Pineapple Fruit Cake Recipe
Most fruitcakes suffer from being too dry and heavy. However, this pineapple fruit cake is simple to make, and deliciously moist and fruity. It is also healthier and more satisfying than a chocolate cake to munch on.
It is perfect as a Christmas cake, or eaten hot with ice cream or custard as a lighter Christmas pudding.
It can be made with or without alcohol, and there are many ways to customize the recipe to suit anybody's taste.
Every year, I make it for my English students in Germany, as they haven't typically tried a cake with dried fruits, and by Easter, there are usually loud calls to make it again!
|Serving size: 1 piece|
|Calories from Fat||45|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 5 g||8%|
|Saturated fat 3 g||15%|
|Carbohydrates 40 g||13%|
|Sugar 20 g|
|Fiber 2 g||8%|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|Cholesterol 20 mg||7%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Pineapple fruit cake ingredients
- 100ml rum or pineapple juice, (optional)
- 375g mixed dried fruit
- 450g tin crushed pineapple with juice
- 125g unsalted butter, diced
- 200g brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 1 teaspoon mixed spices
- 150g self-raising flour
- 150g plain flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- blanched almonds or other nuts, for decoration
Summary of instructions
- Soak dried fruit overnight in juice or alcohol.
- Boil fruit, sugar, butter and spices for 10 minutes. Cool thoroughly.
- Mix eggs, then flour into the fruit mixture.
- Pour into a double-lined 18cm (7") cake tin, smooth and decorate the top.
- Bake for 1.5-2 hours at 180°C (350°F). (Detailed instructions below)
Alcohol: rum (normal, 50%, 80%), brandy, whisky, or sherry. For a strong orange flavour, Grand Marnier or Cointreau work well.
Use a mixture of your favourite dried fruits - sultanas, currants, raisins, cranberries, prunes, apricots, dates, mango, apples, cherries, etc.
A small amount of chopped glace ginger can add a warm zing, but don't include this when soaking the dried fruit.
Make your own crushed pineapple: use a stick blender to puree pineapple pieces or slices with their juice. This also works with other tinned fruits like apricots, peaches, and cherries.
Use brown, raw or white sugar. Brown sugar has a more caramel-like taste.
Mixed spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. Apple pie, pumpkin pie, or lebkuchen spice mixes can be used instead.
Make self raising flour: add 4g baking powder per 100g plain flour.
Whole blanched almonds work better for decoration than non-blanched. Pecans also look gorgeous and taste awesome.
- If using alcohol or fruit juice, soak the dried fruit mixture in the liquid for several hours or overnight to rehydrate the dried fruits. This will result in a moister fruitcake.
Note: If you use fruit juice or alcohol to rehydrate the dried fruits, you will need to add a little more flour to ensure the cake is not soggy. An extra few tablespoons of flour will work well.
Pineapple, orange or apple juice work well instead of alcohol.
- Pour the fruit mixture (and any remaining liquid) into a large saucepan. Add the crushed or pureed pineapple and juice, diced butter, sugar, spices, bicarbonate and salt to the saucepan.
Bring this mixture to the boil, and let it bubble gently for 10 minutes. This will make the house smell divine!
- Remove from the heat, and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Note: This may take several hours. I recommend covering and leaving the mixture to cool overnight.
- Mix in the beaten eggs, then sift in the flours, and mix well. Make sure there are no lumps of flour. The mixture will be quite thick.
- Butter and double-line your cake tin with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°C). If you are using a fan-forced oven, drop the temperature by about 10°C (15°F).
- Pour, or rather spoon, the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Flatten the top and try to make it an even height. Decorate with nuts.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 1.5-2 hours, according to the cake tin size notes above. It is relatively easy to overcook this cake, so check it regularly!
- When done, cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn onto a cake rake to cool.
You can spoon over a little more rum while the cake is still warm, if you want the cake to be a little more alcoholic.
What is your favourite dried fruit?
A note on cake tin sizes
This cake can be cooked in a variety of cake tin sizes and shapes, but the baking time will be affected.
Smaller cake tins result in a higher cake, larger cake tins in a flatter cake that cooks more quickly.
You don't need to use a round tin - a square or rectangular tin is much easier to line, and a loaf tin cuts into finger serving portions easily!
It is important to prepare the cake tin with a double layer of buttered baking paper to prevent the cake from becoming dry or burning.
As the cake bakes, check on it regularly to make sure the top does not burn.
Test regularly with a wooden or metal skewer. The cake is done when there is no sticky batter on the skewer, and the top looks golden-brown.
A rough guide for cake tin size and baking times at 180°C (350°F):
- 18cm (7") round cake tin - 2 hours
- 20cm (8") round cake tin - 1.5 hours
Fruit cake variations
- Add one or two large handfuls of chopped nuts to the cake batter with the flour. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, or walnuts work well.
- Add a small packet of ground almonds or hazelnuts and an extra egg to the cake batter with the flour.
- Add a large handful of dessicated coconut and an extra egg to the cake batter with the flour.
- Add vanilla or almond essence or extract to the boiled fruit mixture after it has cooled.
- Include glace cherries, glace ginger, or mixed citrus peel in the fruit mixture.
- Use less sugar for a less sweet cake. There is a lot of sugar in the dried fruits and crushed pineapple alone!
- Add ground coriander, ginger, cloves, and/or cayenne pepper to the spice mix.
- Add cocoa to the flour mix for a slight chocolate twist.
- Use crushed or pureed mixed tinned fruit or tinned apricots in fruit juice, instead of pineapple. You may need to add a little flour depending on the amount of liquid in the canned fruit.
- Skip the nuts on the top of the cake, and decorate the cooled fruitcake with fondant and marzipan icing.
When a dried fruit cake is too heavy
Although I love pineapple fruit cake, there are times it is a little too heavy for the warm weather. I could, and do occasionally eat it with ice cream, but sometimes prefer a lighter and fresher fruity cake.
An apple bundt cake with a rum glaze works well as a classy lighter Christmas-time dessert (or coffee-time snack) for those who dislike dried fruit cakes.
If you're in more of a citrus mood, my favourite lemon and lime cake should hit the spot nicely. It looks gorgeous when covered in super-thin slices of candied peel!
And if you want a really sugar-laden treat, this toffee apple cake is fabulous!
What is your favourite cake to bake and eat at Christmas?
Please leave a comment below, and perhaps a link to your favourite recipe!