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Moist Fruitcake and Fruitcake Cookie Recipes for Christmas

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Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

When it's made right, fruitcake is my absolute favorite holiday dessert. Here are my can't-fail recipes for this Christmas classic.

When it's made right, fruitcake is my absolute favorite holiday dessert. Here are my can't-fail recipes for this Christmas classic.

I realize that many people consider “fruitcake” to be a dirty word, a repulsive concoction, a laughingstock excuse for a dessert. I think part of the problem is that too many people have had fruitcake that was dry, with small bits of chopped mystery fruit instead of big chunks of cherries and pineapple.

Not everyone had the good fortune to grow up among old-fashioned Southern dessert “foodies." The recipes I will share with you here will change your mind about fruitcake. I have outlined three family fruitcake recipes, including a to-die-for fruitcake that is a fairly big project, and two recipes that are fast and easy.

Fruitcake sound like too much work? I can appreciate that sentiment. Instead, try fruitcake-inspired Christmas cookies, sometimes called Lizzies. Finally, if you don’t want to be bothered with cooking at all, I’ve shared my favorite commercially made fruitcake at the end of this article.

Note the huge chunks of candied fruit in this fruitcake—that's how it should be!

Note the huge chunks of candied fruit in this fruitcake—that's how it should be!

My All-Time Favorite Fruitcake Recipe

This is my absolute favorite fruitcake. My mom got the recipe from a work carpool friend many years ago. Her friend scribbled the recipe on a paper scrap in the car. This cake is moist and full of fruit, with a slightly creamy richness. Below are the recipes for the batter and the fruit filling.

How to Make the Batter

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 12 small or 10 large eggs
  • 1 pound plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs 1 or 2 at a time, beating after each egg
  3. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder
  4. Mix with an electric mixer.

How to Make the Fruit Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of fig preserves
  • 1 pound raisins
  • 1 ½ pounds candied cherries, red and green, cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 ½ pounds candied pineapple, yellow, cut in 1/2” pieces
  • 1 quart of pecans, or pecans and brazil nuts, chopped
  • 1 fresh grated coconut, or 1 large bag of frozen fine flake coconut
  • 1 cup scuppernong wine
  • 1 cup self-rising flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250˚F.
  2. Coat raisins, cherries, pineapple, nuts, and coconut with flour in an extra-large bowl or pan.
  3. Pour batter over coated fruit mixture.
  4. Add fig preserves and wine.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Grease large tube pan with Crisco. Line pan with waxed paper. Apply Crisco to paper.
  7. Pour mixture into tube pan, distributing evenly.
  8. Bake at 250˚F for 2 ½ hours.
Fruitcake can be baked in multiple loaf pans. Simply reduce the bake time and check periodically for doneness.

Fruitcake can be baked in multiple loaf pans. Simply reduce the bake time and check periodically for doneness.

Mom's Easy Fruitcake

Another recipe from my mom. She insisted I write down this recipe, guaranteed easy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pecans
  • 2 cups coconut
  • ½ pound red cherries
  • ½ pound green cherries
  • ½ pound pineapple
  • 1 pound raisins
  • 2 cans Eagle Brand milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250–300˚F.
  2. Cut cherries in halves or quarters, cut pineapple in ½” pieces. Chop nuts.
  3. Combine all ingredients.
  4. Grease tube pan with Crisco. Line pan with waxed paper. Apply Crisco to paper.
  5. Pour mixture into tube pan, distributing evenly.
  6. Bake at 250–300˚F for 1 ½ hours or until done.
No-bake fruitcake will be somewhat pale, looking a little like Claxton's old-fashioned fruitcake.

No-bake fruitcake will be somewhat pale, looking a little like Claxton's old-fashioned fruitcake.

Grandma's No-Bake Ice-Box Fruitcake

This recipe is from Grandma B. This is one of my brother’s fond memories of the holidays. This refrigerator cake was always around from Thanksgiving through New Year’s and beyond.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 pound coconut
  • 1 pound pecans, chopped
  • 1 pound raisins
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 jars cherries
  • 1 can Eagle Brand milk

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except milk. Then mix in milk.
  2. Cut front and two sides of graham cracker box, so that the top opens and closes like a book.
  3. Line cracker box with waxed paper.
  4. Pour cake batter into box.
  5. Refrigerate.
Christmas Fruitcake Cookies

Christmas Fruitcake Cookies

Miss Lula Mae's Merry Christmas Cookies

I made similar cookies to these once over 20 years ago, called Lizzies. To me, they were fruitcake cookies. I was making a variety of holiday goodies for friends and relatives for Christmas. The great thing about these cookies was that the recipe said they kept for several weeks if stored in an airtight container, which turned out to be true.

