Kymberly loves to cook, bake, and preserve. She'd love more time to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious (healthy) recipes!
Perfect Fruitcake for Christmas or Anytime
Most fruitcakes suffer from being too dry and heavy. This pineapple fruitcake, however, is simple to make and turns out deliciously moist and fruity. It is also healthier and more satisfying to munch on than a chocolate cake.
It is perfect as a Christmas cake and can be 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. By Easter, there are usually loud calls for me to make it again!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
2 hours 20 min
- 100 ml rum or pineapple juice (optional)
- 375 grams mixed dried fruit
- 1 (450-gram) tin crushed pineapple with juice
- 125 grams unsalted butter, diced
- 200 grams brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 1 teaspoon mixed spices
- 150 grams self-raising flour
- 150 grams plain flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Blanched almonds or other nuts, for decoration
- For alcohol, use rum (normal, 50% or 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, mangoes, apples and cherries all work well
- A small amount of chopped glace ginger can add a warm zing, but don't include this when soaking the dried fruit.
- To 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 is typically comprised of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Apple pie, pumpkin pie or lebkuchen spice mixes can be used instead.
- To make self-raising flour, add 4 grams baking powder per 100 grams plain flour.
- Whole blanched almonds work better for decoration than non-blanched almonds. Pecans also look gorgeous and taste awesome.
Summary of Instructions (More Details Below)
- 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 then smooth and decorate the top.
- Bake for 1.5–2 hours at 180°C (350°F).
Read More From Delishably
- 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. Pineapple, orange or apple juice work well instead of alcohol. If you do 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. A few extra tablespoons of flour should work well.
- 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 the mixture from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. This may take several hours. I recommend covering the mixture and leaving it 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).
- 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 below. It is relatively easy to overcook this cake, so check it regularly!
- When done, allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes, then turn it onto a cake rake to continue cooling. You can spoon a little more rum over the top while the cake is still warm if you want it to be a little more alcoholic.
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 tins result in a higher cake, while larger tins result 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. Cakes baked in loaf tins also cut into "finger" servings more 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 frequently to make sure the top does not burn. As you bake, test the inside of the cake 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
Fun Fruitcake Variations
- Add one or two large handfuls of chopped nuts to the cake batter with the flour. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts and 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 desiccated 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 already.
- 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 and decorate the top of the cooled fruitcake with fondant and marzipan icing instead.
Alternative Desserts for When a Fruitcake Is Too Heavy
Although I love pineapple fruitcake, there are times when it is a little too heavy for the warm weather. I do occasionally eat it with ice cream, but sometimes I prefer a lighter and fresher fruity cake. Here are some delicious fruitcake alternatives:
- An apple bundt cake with a rum glaze works well as a classy, light Christmas-time dessert (or coffee-time snack) for those who dislike cakes with dried fruit.
- 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!
- If you want a really sugar-laden treat, this toffee apple cake is fabulous!