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    Easy Moist Fruit Cake

    Never in a million years did I think fruit cake would make it to my top 10 favourite cakes of all time! I literally despised fruit cake growing up, always finding it too dry or having too many sultanas. UNTIL I developed this super moist fruit cake recipe that is packed with fruit, nuts, dates and so much more!

    Fruit Cake

    What is a fruit cake

    A fruitcake is a dense and sweet dessert cake that is typically made with candied or dried fruits, nuts, and spices. It is definitely a more ‘mature’ cake, and is often associated with holiday celebrations, particularly Christmas – but they can be enjoyed year-round.

    Key ingredients in a fruit cake

    Candied fruits: Fruits like cherries, orange peel, pineapple and citron and are often candied by preserving them in sugar syrup. They add sweetness and a wonderful vibrant colour to fruit cake, and can often be bought at your local grocery store to save time!

    Dried fruits: Raisins, currants, dates, and apricots are commonly used dried fruits in fruitcakes. They provide a chewy and fruity texture to the cake and add moisture too.

    Nuts: Chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds, are often added to provide a crunchy element and enhance the flavor. For me, nuts are a MUST in a fruit cake otherwise there’s nothing to cut through the dried fruit which can sometimes be overwhelming (well for me anyway). 🙂

    Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are typical spices used in fruitcakes to add warmth and depth of flavor.

    Liquor: Some fruitcakes are soaked in alcohol, such as brandy, rum, or whiskey, which helps preserve the cake and adds a unique flavor. Because I personally don’t drink alcohol I have left this out of this recipe. I have used the the boiled fruit cake method which doesn’t require a long aging or curing time and therefore no alcohol 🙂

    How to make fruit cake

    This fruit comes together really easily with no mixer required! You can find the full written recipe, quantities of ingredients and recipe video in the recipe card at the end of the blog post, but you can follow along here for visual steps 🙂

    Boiled Fruit Mixture

    Begin with making the boiled fruit mixture. To a large saucepan add in unsalted butter, soft brown sugar, dried fruits, dates (if using firm dates – see note 2 on recipe card below), orange juice, orange zest and molasses. Bring that to a simmer over a medium heat, and once simmering, continue to let it simmer for a few more minutes.

    Once done, pour the mixture in a large shallow dish to cool. To speed up the process I like to place the mixture into the freezer for about 45 minutes. Once ready it should have thickened up in consistency. Make sure it’s at room temperature (not hot or cold) before moving onto the next step.

    fruit cake

    Fruit Cake

    Preheat oven to 140 °C (285°F) with the fan on (see note 3 on recipe card below if you don’t have a fan function) and grease an 8×3 inch cake pan (I use my homemade cake release), and line the bottom with baking paper.

    Sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, ground ginger powder, nutmeg and all spice. Mix together with a whisk or fork and set aside for now.

    fruit cake

    In a small bowl combine the unflavoured vegetable oil and eggs. Whisk with a fork and set aside.

    In a large bowl add in the boiled fruit mixture from earlier (make sure it’s at room temperature), and add in the oil/egg mixture. Using a spatula, fold until it’s well combined. The mixture is quite thick so may take a bit of mixing to get it all combined properly.

    fruit cake

    Next add in the walnuts (and dates if you didn’t add them to the boiled fruit mixture), and fold until well combined.

    Next add in the sifted dry ingredients from earlier and fold until just combined. Do not overmix, so only mix until you can’t see any more streaks of flour.

    Pour the batter into the cake tin and spread it out evenly. Drop the cake tin lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles, and then bake for 75-85 minutes, or until a skewer or knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

    fruit cake

    Allow the cake to cool in the cake tin for 30 minutes and then run a thin knife around the edges of the cake tin to release the cake, and then turn it out onto a wire rack (right side up) to cool.

    fruit cake

    While the cake is cooling, prepare the orange syrup. Combine orange juice and sugar in a bowl, and then heat it up (in the microwave or on the stove top) until the sugar is completely dissolved.

    Using a pastry brush, brush the orange syrup all over the top and sides of the cake while the cake is still warm. Be sure to use all the syrup up as you want it to soak deep into the cake.

