Our Favorite Holiday Fruitcake

Fabulous holiday fruitcake! With dates, raisins, walnuts, glazed cherries, and orange zest. Perfect for Christmas celebrations.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Are you a fruitcake lover? Though this traditional holiday cake is often maligned (guess some people don’t like candied fruit?), prepared well it’s wonderful.

This fruitcake is our family’s favorite, packed with dates, walnuts, raisins, and glazed cherries. Think raisin bread, on steroids. The recipe comes from the wife of a family friend, Patricia, who for years sent us a loaf every Christmas.

We usually have to make at least two loaves—one to eat right away because we just can’t wait, and the other to sprinkle with brandy and save for Christmas day. These loaves also make terrific gifts.

Holiday Fruitcake

Our Favorite Holiday Fruitcake Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Makes one loaf

Best to slice this fruitcake with a knife with a serrated edge, such as a bread knife.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped glazed cherries (can sub dried sweetened cranberries)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (divided into 1/4 cup and 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • Grated rind of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 

  • 1 to 2 ounces Brandy (optional)

Method

1 Preheat oven, prepare loaf pan: Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with greased parchment paper or brown baking paper, cut to fit the pan.

Place one piece to run the length of the pan and stand up above the rim about an inch. Place the other piece or pieces to cover the other sides.

(When the cake comes out of the oven, you can easily remove it by holding the sides of the paper and lifting the cake out of the pan.)

2 Mix together sour cream and baking soda: In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and sour cream; set aside.

3 Toss dates, raisins, cherries with flour: Combine the dates, raisins, cherries, and nuts with 1/4 cup of the flour and toss to coat the fruit and nuts. Set aside.

4 Beat butter and sugar, add egg, orange rind, sour cream and baking soda, add flour and salt, add fruit and nuts: Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg, then the orange rind, then the sour cream/baking soda mix.

Add the flour and the salt and mix together. Combine fruit/nut mixture with creamed ingredients and mix well to distribute the fruit and nuts evenly.

5 Pour batter into baking pan and bake: Pour batter into a prepared 5x9-inch loaf pan.

Place the batter filled pan into the preheated oven. Place a separate pan of water in the oven either on a rack underneath the fruitcake or beside it. (The water will help with a more even, gentle cooking.

Bake at 325°F for one and a half to two hours or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Water may need to be replenished during baking.

6 Cool on a rack: Remove to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan. Let cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum to store. If you want, you can sprinkle on a few ounces of brandy or bourbon, especially if you would like to store the fruit cake for a while.

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If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Links:

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake from our Parisian chocolate expert David Lebovitz

AB's Free Range Fruitcake from Je Mange la Ville

 

Showing 4 of 71 Comments

  • cakengifts.in

    Thanks for this Great recipe, my all friends like it very much. We make it at our each weekend party.

  • Aravind

    Thank you very much! It’s my first time I tried and my friends are a big of my cake(Oops; your cake)

  • Warren

    Simply amazing!!! Any variations of nuts and dried fruits are the best!!!

  • T Gordon

    I’ve looked for a great fruit cake recipe for years, and this is it. I especially like that it can be varied and the recipie doesn’t have to be cut down to make 1 loaf. I have made it with candied pineapple, dates, chocolate chips, and will try it with coconut next. A generous shot of brandy poured over the top, after it has cooled, has also been popular. Thanks for the post.

  • Robyn

    I’m now in love with fruit cake after all these years eating horrible store bought garbage. Worked perfectly with out the water in the stove too. I forgot but no one has complained. I will do as the author does next year and make two, one for now and one for later with the boubon.

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