Candied Holiday Fruitcake

by Lana Stuart on December 21, 2010 · 11 comments

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Fruitcake. That most maligned of holiday desserts. The butt of hundreds of holiday jokes. Theories abound about fruitcake. Some say there’s really only one and it gets passed from person to person. Other people swear it’s best used as the filler for potholes. And, honestly, there are some fruitcake recipes that are deserving of that treatment. Still others adore its rich, dark candied texture. People seem to be of two minds about fruitcake – they either hate it or they love it. Not much middle ground with fruitcake.

Did you know that fruitcake has been around for hundreds of years? In the Middle Ages honey, spices and dried fruits were added to bread dough for special occasions. It was even once protected by law which restricted its consumption to celebrations such as Christmas and weddings. Most traditional recipes that have come down to modern cooks contain loads of candied citron, raisins, either dark brown sugar or molasses and a healthy dose of rum or brandy. They’re dense, heavy, dark and rich. They’re also loaded with booze. Maybe that’s part of the appeal for those in the fruitcake lovers camp.

This fruitcake has many of the same ingredients as the traditional, but instead of dark and dense, it is light in color, texture and taste. It is what we in the South would call a “blonde fruitcake.” It’s loaded with candied pineapple, cherries and orange peel (no citron!) and pecans. And the cake is light in color, rich and buttery.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

I’ve been making this fruitcake every year since I first saw the recipe in the November 1991 issue of Bon Appetit. I really need to re-write that recipe card before I forget what it says in all the places that are spattered with butter and vanilla.

This is one of the treats that BeeBop looks forward to every Christmas and every crumb is consumed by the end of the holidays. For several years I sent one to work with him near Christmas and it became a standing request from the guys he worked with starting about November first each year. It’s really that good. If you haven’t made a fruitcake for the holidays yet, I highly recommend this one.

3 cups chopped pecans
16 oz. candied pineapple, chopped
8 oz. candied cherries, halved
4 oz. candied orange peel
1 ¾ cups plus 3 tblsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 tblsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar

Position an oven rack in the lowest third of your oven and preheat to 250°.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan and set aside.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Chop the pineapple into about 1/3 inch pieces. Cut the cherries in half.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

In a large bowl, mix the pecans and fruit with 3 tblsp of flour.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

In another large bowl, cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Sift 1 ¾ cups flour with baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and stir until blended.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Mix the fruit and nuts into the batter. Just a note – at this point the batter become heavy. Heavy weightwise. It’s hard to turn it all around and mix it well, but just keep pulling the wet batter up from the bottom of your bowl until everything is well combined.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Put the batter into your prepared pan. This is not really a pourable batter. I use a wooden spoon to put big blobs of batter into the pan. When all of the batter is in the pan, smooth the top.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted halfway between the outside and tube of the pan comes out clean, about 2 ½ hours. Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Turn out onto a rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Candied Holiday Fruitcake

Our favorite holiday fruitcake. Moist, dense, and full of candied fruity goodness.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 16 oz. candied pineapple, chopped
  • 8 oz. candied cherries, halved
  • 4 oz. candied orange peel
  • 1 ¾ cups plus 3 tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tblsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 250°. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pecans and fruit with 3 tblsp of flour. In another large bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Sift 1 ¾ cups flour with baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to batter and stir until blended. Mix fruit and nuts into batter.
  4. Put batter into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 2 ½ hours.
  5. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

Notes

All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.

http://www.lanascooking.com/2010/12/21/candied-holiday-fruitcake/

– Original recipe from November 1991 Bon Appetit magazine

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 pegasuslegend December 22, 2010 at 3:34 am

I have never gotten brave enough to attempt this, you just gave me inspiration, its simply elegant. Everyone loves this cake, all that I bake this is one I have never tried, amazing! I love yours going to book mark thanks for posting this one! Merry Christmas and have a blessed and healthy New Year!

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2 Happier Than A Pig in Mud December 22, 2010 at 6:12 am

I’ll bet this is wonderful! You reminded me about a bread I usually make at Christmas, I call it Christmas Bread (original I know:@). Carrots, cherries, coconut and cloves! Gotta get my apron on and get busy-Merry Christmas!

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3 MomandNana December 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

This DOES look like a wonderful recipe but being a Georgia girl, I can’t read a post about fruitcake without mentioning Claxton fruitcake made right here in Claxton, Georgia. Definitely one of my own Christmas indulgences — I always seek it out. A small square with a glass of eggnog is the best holiday dessert ever!

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4 LimeCake December 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Fruit cake is so maligned indeed. I love it though, in moderation. LOL. Happy holidays!

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5 DessertForTwo January 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Wow, I’m so happy to find this recipe! We made the dark fruitcake from Joy of Cooking this Christmas. It was good, not great. Have you heard of Collin Street Bakery in Texas?

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6 Lana January 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm

No, I’ve never heard of them. Good, huh?

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7 Linda September 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm

This is as close as I’ve ever found to a recipe that was in Woman’s Day or Family Circle in the 60’s. It was part of my cookbook for ages and disappeared. When you make the fruitcake it seems there isn’t going to be enough “cake” to hold it together! Thank you.

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8 Pru November 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Your recipe looks very light and tempting. I intend to make it this Christmas. Could you give NE storing instructions and shelf life if this cake.
Pumla from Cape Town South Africa

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9 AmyO December 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

When’s the best time to likker it up? My Aunt SadiePearl used to make her secret fruitcake every year. She had tons of orders for it. It was heavy, moist & rich… After making it she’d wrap it in cloth, probably cheesecloth and brown paper & store in a dark cupboard. I remember her opening them every few days & splashing them with more bourbon. This went on for several weeks before she gave it to the person who ordered it, so it must have been good & pickled!
One day she gave me the recipe but when I went out for the day, she’d gone & taken it back! It was HER secret

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10 Lana Stuart December 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Amy, sorry I can’t help you because I don’t put liquor on mine. If I did, I’d probably use a very good bourbon and start several weeks in advance of when I wanted to serve it.

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