World’s Best Fruitcake

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

I know, I know.  She’s posting a fruitcake recipe?

Trust me, I’ve heard all the jokes.  Door stop, pin cushion, sand bags, you name it. The words “world’s best” and fruitcake are generally not seen as compatible with one another.  After all, it’s probably one of the most ridiculed baked goods in existence.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

You know those ones that are sold in the stores or sent as gifts at this time of the year?  I despise those ones too.

They’re dry (in a this-must-have-been-baked-several-months-ago kind of way) and filled with those scary neon, candied fruit bits.  I’m not even sure if they are actually fruit.

Just all around bad.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

But….this recipe, which I’m sharing today, is not your average fruitcake recipe.

It’s actually my mom’s recipe, which she has tweaked and perfected over the years, and makes every single year during the holidays.

At one point, my mom and godmother even attempted a very short-lived fruitcake business–that is until they realized that it is probably one of those expensive desserts to make of all time (dried fruit and booze!) and they had to charge a fortune to even break even.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

Regardless, Christmas is just not the same without this fruitcake.

In fact, British desserts are sort of the go-to at our house during this time of year (my dad’s English, so its not completely random).  We even have homemade year-old figgy pudding, which is flamed right before we serve it, on Christmas evening.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

Anyway, back to the recipe. This fruitcake is all about the dried fruit.  And there is a ton of it in there.

Dried unsweetened apricots, cherries, figs, prunes, raisins, pears, peaches, apples–all of which gets soaked in dark rum the day before baking.

Have I mentioned that this cake is boozy?  Because it is.

World's Best Fruitcake | bloggingoverthyme.com

This gets folded into the batter the following day, along with fresh apple, slivered almonds, and lots of fresh lemon and orange zest–and baked in a loaf tin at a low temperature for nearly an hour and a half. [As you might notice in the recipe, you can also add dark chocolate, which is my dad's and oldest sister's favorite version.]

The resulting fruitcake is so incredibly moist and is perfectly balanced in sweetness.  It really does taste like Christmas.  And…here comes the fun part.  To store it, you wrap it in sherry or triple sec soaked cheesecloth!  Yes, lots and lots of booze.

Brush it with a simple apricot glaze and serve it sliced with a little bit of butter.  You’ll definitely become a fruitcake convert for life!

World's Best Fruitcake

Yield: Two (9 x 5 inch) Loafs

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Ingredients:

Soaked Fruit:

  • 2 ½ cups dried currants
  • 2 cups dark raisins
  • 1 ¾ cups mixed combination of dried fruit (apricots, apples, pears, peaches)
  • 1 cup dried black figs
  • ¾ cup chopped prunes
  • ½ cups dried cherries
  • 6 ounces dark rum

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 granny smith apple (peeled), chopped or grated
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds (or if prefer, chopped pecans or walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced crystallized ginger
  • one batch soaked fruit mixture (see above)
  • ½ to 2/3 cup of dark/bittersweet chocolate pieces or chocolate chips (optional)

Apricot Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup water

For Storage:

  • dry sherry or triple sec
  • unbleached cheesecloth

Directions:

Prepare the night before:

  1. Chop all of the dried fruit and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the dark rum, cover with plastic wrap, and allow fruit to soak overnight in a cool place.

Prepare Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment), cream the butter and
  4. sugar over medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just incorporated, scraping the bowl down with a spatula after each additional.
  6. Over low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Add the orange juice, zest, maple syrup, fresh apple, and soaked dried fruit and stir with a spatula until everything is incorporated.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the loaf pans.
  8. Bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, or until cake is set. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool completely, before removing. Once the cake has cooled, soak cheesecloth in sherry (or triple sec) and wrap each cake in cheesecloth tightly.
  9. Cover loafs with wax paper and foil, before placing in a large ziploc bag. Store in refrigerator for up to 6-8 weeks. Unwrap and soak cheese cloth with medium dry sherry once a week.

To Serve:

  1. Combine apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a light simmer, until glaze is thin and shiny (you can reduce if too thin, or add more water if it gets too thick).
  2. Brush tops of fruit cakes with apricot glaze and garnish with pecans or waters.

Use unsweetened (dried) fruit for best results.

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33 Responses to “World’s Best Fruitcake”

  1. #
    1
    Meg — December 17, 2013 @ 9:53 am

    This looks and sounds amazing (and your photos are gorgeous!). Fruitcake totally gets a bad rap — though yes, those neon-colored fruits and other weird bits do scare me. I would be all over this, though. What a lovely tradition!

    • Laura replied: — December 17th, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

      Thank you so much!! This one has none of the weird stuff, promise.

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    2
    pippa@popovertopippas — December 17, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    it will be interesting to see if anyone makes this:)

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    3
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — December 17, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    Poor fruit cake, it gets such a bad rap. But yours looks amazing! Way better than those horrible store bought ones. Cannot get over how beautiful these pictures are Laura : )

    • Laura replied: — December 17th, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

      It really does. Poor fruit cake. Thanks so much for the compliments Natalie! Means a lot.

