Home Desserts Traditional Holiday Fruitcake

Traditional Holiday Fruitcake

Krista S

No family dessert table at Christmas is complete without one of these delicious fruitcakes.  The fruitcake is timeless, and so are the fruitcake jokes that are sure to follow.  Johnny Carson once said famously that “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”  He partially says this because fruitcake also has an incredible shelf-life, ensuring you can make them well in advance and they will still be as good weeks later as they are when baked.  There is even one known to have been made in 1878!   Although not sure many will dip a fork into that one…

What makes a fruitcake taste so unique, or be liked by only those who have developed their acquired taste, is the variety of fruits, nuts and, of course, the alcohol.  That’s right, made with Sherry, fruitcakes offer a bit of a bite for those who like it.  Sort of like Rumballs, the alcohol taste is pretty subtle, but it is in there.  And for those who like Sherry, this dessert is a gem.

Fruitcakes have a as many variations you can create as you can think of….adding other types of fruits and nuts, adding or removing icing, the types of pans you make them in, etc, etc.  We could go on.  But to start, we are keeping it simple with this basic fruitcake dessert, nice and simple to make even with an extensive ingredient list.

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Traditional Holiday Fruitcake

  • Author: crystal
  • Total Time: 3.5 hours
  • Yield: 24 slices 1x


The traditional Christmas Fruitcake is as timeless as the holiday itself.  Many families have enjoyed these delicious desserts over the years, are easy to make ahead and store weeks in advance, and are hearty enough to ship across the country.


Units Scale

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped candied or maraschino cherries

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes

3/4 cup medium sweet Sherry

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 to 1 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temp

1 1/2 cups golden yellow sugar, unpacked

5 eggs

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Fondant or prepared icing (optional)


  1. Combine raisins, cherries, apricots and prunes in a large glass pie plate.  Stir to mix.  Pour Sherry over top and press fruit into the Sherry.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on medium for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes.  Stir, cover and microwave again for another 2 minutes.  Set aside for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, allowing the Sherry to fully absorb into the fruit.
  2. Lightly grease a 9 1/2″ springform pan.  Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper that extends slightly above the sides.  Spray sides with baking spray or oil.
  3. Heat oven to 300°F.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Stir in chosen nuts.
  5. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.  Slowly add sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla extract.  Add any Sherry not absorbed in your initial fruit mixture.  Beat for another 1-2 minutes until all is fully combined.  Remove from beater.
  6. Stir fruit mixture into flour mixture until fully coated.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter mixture.  Stir until no streaks of flour remain making the batter very thick.  Scrape into the prepared pan and roughly smooth the top.
  7. Place pan on a large baking sheet and put into the centre of the oven.    Bake until the cake starts to come away from the sides of the pan and your cake tester comes out clean – approx. 2 1/2 hours.  Cool for about 10-15 minutes and peal from parchment paper and remove the pan sides.
  8. Continue to allow cooling.  If not adding any icing or fondant, brush the top and sides with additional sherry.
  9. Want to make your own fondant?  See the below video for an easy tutorial.


  • To keep the cake moist while baking, place a loaf pan filled with hot water on the rack beside or below the cake.
  • You can store this in your refrigerator for a month or more.  Periodically brush with more sherry or keep it wrapped in a sherry soaked cheesecloth.
  • You can also substitute sherry with bourbon or brandy, it depends what you like to sip on as you cook!
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 2.5 hours
  • Category: Desserts

Keywords: fruitcake

Eat right away, store for weeks in your fridge, ship to your relatives, and take lots of pictures of your creation.  Enjoy!

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