Recipes » Dessert Recipes » Irish Spiced Fruitcake

Irish Spiced Fruitcake

You’ll love this Traditional Irish Spiced Fruitcake recipe filled with raisins, currants, and cherries and spiced with ginger and allspice.
4.7 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Irish spiced fruitcake on a cutting board.

A traditional Irish spiced fruitcake recipe using dried fruits and spices. Lovely for your dessert or afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

I often receive new cookbooks for Christmas and one of my favorites ever is called The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. It just captivates my attention with its fantastic recipes and incredible photography of the Irish countryside. I’ve read that cookbook all the way through at least three times already and made most of the recipes in it.

Irish spiced fruitcake dusted with sugar and cut into wedges.

Not Your Usual American Style Fruitcake

One of the first recipes I chose to try from that lovely cookbook is this Irish Spiced Fruitcake. We love our traditional holiday fruitcakes but I know that many people don’t care for the candied fruit in those.

If you’re one of them, you really should try this cake instead. No candied fruit in sight. Just lovely dried cherries, raisins, and currants. And the spices are heavenly. A lovely combination of allspice and ginger gives just the right flavor along with the dried fruit.

I did a little research on this cake since I’d never seen a method quite like this one. What I found was that this traditional recipe is also called an “Irish Boiled Fruitcake.” You’ll see why that makes perfect sense when you read the recipe which, by the way, is ridiculously easy. I also found that this is typically served for an afternoon snack or tea.

How to Make Irish Spiced Fruitcake

Before you start, prepare a deep 8″ cake pan or 8″ square pan by greasing it with butter. Cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Place the wax paper in the bottom of the pan and then grease the wax paper as well. Set that aside.

Cake ingredients (except flour and eggs) in a saucepan.

Next measure all your ingredients except the flour and eggs into a saucepan. Bring that to a boil while stirring constantly. Lower the temperature and let it simmer for 5 more minutes giving it a stir every once in a while.

Fruit, spices, and butter mixture after boiling.

Remove the boiled mixture from the heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes or until it has cooled. It will thicken a little while it cools. While the boiled mixture cools, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stirring the flour and eggs into the boiled mixture in the saucepan.

When the mixture has cooled, stir in the flour and eggs. Stir thoroughly to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the mixture.

Finished cake batter poured into a prepared pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 and continue cooking until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cooking Time

A note about the cooking time: The original recipe (along with others I’ve seen on the internet) says to cook at 350 for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 and continue cooking for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. I’ve made this cake many times and my cake is always done after the first 30 minutes. I can’t imagine how burned it would be if I continued to cook for another hour! However, I realize that baking times vary from oven to oven and also based on the material of the pan you’re using. My recommendation is to check the cake after 30 minutes and if it’s not done, reduce the heat to 325 and continue to cook checking every 10 to 15 minutes.

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn it out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

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Irish spiced fruitcake on a cutting board.

Traditional Irish Spiced Fruitcake

You’ll love this Traditional Irish Spiced Fruitcake recipe filled with raisins, currants, and cherries and spiced with ginger and allspice.
4.72 from 7 votes
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Irish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dark raisins
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup currants Note: use any combination of raisins and/or currants to equal 1 ½ cups
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup turbinado or other raw sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ¾ cups self-rising flour
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

Instructions

  • Prepare a deep 8" cake pan or 8"square pan by greasing it with butter. Cut a piece of wax paper to fit thebottom of the pan. Place the wax paper in the bottom of the pan and then greasethe wax paper as well. Set that aside.
  • Put all ingredients except flour and eggs into a large saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat while stirring continuously. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Stir the flour and eggs into the cooled fruit, spice, and nut mixture. Make sure the ingredients are well combined and no dry flour is visible in the mixture.
  • Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Test the cake by inserting a skewer or toothpick in the center. If the tester does not come out clean, lower the oven temperature to 325 and continue baking and testing every 10 minutes until done. The additional baking time will vary greatly depending on your oven and the cake pan used. Watch carefully as the cake can burn easily.
  • Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Notes

  • The fruit mixture must be completely cooled before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Storing: This fruitcake will last about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container though it will begin to lose moisture over time so it’s best to consume it as soon as possible.
  • Freezing: Fruitcake may be frozen for 4-6 months if each piece is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then placed in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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17 Comments

  1. Can regular granulated sugar and brown sugar be used in place of turbinado or raw sugar?
    I have never used those before and hate to buy them just for one recipe. Pretty pricey.

    1. You could try light brown sugar as a substitute, Sylvia. However, I have not tried it myself so I can’t guarantee your results, but I’d think it would work.

  2. Lana,
    I pulled down my Irish Pub Cook Book to look for a shrimp spread and happened upon the fruit cake recipe. It looks so inviting and I happen to have fruit ready for a Traditional English Fruit Cake that I did not make. (I usually make them by the 1/2 dozen). I glanced at the recipe and just re-read it and saw the unusual step of boiling all together(except the flour and eggs). I thought to see what other recipes for the same type of cake asked for and behold…here I am on your site! I can’t wait to make this cake and use up the fruit that was meant for another!

  3. I am definitely one of the many people who do not like traditional fruitcake. This cakes sounds very tasty.

    1. We like them both, Wendy. I always make a traditional light fruit cake for Christmas, but this one is great for any time of year. It’s especially good with a nice cup of coffee on a cool afternoon.

  4. I love the no-fuss prep method for this cake and the fact that it doesn’t need any frosting – looks easy and delicious!

  5. I will let you in on a secret ….. don’t tell anyone else….. if I have to make a cake, you can be pretty safe in betting that it will NOT have icing that has to be cooked like a candy process. Not that I cannot do it, but I choose not to do it. Yep, most of my icing will be of the cream cheese/powdered sugar variety.
    Therefore, this looks wonderful. No icing required.

    Miss P

    1. Yes, me and layer cakes just don’t really get along. I can do them if I *have* to, but I never enjoy making one. Cream cheese and powdered sugar…that’s the way to go!

  6. I absolutely love cakes like this and cannot wait to try this one.. reminds me of one my Grandma made when I was a little girl – we’d have a small slice with our “tea” in the afternoon!
    Pub food, if done well, is amazingly good!! I know what you mean about the scenery – when we were there it was a good thing my husband was driving otherwise we’d of ended up in a ditch due to my “rubbernecking”!!

    1. I love these kinds of cakes, too, Nancy. I’ve never been good at layer cakes with all that frosting and filling. I do them once in a while, but much prefer a simple one-layer cake of this type.

      I know what you mean about the scenery! When we were there, I couldn’t watch the road for looking around at the absolute beauty everywhere. My heart still longs to take another trip to Ireland.

  7. Saw your recipe on food gawker. This cake is almost identical to my irish great grandma’s except she used a dark beer (usually porter) instead of milk. You should try it that way sometime…and I agree…a delicious holiday treat and no weird candied fruit in sight! :)

    1. Tara – I’m definitely going to have to make this again with the dark beer. Thank you so much for sharing that hint!