Try fruit cake with a new twist

Fruit cakes are the butt of practically every culinary Christmas joke.

Well, it’s the holidays, and fruit cakes are making their rounds yet again! Oh yes, they are the butt of practically every culinary Christmas joke because they’re known for their cloyingly-sweet taste, indestructibility, and long shelf life. And they can typically be used as a doorstop, weapon, or paperweight.

Fruit cakes are typically gifted to those who aren’t particularly held in the highest regard. And you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find folks who look forward to receiving these bad boys at Christmas time. 

Yet a select few actually like fruit cake and look forward to enjoying the sweet with a soothing cup of coffee. 

We decided to gift you a recipe for a moist and delicious fruit cake with a new twist that will keep you wanting more. It substitutes the traditional horrid, candied fruit with rehydrated dried fruit like apples, apricots, and raisins. The ground almonds also help keep the cake moist. We certainly hope this fruit cake becomes a traditional holiday family fave! 

Total Time: 2 1/2 hours
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Yield: one 6-inch cake


  • Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature


Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 6-inch round cake pan with butter, line with parchment (a 6-inch round on the bottom, plus a collar at least 4 inches high to cover the sides), and set aside.

Combine currants, dates, apricots, and cherries in a medium-sized bowl. In a small saucepan, warm brandy gently over low heat. Add to fruit mixture and stir to coat. Let mixture cool slightly, about 10 or 15 minutes.

In a clean medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In the large bowl of a standing or electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and citrus zests on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in three parts, mixing until just incorporated.

Fold in fruit mixture by hand, and scrape batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack until room temperature, about 3 hours, sprinkle powdered sugar on top, and serve.