The Best Fruit Cake for Christmas

by Julia Kholodovska
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Christmas is around the corner, and what is a better way to celebrate than with a delicious, moist, and flavorful Fruit Cake? This easy-to-follow recipe guarantees a cake that turns out perfectly every time, offering a delightful combination of dried fruits and nuts. Whether you choose to soak the fruits in brandy or opt for a non-alcoholic version, this cake is sure to be a hit at your holiday table.

This Fruit Cake Loaf is super moist, fluffy, sweet, flavorful, and tastes amazing. You can make the cake ahead or bake it the day before serving – in both cases, it is wonderful.

Fruit cake with sugared cranberries on top


  • Spelt Flour: I prefer spelt flour for this recipe, but feel free to use all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour, both versions work well.
  • Sour Cream: Provides soft, moist, and tender texture to the cake.
  • Unsalted Butter: To ensure the cake’s moistness.
  • Large Egg: For binding the cake.
  • Light Brown Sugar: For sweetening the cake. Other types of sugar will work here as well.
  • Salt: To balance the sweetness and enhance the flavors.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Leaving agents to help the cake rise.
  • Brandy: For soaking fruits and providing a long storage period.
  • Fruits and Nuts: For the filling of the Fruit cake, you can choose a combination of your favorite dried fruits and nuts. We use:
    • Dried Cranberries
    • Raisins
    • Glazed Cherries
    • Dried Apricots
    • Walnuts

Ingredients for the fruit cake

How to Make

  1. Prepare the Fruits: Wash and drain your dried fruits, then soak them in brandy for approximately 24 hours to infuse a rich flavor.
  2. Preheat the Oven: Set the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C). Line a 9×5-inch (or 22x11cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix Wet Ingredients: Use a mixer to beat the butter with sugar until it turns light and fluffy. Add sour cream and egg, and mix until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.
  6. Add Fruits and Nuts: Incorporate the soaked dried fruits and chopped nuts into the batter, making sure not to overmix.
  7. Bake: Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 1.5-2 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool and Enjoy: Allow the freshly baked cake to cool for approximately 15 minutes before carefully removing it from the pan. Let it cool completely on a wire rack, and then it’s ready to be enjoyed or stored for the holidays!

Fruit loaf cake decorated with sugared cranberries

Soaking Fruit for Christmas Cake

For the best flavor, soak the fruits in brandy a day before making the cake. But if you have no time or have forgotten to do it, you can soak them for at least a couple of hours.

If you want to omit alcohol, just substitute brandy, and soak the fruits in tea, orange juice, or apple juice. The flavor will be different, but also amazing. Personally, I like to soak fruits in Earl Grey tea for a non-alcoholic version – the flavor of bergamot in combination with orange zest in the cake tastes just wonderful. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of this Fruit cake are super delicious.

Alcoholic Soaking:

If you’re opting for the traditional alcoholic version, here are some variations for you to try:

  • Brandy: For the traditional version of Fruit Cake.
  • Rum: Consider soaking the fruits in rum for a robust flavor profile.
  • Fruit Liqueurs: Experiment with fruit-based liqueurs such as orange liqueur or cherry brandy for a special flavorful touch.

Non-Alcoholic Alternatives:

For those who prefer a non-alcoholic version of the cake, the options are equally delightful:

  • Tea Soak: Substitute brandy with tea for a unique flavor. Popular choices include Earl Grey tea, infusing the cake with the distinct notes of bergamot in combination with orange zest. This non-alcoholic version is my personal favorite.
  • Fruit Juices: Orange juice or apple juice are excellent alternatives, imparting their unique flavors to the fruit mix. Experiment with different juices to find your preferred combination.

Remember, the soaking process not only enhances the taste but also contributes to the cake’s moistness, making every bite a true pleasure!

Christmas fruit cake on a white board

Decorating a Fruit Cake

Decorate your Christmas Fruit Cake with creative and festive decorations. While the decorating process is entirely optional, it adds a delightful touch to your holiday table, making the celebration even more special. Here are some inspiring ideas:

  • Classic Icing: Coat your fruit cake with a classic icing for an elegant look. Whether it’s a smooth glaze or some unique patterns, icing provides a perfect canvas for additional decorations.
  • Powdered Sugar Dusting: For a simple yet charming effect, dust your fruit cake with powdered sugar. This adds a subtle sweetness and a snowy touch, enhancing the festive feeling.
  • Sugared Cranberries: Top your cake with sugared cranberries, as we did in our recipe. This version of decoration looks so beautiful.
  • Dried Oranges and Fruits: Create a rustic aesthetic by decorating your cake with dried oranges or other dried fruits. Their natural colors and textures bring a touch of warmth to your holiday presentation.
  • Personalized Decorations: Let your creativity shine by incorporating personalized decorations. Consider edible flowers, festive figurines, or even edible gold or silver leaf for a touch of luxury.
  • Natural Greenery: Embrace the festive season by adding sprigs of fresh holly or pinecones.
  • Edible Glitter or Sprinkles: For a magical touch, sprinkle edible glitter or colorful sprinkles over the cake. This is an easy way to add a pop of color and sparkle.

