’m wondering about the bake t8me these would need. Have you ever made them small? Thank you for a great looking fruitcake.

    Reply

    • Marye

      I've never made them small. I'd start checking them at about 30 minutes.

      Reply

  14. Jan Pryibil

    I would like to bake in small loaf pans. Have you done this? Wondering about baking time. Looks yummy. Thank you!

    Reply

  15. Hazel

    Hi, is the temperature 250 celcius or Fahrenheit please, thank you

    Reply

    • Marye

      Fahrenheit.

      Reply

  16. Valerie

    Would 2X recipe make 4 loaves or two? Making this again this year. They were wonderful last year.

    Reply

    • Marye

      I think it would make about 4

      Reply

  17. Michelle

    I have a very similar recipe and love it!! Where do you get your fruit?

    Reply

    • Marye

      Amazon or the local grocery store during the holidays.

      Reply

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Fruit Cake Recipe {Best in the World!} (2024)

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