    Wrap the cake in two layers of foil (see video below for demonstration) and place it into an airtight container. Leave it in a cool dry place for 48 hours before serving. I know it’s hard to wait, but it is crucial to allow the fruit cake to sit for 48 hours before serving it. This is going to allow the flavours to develop and the cake to become nice and moist. If you cut the cake too early, it may seem a little crumbly. It will still taste nice, but for the perfect texture it’s best to wait 🙂

    fruit cake

    Commonly Asked Questions:

    How long will fruit cake last?

    This fruit cake will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks at room temperature (when placed in an air tight container) or up to a month in the fridge.

    Can I use lemon in replacement of the orange in this recipe?

    For the orange zest used in the cake batter, and orange syrup used to soak the cake once it’s baked, you can substitute these both with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. You may just need to add additional sugar to the syrup used to soak the cake to ensure it’s not too sour.

    For the store-bought orange juice in the cake batter, you unfortunately cannot substitute this with lemon juice as it will change the flavour profile of the cake quite drastically. You can however subsitute this with apple juice if you prefer.

    Can I use plastic wrap instead of aluminum foil to wrap my fruit cake when storing it?

    Yes, plastic wrap will be fine too. Just be sure to keep your fruit cake somewhere out of direct sunlight (preferrably a dark spot – like inside your kitchen cupboard).

    What’s the difference between Christmas cake and fruit cake?

    Christmas cake can be thought of as a specific variety within the broader category of fruitcakes. The term “Christmas cake” is typically used to describe a particular type of fruitcake that is known for its rich and intricately decorated features, and it is specifically associated with the festive traditions of the Christmas holiday season.  In contrast, fruitcake is a more general term encompassing a wide range of cakes that share common ingredients like candied or dried fruits, nuts, and spices, and it can be savored at any time of the year.

     

    Fruit Cake

    Easy Moist Fruit Cake

    Never in a million years did I think fruit cake would make it to my top 10 favourite cakes of all time! I literally despised fruit cake growing up, always finding it too dry or having too many sultanas. UNTIL I developed this super moist fruit cake recipe that is packed with fruit, nuts, dates and so much more!
    5 from 44 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    Resting Time: 2 days
    Total Time: 2 days 1 hour 35 minutes
    Servings: 12 people

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Fruit Cake

    • ¾ cups (170 g) unsalted butter
    • ¾ cups (150 g) soft brown sugar
    • 2 cups (350 g) dried fruits - I used a combination of sultanas, raisins, currants, red and green glace cherries and citrus peel (see note 1)
    • ½ cup (100 g) dates - pitted and cut into small pieces, see note 2
    • cups (166 g) store bought sweetened orange juice - like Just Juice, Tropicana etc.
    • tbsp orange zest - the zest of about 1 medium sized orange. The juice of the orange will be used later in the syrup.
    • 2 tbsp (36 g) molasses
    • cups (210 g) all purpose flour
    • tsps baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt - omit if using salted butter
    • tsps cinnamon powder
    • ½ tsp ground ginger powder
    • ¼ tsp nutmeg
    • 1 tsp all spice
    • ¼ cup (52 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola oil
    • 3 large eggs - room temperature
    • 1 cup (100 g) walnuts - halved

    Orange Syrup/Glaze

    • 3 tbsp (50 g) freshly squeezed orange juice
    • tbsp (20 g) white granulated sugar

    Instructions

    Boiled Fruit Mixture

    • To a large saucepan add in unsalted butter, soft brown sugar, dried fruits, dates (if using firm dates - see note 2), orange juice, orange zest and molasses. Bring that to a simmer over a medium heat, and once simmering, continue to let it simmer for a few more minutes.
    • Once done, pour the mixture in a large shallow dish to cool. To speed up the process I like to place the mixture into the freezer for about 45 minutes. Once ready it should have thickened up in consistency. Make sure it's at room temperature (not hot or cold) before moving onto the next step.