The beauty of decorating your Christmas Fruit Cake lies in your personal style. You may decorate the cake in different ways – make the icing, dust it with powdered sugar, or top it with candied cranberries, as we did, or with dried oranges and other dried fruits. So be creative with the decorations or just keep it simple, it’s up to you. The joy of the holiday season is in the celebration, so have fun and make your cake a reflection of your festive spirit!

Sugared cranberries on the loaf cake

Expert Tips for Making the Best Fruit Cake

Follow these easy tips to ensure you make the best cake for your Christmas table:

  1. Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that ingredients like butter, eggs, and sour cream are at room temperature. It’s very important for the best results.
  2. Soak Fruits for Maximum Flavor: For an extra burst of flavor, soak your dried fruits in brandy a day before baking. This allows the fruits to absorb the rich, aromatic notes of the alcohol, enhancing the overall taste of the cake. Short on time? Even a couple of hours of soaking can make a difference.
  3. Consider Non-Alcoholic Versions: If you prefer a non-alcoholic version, substitute brandy with tea, orange juice, or apple juice. Check out our recommendations in the section above.
  4. Be Creative with Fruit Combinations: Experiment with different combinations of dried fruits and nuts to tailor the cake to your preferences. Consider figs, dates, or almonds for a personalized touch.
  5. Be Gentle with Mixing: When combining the dry and wet ingredients, avoid overmixing. Overmixing can lead to a dense cake. Mix until just combined.
  6. Check the Doneness of the Cake: Use a toothpick or skewer to check for doneness. Insert it into the center of the cake – if it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (not wet batter), the cake is ready. Oven temperatures may vary, so start checking for doneness around 1 hour and 30 minutes into baking.
  7. Mature the Flavor: The flavors of this Fruit Cake mature over time. If possible, bake it a few days before serving to allow the flavors to meld, resulting in an even more delightful taste.

Storage Instructions

After Fruit Cake cools, wrap it tightly in plastic or foil to keep it moist. Pop it in an airtight container and store it at room temperature, away from sunlight and big temperature changes. For extra freshness, put the wrapped cake in a plastic bag before it goes into the container. This helps it stay yummy and keeps the texture just right.

As the flavors get better over time, let your cake sit for a few days in storage. Check for dryness now and then, and if needed, give it a light brush with brandy or syrup to keep it moist. You can put it in the fridge to make it last longer, but make sure it’s well-wrapped. Whether you’re having a slice right away or saving it for later, these storage tricks make sure your Christmas treat stays tasty all through the holiday season.

Christmas fruit loaf cake

More Recipes for Your Holiday Table

Check out other ideas for your holiday table:

Fruit cake with sugared cranberries on top

The Best Fruit Cake for Christmas

Rating: 5.0/5
( 6 voted )
Prep Time: Cooking Time: Total Time:
Cuisine: Yield: 12 slices
Calories for Serving: 200 kcal 20 grams fat
Here is an easy and super delicious Fruit Cake that turns out perfectly every time. It is super moist, fluffy, sweet, flavorful and really incredible. You can make the cake ahead or can bake it the day before serving - in both cases it tastes amazing.


  • ¾ cup (120 g) dried apricots, chopped
  • ⅔ cup (100 g) dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup (150 g) glazed cherries
  • ⅔ cup (100 g) raisins
  • ¾ cup (180 g) brandy (tea or juice for non-alcoholic version)
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 g) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (120 g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 g) spelt flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Wash and drain dried fruits, and soak them in brandy for about 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a 9x5-inch (or 22x11cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. Using a mixer, beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and egg, and mix until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
  6. Add dried fruits and chopped nuts to the batter, and mix well, but do not overmix.
  7. Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan. Bake the cake for 1.5-2 hours until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Let it completely cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!


Calories: 369kcal Fat: 16.8g Saturated Fat: 6.7g Cholesterol: 40mg Sodium: 273mg Carbohydrate: 44g Fiber: 4.7g Sugar: 20.3g Protein: 7g Vitamin D: 7mcg Calcium: 59mg Iron: 2mg Potassium: 417mg
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Can I freeze the Christmas Fruit Cake for later?
Certainly! Wrap the cake in layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer bag. Remember to label it with the date. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Can I use fresh fruits into the cake batter?
While dried fruits are the stars of this recipe, you can experiment with small amounts of finely chopped fresh fruits like apples or pears, for example.
Can I make a gluten-free version of the Fruit Cake?
Yes. Experiment with gluten-free flour alternatives to make the cake without gluten. Consider almond flour or a gluten-free baking mix as an alternative.

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