This easy fruit cake recipe is 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.First published December 22, 2011...< itemprop="dateModified" content="2019-11-06">Last Updated: November 6,2019
Ingredients for Old Fashioned Fruit Cake
The one thing that always amazes me about this cake 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 ingredients 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.
- Eggs work with the flour to create the batter.
Fruit Cake Recipe: Love It or Hate It
I grew up loving 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 until the fateful day when I tasted someone ELSE'S fruit 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 cake on eBay for $30 ...and that was ten 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 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 FAQs
This recipe is rated: Easy
Here are the questions I am most frequently asked about this recipe.
Can You Ship Fruit Cake?
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 do you make a fruit cake in the oven?
This bakes slowly which helps keep it moist and delicious. A pan of boiling water is also added to the oven to create steam during the baking process.
Is this recipe healthy?
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 keep fruit cake 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.
Why does my fruitcake crumble?
The butter and sugar must both be present in the correct ratio to keep a fruitcake just right.
If you use too much sugar or don't cream the butter and sugar together sufficiently the cake may be crumbly. In THIS fruitcake there isn't enough batter to require that ratio - there's no butter because the candied fruit to batter ratio is so high that it's more like candy.
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 store a fruit cake?
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.
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. Overtime 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 holidays is all of the holiday baking! Here are some of my favorites -
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...
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I use these Pyrex glass loaf pans for 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.
Best Fruit Cake Recipe
This is the exact recipe my mom made. I have no idea where she got it but I do know that everyone who's tried it loves it!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars!
Old Fashioned Fruitcake RecipePrint Add to Collection Go to Collections
- 1 pound pecans
- 1 pound dates-pitted and chopped
- 1/2 pound candied cherries, (red and geen)
- 1/2 pound candied pineapple, (red and green or yellow)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla , or 1 tablespoon rum, bourbon, or brandy
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees (that is not a typo-TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY degrees)
- Place a pan with boiling water in the oven to create steam.
- Fill the pan as needed during baking.
- Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray and line with wax paper.
- Spray wax paper with cooking spray.
- Chop dates and nuts.
- Sift dry ingredients over fruit and nuts and mix in.
- Beat eggs until light, add vanilla and pour over fruit, mixing well. (you will probably need to mix with your hands)
- Spoon into prepared pans, pressing down gently to remove large air bubbles and spaces.
- Bake at 250 for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Let cool.
- To store: 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.
- This fruitcake 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.
- Don't use the "mixed candied fruit". It isn't moist enough and your cake will be dry and tasteless.