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Fruitcake – Reviving and Revamping a Holiday Tradition

  • Posted on January 12, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Brandy Laced Fruitcake


As a cake decorator and dessert lover I have accumulated countless recipes over the years. While many are classics like yellow, chocolate, lemon or red velvet, some, like olive oil cake and cranberry cherry are more adventurous. I especially love to make seasonal cakes – flavors so particular that, for the traditional-minded, can take you back in time. When summer comes, a lemon blueberry can be quite refreshing, while apple pecan spice cake screams fall and, during the cold days of winter, nothing tops chocolate fudge cake with an amaretto mocha cream and salted caramel.

Maybe because I am married to an Englishman, nothing says Christmas more than the traditional English fruitcake and the aromas that drift from the oven as the combination of dried fruits and nuts are baked.

Pinecones and Oranges

With December quickly approaching, I can’t wait to make my Applesauce fruitcake! Part of my love for this holiday classic probably stems from my heritage. In Argentina you can find the “torta galesa”, the special delicacy that Welsh settlers brought to the southern province of Chubut and that inspired the gorgeous tea houses dotted around the small village of Gaiman. This cake is now considered an Argentine culinary treasure.

Fondant Mushrooms and Acorns

Unfortunately, many people associate traditional English fruitcake as being dry and tasteless, perhaps because the store-bought version often completely cuts corners with the time it takes to bake and infuse the finished product. Many homemade fruitcakes call for a simple sponge with an insufficient amount of added dried fruit. In fact, a true fruitcake recipe should have an overabundance of your preferred fruits and nuts, with a far lower ratio of regular cake ingredients that are simply required to bind it all together. To age it, a lacing sauce of good quality brandy and fruit juices must be regularly drizzled over the cake for anywhere up to three months – the longer and more frequently the better! The result is a very moist cake that is a delight to the senses.


I hope you enjoy this recipe from my family and have a wonderful holiday season!


Brandy Laced Fruitcake


16oz Pitted Dates
8oz Dried Apricots
8oz Raisins
4oz Maraschino Cherries, halved
12oz Pecans
12oz Walnuts
12oz All purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Ground Cloves
½ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Salt
4oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature
4oz Light Brown Sugar
4oz Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
4 Fl oz White Grape Juice (you can use dark if you like the cake darker)
16oz Applesauce
4 Fl oz White Rum or Brandy

Lacing Sauce
2 Fl oz Maraschino Cherries Juice
4 Fl oz Grape Juice
4 Fl oz Pineapple Juice
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
8 Fl oz Light Rum or Brandy
Mix all ingredients together. The sauce will be ready to use.
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to two months.


Preheat the oven to 275⁰C (135⁰F)Mixing Fruits

Cut up the fruit and coarsely chop the nuts. Mix fruit and nuts together in a very large bowl.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt together in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture.

Add the dry ingredients and grape juice until blended. Mix in the fruit and nut mixture and the applesauce. Stir in the rum or brandy.

Lightly spray heavy brown paper with oil or vegetable spray and line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with it. Extend the paper along the sides of the pan so it is 2 to 3 inches higher than the height of the pan.In Pan

Pour the batter into the pan and work it evenly into the corners. Raise the pan and let it drop to the counter top several times to burst any air bubbles. Level the top of the batter with an offset spatula.

Bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the pan, but leave it in the brown paper wrapping until ready to ice.

While still warm, puncture holes in the fruitcake with a skewer and pour 2oz of the lacing sauce over the fruit cake. Double-wrap the cake carefully with plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place.

Don’t refrigerate the fruitcake as it needs to age. After one week, unwrap the cake and soak it with another 2oz of the lacing sauce. Double-wrap again. Repeat this process every week until Brushing Brandyall of the lacing sauce is used. This can take 6 to 8 weeks. After the last lacing, let the cake rest for another week or two, then the cake can be finished.

When ready to ice, remove the cake from the paper wrapping. The cake can be covered in buttercream and fondant, or marzipan and I recommend just a light coat of royal icing (some people prefer several for a thicker finish).