Fruit cake aka Christmas Cake

by Joanne on December 24, 2013

We all have traditions.   One of my favorite family traditions is my mother’s fruit cake at Christmas.


She bakes this weighty cake (it has to be about 4 lbs) only once a year, about 4 – 5 weeks before Christmas.  Dad is in the kitchen to supervise or rather to make sure enough booze is added to the cake to make it ….drinkable.  It is, after all, his birthday cake.  Dad is a Christmas day baby.

The cake recipe was handed down from my grandmother.  I don’t think my sister has ever made it but I have tackled the fruit filled colossal cake a couple of times.  This year, I will do it again but I’m changing the recipe.

Christmas cake slice2

I’m not measuring the fruit and nuts.  I put a tub of diced, mixed candied fruit in a large bowl with a tub of diced candied pineapple, whole red candied cherries, 1/2 a box of currents, and added 1/3 cup each of bourbon, sherry, and ginger wine.  I let this sit for a few days.Then I’ll add 1/2 a box of regular raisins, golden raisins, some chopped walnuts and other mixed nuts. All this will result in a huge pile of fruit so I’ll have to increase the flour and other dry ingredients, maybe add another egg, and bake.  

I won’t decorate it as pretty as my mother always does

Christmas cake decor

I’ll simply drizzle it with royal icing, skipping the marzipan layer.  Ok. That WAS the plan.. Then I got playing with Almond paste and Royal icing.  The cake DID get a thin layer of almond paste covered in A LOT of royal icing (kept soft with corn syrup).

Christmas cake1

It probably won’t compare to my mother’s magnificent masterpiece but it will represent a tradition in our home, in Utica, even though the real “McCoy” will be ogled by all in South Carolina.  Maybe if Ted and I are lucky they will save us a slice for New Years.

Did I say something about 4 lbs earlier in this post?  Well, the one above, the one I made this year is about 10 lbs!  It’s one heavy cake!

Christmas cake2


Traditions.  It’s all about memories and love.

Christmas cake slice3

What are some of your holiday traditions?

Makes 1 Bundt Christmas Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 TBS orange zest
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 5 cups mixed candied fruit (cherries, dried pineapple) plus raisins, dates.
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans)
  • 1 cup Cream Sherry or Rum or Brandy – us enough to just barely cover fruit.

*Soak all the 5 cups of mixed fruit in liquor for a couple of days before adding to cake.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 12 cup Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, vanilla,spices, orange, eggs, milk, cream.

Stir the wet into the dry.   Fold in the candied fruit, nuts, dates, raisins.

Fold the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 70 –80 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

Allow to cool then turn out of the pan on to foil.  When completely cool, pour half a cup of Cream sherry over cake. Allow it to absorb. Wrap cake for 5 days. * If you didn’t soak the fruit, then pour  half cup of liquor on cake. The pour another 1/2 cup 2 weeks later.  Wrap until ready to ice.  


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1 Comment

  • At 2014.01.03 12:14, Rebecca said:

    10 lbs! Now that’s a cake to do holiday battle with! It turned out beautifully. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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