Our Favorite Holiday Fruitcake

ChristmasHolidayBakingQuick Bread

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

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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Links:

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake from our Parisian chocolate expert David Lebovitz

AB's Free Range Fruitcake from Je Mange la Ville

 

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

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

78 Comments / Reviews

No ImageOur Favorite Holiday Fruitcake

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • MaryAlecia

    Made this for my husband and he enjoyed it! Had to sub/change a few things: dates were a bit dried out so I sprinkled with warm water and bourbon, used dried cherries instead of glazed, and added unsweetened dried blueberries. I also used all brown sugar! I’ll make again for the New Year and used the cherries called for. Thanks for a tasty, easy recipe!

  • Nancy M Sneed

    My brother made this fruitcake for the first time and it was excellent. Thank you very much for the recipe.

  • Jim

    I will make this for the first time. I don’t like the production cakes that are available, either. Mom taught me to bake when I was twelve, now 73.

  • Jillxz

    This cake looks delicious , but I prefer more fruit and nuts. I like my fruitcake tightly packed with fruit and nuts . It has very little cake in it as the fruit , nuts , dates and raisins take up the cake batter.My mother made the best fruitcake I have ever eaten

  • Phyllis Arnfinson

    Can you freeze it until Christmas

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Holiday FruitcakeOur Favorite Holiday Fruitcake