Christmas fruit cake and a slice on a white plate
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5 from 1 vote

Deliciously Soft and Moist Christmas Fruit Cake

Loaded with an eclectic mix of dried fruits and an equally irresistible addition of orange zest, this is the perfect dessert for Christmas, one that is sure to take you down the memory lane!
Prep Time1 d
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 d 1 hr 30 mins
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American, British
Keyword: Christmas, Fruit Cake
Appliance: Refrigerator, oven, Baking pan
Servings: 20 slices
Author: Ishani Bose


  • 3/4 cup dark rum
  • 1 and 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1 and 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup of dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup of dried black figs
  • 1 cup of dried prunes
  • 2 cups of dried apricots
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (unbleached)
  • 1 tsp of salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 ounces butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4-5 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 apple (peeled and coarsely grated)
  • 3 tbsp of finely diced crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 3/4 cup of almonds or pecans
  • 1 large piece of unbleached cheesecloth


  • To make a homemade fruit cake, first, a day prior to baking, mix the dried fruits in a large mixing bowl. To it add 3/4 cup of dark rum and cover it tight. This will allow the dried fruit mixture to completely and properly soak at room temperature for half a day to an entire day (depending on your preference) before going ahead with the preparation of the fruit cake batter. 
    Glass bowl of cake mix of nuts and soft fruits soaking up added rum, brandy and sherry
  • Once that is done, preheat the oven to 300°F, placing the rack in the center. Use a baking pan and properly grease and line it with a parchment paper before adding the cake batter. 
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, spices, and salt (as mentioned above) in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Keep the mixture aside. At the same time, in a separate bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the softened unsalted butter and brown sugar together for 3-5 minutes till it becomes fluffy and light. 
  • Once you get the desired consistency of the mixture, add the eggs one at a time. At this point, the mixture may look broken but that is acceptable. To this mixture, add the flour blend and continue to mix it well till it is fully absorbed. 
  • Thereafter, add the lemon zest, orange zest, grated apple, diced caramelized ginger, almonds or pecans, and the soaked dried fruits to it. Note that if there is some alcohol left, (as in if all of it is not absorbed by the dried fruits) add it to the mixture. Use a large spatula to mix all the ingredients together in the bowl, scraping the edges of the bowl many times until all of them have been evenly combined.
    A top view picture of a young woman's hand mixing ingredients for baking a christmas fruit cake.
  • Once the batter is made, transfer it onto the baking pan. Bake it for 75 to 90 minutes or until you see the cake is properly set. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on the rack for it to cool down completely before removing it from the baking pan. 
  • Now comes the 'storing' stage. Once the cake has properly cooled, remove it from the pan and set it upright. Take a piece of cheesecloth and soak it in alcohol, preferably in a triple sec or medium sherry. Once done, wrap the cake tightly and cover it with wax paper before keeping it in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Store it in the refrigerator for as long as you want. You can serve this cake right away after it is taken out of the oven. But some people want the flavors to improve with time for which they keep it in the refrigerator for 8 weeks or so.
  • You can either garnish the cake with a light apricot glaze and place apricots or almonds over it, or simply spread a thin layer of icing atop the cake. Note that this step is not advised if you are planning to wrap the cake and allow it to age. Either way, it turns out quite delicious. Slice the cake with a jagged knife. If you do not wish to add icing to it, serve it with a small amount of salted butter and you're good to go!
    A close-up picture of Christmas fruit cake, pudding on white plate against a background of christmas decoration.


  • If you want to tone down the sweetness of the cake, use the unsweetened version of the dried fruits. 
  • If you want the flavor of the fruit cake to improve over time, we would recommend you to make this cake a month or two before Christmas. This way the cake will be rich in flavor and softer by the time you have it. 
  • Feel free to substitute the recommended dried fruits with your own favorites. 
  • If you do not have a stand mixer to blend the ingredients, do not stress over it. You can use your hand to mix the butter, brown sugar and other ingredients. That is how this cake was traditionally made.