Fruit Cake

Wait!  Before you hit the back button just hear me out.

Fruit Cake

I know fruit cake gets a bad rap, and most of the time it is well deserved.  Be it the candied citron, the fluorescent cherries, or insipidly sweet cake, most fruit cake is in fact very bad.  Terrible even.  I’m still asking you to hear me out, because I have created a recipe for fruit cake that is more than edible, it is actually good!  My husband and I hate fruit cake, and we BOTH went back for seconds.  Really.

Fruit Cake

So, how did I make a good fruit cake?  I started with fresh orange juice and zest rather than candied citron.  I used the juice to soak a mixture of dried fruit, which replaces the candied fruits,  to add moisture and extra flavor.  I also used a higher cake to fruit ratio.  Sepaking of the cake, I used some cocoa powder in the cake for color and flavor.  The subtle cocoa flavor work so well with the orange, and the rich color appeals to me.  This cake uses far less molasses than a traditional recipe calls for.  I find the molasses overpowering in most fruit cakes.  Mine uses only two tablespoons.

Fruit Cake

After soaking the cake with whiskey or bourbon and letting it set well wrapped in plastic for a few days it is ready to eat.  If you are making this in advance for Christmas you can brush a little more whiskey or bourbon on the cake a couple of times a week until ready to serve.  It will only improve the flavor.

Fruit Cake   Yield 2 – 8″ loafs

2 cups orange juice, reserve 1/2 cup
1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly copped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup dry cranberries
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
3 eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup, or corn syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup bourb0n or whiskey

Heat the oven to 350 F and spray two 8″ loaf pans with non-stick spray.

Fruit Cake 

Juice enough oranges to yield two cups of juice.   Heat the juice in the microwave for two minutes, or until very hot and steamy.

Fruit Cake Fruit Cake

Place the dried cherries, cranberries, dates, and golden raisins in the hot juice and let soak for fifteen minutes.   Drain the fruit, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.

Fruit Cake Fruit Cake

Sift together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.  To the sifted dry ingredients add the chopped pecans and candied ginger.

Fruit Cake Fruit Cake

In a separate bowl combine the eggs, orange zest, both sugars, golden syrup, molasses, vanilla, and butter.  Whisk in the 1/2 cup of the reserved soaking liquid.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk gently to combine.  Add the soaked fruit and incorporate evenly into the batter.

Fruit Cake

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back when gently pressed in the center.

Cool the cakes ten minutes, then brush over the top of each cake two tablespoons of either whiskey or bourbon.  Let the cakes cool completely, then turn out and brush the bottom of the cakes with the remaining whiskey or bourbon.  Wrap well in two layers of plastic, then place in a zip top bag and let stand two days at room temperature.

Fruit Cake

At this point you can serve the cake, or if you choose you can brush the cake with an additional tablespoon or two of whiskey or bourbon twice a week until you are ready to serve.

Fruit Cake


Check out In Jennie’s Kitchen to see the 12 Days of Cookies!


© 2009, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • What great ideas! I’ll definitely keep this one in mind–have never made fruit cake, but maybe this is the year!

  • I’m making my fruitcake today…I could copy your post, revise a couple of words and say almost exactly the same thing! Really think we have to rename our end result to something other than Fruitcake, it carries such a bad, and well deserved, rap. Citron fruit? To me, means hard, nasty dried pieces of stuff you should not put into anything!

    Thinking I might add some fresh mandarin orange pieces; good idea…thank you!

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  • Wow. This is a beautiful, Beautiful fruit cake!!!!!

  • I’ll admit, this does sound like a tasty fruitcake!

  • Love your version of fruitcake. The addition of cocoa powder is wonderful! My husband makes fruitcake every year, based on Alton Brown’s recipe. He starts right after Labor Day, so the oldest ones have been soaked to the core with brandy. Even fresh out of the oven they are wonderful, though. Will definitely share this post with him!

  • My dad is a big fruit cake fan! I will have to bookmark your recipe for him!

  • Wow, a fruit cake recipe that actually looks good! I will most likely make this before the end of the year 🙂

  • Hmmm, I’m normally kinda scared of fruitcake, but this actually looks edible. Might have to give this one a try!

  • Foodie Forkful – I hope that if you try it you like it! We sure do!

    Natalie – Thank you!!

    Maria – Thanks! I hope he likes it!

    Jenni – The cocoa adds some roundness to the flavor. It is unexpected and really nice.

    Alta – If it had been bad, I would not have posted it! Turst me. 🙂

    Miranda – Oh, thank you!

    Barbara – Great minds think alike, they say! 😀

    Elle – Thank you!

  • The cake looks moist and delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever tried a fruit cake before but this one looks great!

  • Ha ha, I’ve never even tasted fruitcake, because of how it looks, but you have tempted me!

  • Yum! I can’t wait to give this a try. I think I will make some to take to my mom’s on Christmas day to surprise all of my family with the fact that there is such a thing as a good fruitcake! Great recipe!

  • Looks very good! I just made my yearly fruitcakes. A friend’s mom made a black fruitcake that was so good that looks alot like yours, but with more fruit. She said the recipe was highly classified. Thanks for the great recipe. I wish people gave the fruitcake more respect, it is soooo good when made with a little effort like you have done here, instead of using that cheapo yukky candied fruit or buying a cheapy premade one. Making a good one from scratch is very expensive, and you can tell by the taste!

  • This is so weird. I have been using orange juice and dried fruits in my fruitcakes for years. No cocoa, though, I don’t think my beloved would go for a cocoa fruitcake

    thanks for posting this

  • Cate

    I LOVE fruit cake. I’ve made it once and it was a hit. It’s soooooo good! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

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  • shirley

    Can i skip corn syrup for the cake.

  • Shirley – You could use honey but you need the sweetness and the moistness that either golden syrup, honey, or corn syrup provides the cake. Skip this and the cake will dry out, even after soaking.

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