I have no idea where that recipe came from or disappeared to, but this recipe is from Miss Lula Mae W. from the church I grew up going to.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ pound raisins
  • ½ cup sherry wine, or ½ cup milk
  • 7 cups nuts, chopped
  • 1 pound candied pineapple
  • 1 pound candied cherries
  • 1 pound dates

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Mix in eggs to combine.
  4. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and wine.
  5. Add nuts and fruit.
  6. Drop by spoonfuls on a well-greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 300˚F for 20 to 30 minutes.

Makes about 100 cookies.

Assumption Abbey Fruitcake. I've ordered a couple dozen of these over the years for myself and for family.  They never disappoint!

Assumption Abbey Fruitcake. I've ordered a couple dozen of these over the years for myself and for family. They never disappoint!

Slice of Assumption Abbey Fruitcake

Slice of Assumption Abbey Fruitcake

Assumption Abby Fruitcake

Around 20 years ago, I came across an article in People Magazine about the Trappist Monks of Assumption Abbey in Ava, Missouri. The monks have been baking fruitcakes for 19 years. Ever since discovering them, I have ordered Assumption Abbey Fruitcakes for delivery a couple of times a year for my mom. They are simply the best fruitcake that I have ever had, outside of those baked by my mom.

I think of these fruitcakes as homemade away from home. The fruitcakes are 2 pounds apiece, and the price including delivery is $35.00 US. They will pray for you if you indicate on your order that you desire this.

Note: It previously was necessary to order really early for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but in the last few years, it seems they have boosted their inventory, because I've successfully ordered just a couple weeks before the holiday. Just to be safe, I still recommend ordering a little on the early side.

Avoid These Common Fruitcake Pitfalls!

This is NOT what a good fruitcake looks like. It should be mostly fruit and nuts, with relatively little batter to bind it all together.

This is NOT what a good fruitcake looks like. It should be mostly fruit and nuts, with relatively little batter to bind it all together.

This is NOT what your fruitcake's fruit mix should look like. The cherries and pineapple should be prominent, not the raisins.

This is NOT what your fruitcake's fruit mix should look like. The cherries and pineapple should be prominent, not the raisins.

© 2009 rmcrayne

Comments

AJ Long from Pennsylvania on December 18, 2014:

Wonderful recipes rmcrayne! Up and shared!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 09, 2010:

Good luck M. Dangerous to make these things because it's hard to just have a taste. I think it's best to make for large gatherings, and don't plan on taking any home.

M on October 28, 2010:

I love the recipes. just wish I could have the WW points

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on October 13, 2010:

Thanks for visiting myawn. My favorite is the one with the fig preserves and homemade wine.

myawn from Florida on October 08, 2010:

I have always liked the icebox fruitcake yummy!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 14, 2009:

Thanks for reading and commenting Leop. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.

Leop on November 11, 2009:

The fruit cake recipe sounds really delicious. Well written and simple to follow instructions. Just in time for xmas. Love trying different recipes every holiday and I just found the right one.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on October 31, 2009:

Thanks for reading and commenting.

myownworld, if you have a British or other accent, my mom would be captivated with you. Be a hearty eater and you've won her over.

Money Glitch, I decided to get some of Mom's recipes 5 or so years ago. It felt a little weird, but I'm glad I have them, and her. Lately we've spent lots of time on the phone, her dictating recipes to me.

Money Glitch from Texas on October 30, 2009:

Another set of great recipes. I am thrilled that you are sharing these. My Mom is in heaven now, and unfortunately because many of her recipes were memorized and never put on paper, I don't have them. Again, thanks so much for sharing!

myownworld from uk on October 30, 2009:

I have to meet your mom somehow...or at least, be able to make it to her Xmas lunch! am sure she's going to have plenty of delicious cakes ready! lol would u mind? Meanwhile, have printed out all your recipes of course; now all i need to do is to get my hands white! thanks for sharing these mouth watering recipes. x

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on October 29, 2009:

Tis' the season to be jolly Flightkeeper! Mom freezes whole, half and quarter cakes all the time. She swears by it. Says they are even moister.

Flightkeeper from The East Coast on October 29, 2009:

I am going to be so fat by the end of this Christmas season! Another recipe to add to my collection.