Fruity Boozy Fruitcake ❊ Festive Greetings


From the Urban Cottage, I wish you a Merry Christmas or all the best for whatever festivities you celebrate. And of course this extends to good wishes for the New Year as well. My gift to you this year is my Fruity Boozy Fruitcake recipe. I don’t expect you’ll be making it right now, but I think you’ll thank me next year when fruitcake-making time comes around again.

Fruity, Boozy Fruitcake |© Urban Cottage

Fruitcake. It seems you either love it or hate it. If you hate it, you make jokes about it. But if you love it, and especially if you’re a fan of a dark, fragrant cake filled to bursting with delicious dried fruits and two kinds of nuts, bathed in boozy goodness, then I think you’ll love this cake.

I first made fruitcake just over twenty years ago and it’s become a signature sign of the holidays for me. You can keep it tightly sealed in a cool, dry place for up to a year (and it can be frozen after that), so it makes sense to make it ahead. In fact, it’s preferable that it has some time to ripen so it mellows and tastes even better. That’s important for this fruity, boozy version.

Fruity, Boozy Fruitcake |© Urban Cottage

Every year I intend to make my fruitcake well in advance, but that usually doesn’t happen. This year, I made it three weeks before Christmas and while it could benefit from further mellowing, it’s still delicious. Next year, I think I should make it in June, and it will be pretty amazing by the time Christmas rolls around. (Ahem, I may have said that in years past, too!)

On the other hand, you can enjoy this decadent treat year-round — why wait until Christmas?

Fruity, Boozy Fruitcake |© Urban Cottage

Let’s Get Baking!

Fruity Boozy Fruitcake

  • Servings: 84 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Fruity, Boozy Fruitcake |© Urban Cottage

I started out by making the Extra-Fruity Dark Fruitcake recipe from The Canadian Living Christmas Book, ©1993 and over the years have evolved the recipe to suit my tastes. Gone are the neon red and green candied cherries, replaced by dried sour cherries. I’ve added tart dried cranberries and almonds to the mix as well, and used the crabapple jelly I preserved this summer instead of the red currant jelly called for in the original recipe. I like to use rum in my fruitcake; most years it’s dark rum, but this year I used the golden Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum. No doubt I’ll continue to play around with the recipe; the important thing is to keep the proportion of fruit and nuts to batter roughly the same.

  • 2-1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 1-1/2 cups Thompson raisins (dark seedless)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice)
  • 1-1/4 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped candied pineapple
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 2/3 cup chopped candied peel mix
  • 1/3 cup dark or golden rum (or brandy, sherry or fruit juice)
  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup crabapple jelly
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds (skin on)
  • more rum, for soaking once the cake is baked (see directions below)

First, combine all the fruits, including the peel, in a bowl and stir in the rum. Cover and let the fruits enjoy their boozy bath overnight, with the occasional stir. See, it’s smelling good already in the kitchen and you just got started!

The next day, pre-heat the oven to 300℉ and prepare a 9″ x 13″ pan by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper. Put a kettle on to boil and have another baking dish on standby.

Mix together the flour, salt, and spices. Toss about 1/2 cup with the raisin mixture to keep all the fruity goodness from sticking together.

Cream the butter, sugar and jelly together until light, then add the almond extract and beat in the eggs individually. Now it’s time to stir in the flour. Once incorporated, you’re at the really exciting part: stirring in the fruit mixture and nuts. You might think there’s not enough batter to take in all those goodies, but there is! Just keep stirring until everything is well incorporated.

Carefully spread the batter in the prepared pan, getting it as even as possible. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Cover the pan loosely with foil, shiny side out and slide onto the middle rack of the oven. Put a dish of boiling water on the bottom rack and bake for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

I let the cake cool in the pan, then (OPTIONAL) skewer it all over over and carefully and evenly pour over about a 1/4 cup of rum. Tightly seal the dish with plastic wrap and foil, and put in a cool, dark cupboard for a week. After a week, I add another 1/4 cup of rum and leave it to get happy for at least two more weeks.

To store the cake, or for gifting, I cut it into six pieces, and wrap them tightly in both plastic wrap and foil. Then I store it in the same cool, dark cupboard and enjoy throughout the year.

Other Cakes for the Winter Holiday Season

Here are a few of the cakes that find their way to my dessert tables for Christmas, New Year’s and other winter holiday occasions: Pecan Coffee Cake with a Cranberry Pecan Topping, Cranberry Orange Walnut Loaf and Cranberry Cheesecake. Um, do you see a cranberry theme here?


  1. As a fan of fruitcake and after tasting a delicious morsel of yours , I am so pleased to have the recipe…it is excellent! Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas, Marlene, and an even better 2016! Sharon

    Sent from my iPad


    • Thanks for much Tiffany, and to you as well! I think fruitcake has gotten a bad rap from dry cakes with too much peel in them, which does seem to be an acquired taste. I started making them more because I liked the idea of them more than any I had tasted in the past … now I enjoy them greatly!

  2. Hi Marlene

    I love fruit cake and plan to put this away for next year and begin the process in October so I can have it at this time next year.

    Had no idea how it was made.

    all the best for the new year and many, many thanks for your ongoing support of The Meal.

    Take care


  3. I’m a fan of fruitcake and yours and mine are very similar. I too keep saying that I need to make it earlier but it never seems to happen. Merry Christmas.

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