  4. #
    4
    Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron — December 17, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    Wow your photos are beautiful!! I have never tried to make a fruit cake, but this one actually sounds and looks really great! I should finally attempt to do one!

    • Laura replied: — December 17th, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

      If you’re ever gonna try one, definitely make sure it’s this one. Thanks so much!!

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    5
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — December 17, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

    I think this can also be called “the world’s most beautiful fruitcake!” So pretty. Honestly, I’ve never even had it, but you’re making me want to try it!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 11:44 am

      If you ever try fruitcake, definitely make sure it’s homemade!! :) Thank you!!

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    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — December 17, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    These photos are amazing, Laura (although, they’re always pretty darn great!)!!!! I’ve never actually had fruitcake. This may have to change sometime soon.

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 11:45 am

      Aww, thank you Kelli! Means a lot. Glad to know I wasn’t the only person who couldn’t make the twitter party–we’ll have to reschedule another time! :)

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    7
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — December 17, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

    I have yet to try fruitcake, actually… unfortunately with all its glorious boozy-ness I have to miss out again this year, but I’m making next year the year I finally try fruitcake! Starting with this recipe. :)

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

      Yep, it’s pretty boozy, you might want to skip it this year, haha. Thanks friend!

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    Sarah | The Sugar Hit — December 17, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

    My family are all about the British Christmas too! No-one’s British though, so I guess it’s pretty random. This fruitcake looks awesome.

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

      Hahaha! But your Australian, so it’s not weird at all ;)

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    9
    Jennifer — December 17, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

    I love fruitcake. I was raised on it! My grandmother insisted that we eat a piece or two every Christmas when we visited. She said we’d have a “happy year” for every piece we ate :) I guess after a while, I actually started liking it. Yours looks absolutely perfect. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

      I’m going to start telling myself that…that will make me feel much better about consuming the entire loaf. Glad to know there is a fellow fruitcake fan out there.

      Thank you!!!

  10. #
    10
    Mom — December 17, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

    Laura! Thanks for the lovely write-up and beautiful photos of our fruitcake! It looks as though you may have made some coverts! Yeah! You made it look so pretty! Let’s see if I can make ours look even half as lovely as this one! I guess you didn’t want to tell them about the marzipan and royal icing bit!!!! Butter as well…. Wow!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

      Thanks mom! And I don’t like royal icing or marzipan–so I definitely left that out for a reason, haha.

  11. #
    11
    Tieghan — December 17, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

    Fact: I have never actually had fruitcake, but with all the booze and fruit together and I thinking I would love it! Thinking i need to make this for big family Christmas (am I do mean big, 20+). Oh and Gorgeous photos!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

      Woh! That is definitely a big Christmas. We have 9 and that feels big sometimes.

  12. #
    12
    Tieghan — December 18, 2013 @ 12:20 am

    Umm… I love you moms comment!! Haha! So cute!!

    And geez!! This fruitcake it the most gorgeous ever! Love the photos and am thinking it is finally time to actually try some fruitcake this year. All the booze in this one has me thinking it will be awesome!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

      My mom is ridiculous. She is still getting the hang of leaving comments–for a while she thought she had to put her full name in the “contact” form. Haaa! Thanks Tieghan!!

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    Laurie {SimplyScratch} — December 18, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    Wow Laura… this looks amazing and I’m SO all about soaking dried fruit in rum. Now I want fruitcake {there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say}… Big thanks to your mom for making fruitcake edible!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

      She’ll love to hear that!! Thanks so much Lauren :)

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    Norma — December 18, 2013 @ 11:16 am

    This looks fantastic. My husband is one who likes fruitcake, he will love this I’m sure. You photos are lovely.

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

      Thank you so much Norma!!

  15. #
    15
    Caroline — December 18, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

    I love how much fruit you’ve got in this cake…and the fact that it’s been soaked in rum makes it sound extra delicious! I’m pinning now!

    • Laura replied: — December 18th, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

      Yes. Tons and tons of dried fruit!! That’s why it’s definitely worth making a few loaves at a time (this recipe makes two). Thank you Caroline!!

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    16
    Karen (Back Road Journal) — December 20, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    I’m one of the people who think it wouldn’t be Christmas without baking a fruitcake. Your cake looks and sounds wonderful.

    • Laura replied: — December 23rd, 2013 @ 10:02 am

      Yes!! You and me both. So glad to hear I’m not alone in that. Thank you Karen!

  17. #
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    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — December 23, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    I have always been a fan of fruitcake, and this recipe looks excellent! Thanks for sharing!

  18. #
    18
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes — January 2, 2014 @ 5:37 am

    Well, I happen to be a fruitcake lover, and this one is so similar to my family’s plum pudding! I love it, and will definitely try it. When the weather is cooler, mind you. It’s summer here, and averaging 95º to 100º every day, so the oven is out of bounds. But give me a ton of dried fruit in a dessert and I’m happy!

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