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.
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.
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.
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.
When the mixture has cooled, stir in the flour and eggs. Stir thoroughly to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the mixture.
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.
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.
More Recipes You’ll Like
- Traditional Irish Barmbrack
- Irish Fish Pie
- Boxty – Irish Potato Pancakes
- Leek and Potato Soup
- Mr. Guinness’ Cake
- Irish Stew
- Brown Irish Soda Bread
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Traditional Irish Spiced Fruitcake
- 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
- ⅓ 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
- 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.
- 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 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.