    Fruit Cake

    • Preheat oven to 140 °C (285°F) with the fan on (see note 3 if you don't have a fan function) and grease an 8x3 inch cake tin (I use my homemade cake release), and line the bottom with baking paper.
    • Sift together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, ground ginger powder, nutmeg and all spice. Mix together with a whisk or fork and set aside for now.
    • In a small bowl combine the unflavoured vegetable oil and eggs. Whisk with a fork and set aside.
    • In a large bowl add in the boiled fruit mixture from earlier (make sure it's at room temperature), and add in the oil/egg mixture. Using a spatula, fold until it's well combined. The mixture is quite thick so may take a bit of mixing to get it all combined properly.
    • Next add in the walnuts (and dates if you didn't add them to the boiled fruit mixture), and fold until well combined.
    • Next add in the sifted dry ingredients from earlier and fold until just combined. Do not overmix, so only mix until you can't see any more streaks of flour.
    • Pour the batter into the cake tin and spread it out evenly. Drop the cake tin lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles, and then bake for 75-85 minutes, or until a skewer or knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
    • Allow the cake to cool in the cake tin for 30 minutes and then run a thin knife around the edges of the cake tin to release the cake, and then turn it out onto a wire rack (right side up) to cool.

    Orange Syrup

    • While the cake is cooling, prepare the orange syrup. Combine the orange juice and sugar in a bowl, and then heat it up (in the microwave or on the stove top) until the sugar is completely dissolved.
    • Using a pastry brush, brush the orange syrup all over the top and sides of the cake while the cake is still warm. Be sure to use all the syrup up.
    • Wrap the cake in two layers of foil (see video for demonstration) and place it into an airtight container. Leave it in a cool dry place for 48 hours before serving (see note 4).

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. I used a fruit mix from my local grocery store that has a combination of sultanas, raisins, currants, red and green glace cherries and citrus peel. You can use more of what you like, and omit what you don't like, but altogether the dried fruits should be 350g. 
    Note 2. You can use either fresh juicy dates or firmer pre packaged dates. If you decide to use firmer dates, then add them into the initial boiled fruit mixture to soften up. If using fresh dates which are soft and juicy (like medjool dates) then add them in with the walnuts later on in the mixture as they don't need to be softened.
    Note 3. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks cakes/cupcakes faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 155°C (310°F) so that the cake/cupcake bakes at the same rate as mine 🙂
    Note 4. It is crucial to allow the fruit cake to sit for 48 hours before serving it. This is going to allow the flavours to develop and the cake to become nice and moist. If you cut the cake too early, it may seem a little crumbly. It will still taste nice, but for the perfect texture it's best to wait 🙂

    Nutrition

    Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 179mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: boiled fruit cake, christmas cake, easy fruit cake, festive cake, fruit cake, fruitcake recipe, moist fruit cake
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

     

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    139 Comments

    • RK

      Hi MK is it okay if I omit the dates as my family are not a fan of them

      • Cakes by MK

        Heya! 🙂 Yes you can totally leave out any fruits or nuts that you don’t like, and you can replace them with more of what you do like or leave them out completely 🙂 enjoy!

    • A

      Hi MK. Disappointed that my question from Christmas was not answered. It’s a great recipe. All I wondered was how can I adopt this recipe to a loaf tin? Do you think the half quantities will okay?

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi A! 🙂 I am so sorry I missed your original comment – my sincere apologies. Sometimes when I have a lot of comments to reply too, some of them get lost because of the way my dashboard updates. Again – so sorry! Have addressed all the questions from the original comment here:
        If choosing to add alcohol, I would substitute some of the orange juice in the cake with it, as well as the orange juice used to coat the cake at the end. Orange juice is used in this recipe as a non-alcoholic substitute 🙂 it does add great flavor though so I would only substitute some of it. Secondly, yes you could totally make these as cupcakes! Either tin would be fine, you will just need to adjust the cooking time slightly (check at around the 20-25 min mark for both tins and go from there). In terms of using a loaf tin, it depends what size the loaf tin is, but even in a larger loaf tin there might be a bit too much batter so you could distribute the batter between two tins – or make 1 very tall loaf and another shorter loaf, or use the extra batter to make cupcakes/muffins. Hope that helps 🙂

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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