This old-fashioned White Fruitcake is baked 4 weeks in advance and covered with a wine-soaked cloth, resulting in a moist and flavorful fruitcake. It’s made with lots of fresh pecans and candied cherries and pineapple. No citrus rind!!!
STOP!! Don’t run!! When you think about fruitcake, you probably think about those nasty little store-bought cakes that get used as gag gifts at Christmas. They are tasteless and dry and the only flavor is that of the bitter citrus rind in the recipe. If I was starving on a deserted island, I might be able to eat one. Store-bought fruitcakes give fruitcake a really bad reputation and it’s really a shame because a real homemade fruitcake is actually delicious. So please don’t run away. I’m here to show you what real homemade fruitcake is all about.
This fruitcake recipe has been in my family for decades! I couldn’t imagine Christmas without this cake gracing our dessert table. I’ve made this cake several times, but my sister Nancy usually does the honor, while I make other desserts. Last year I decided to take pictures while Nancy made the cake, so I could post it this year. Below, I’ll show you the easy steps for making this wonderful old-fashioned cake.
Please read the steps and tips below before making this cake!
STEPS AND TIPS FOR MAKING THE CAKE
PREPARING THE CAKE PAN
You can use an angel food or tube cake pan to bake this cake. The bottom of the pan needs to be lined with either parchment paper or a piece of a brown paper bag. Above are some pictures of my sister Nancy, lining the pan. She used brown paper, but you can use parchment paper as well.
- Butter or grease the bottom of the pan. Place the paper round on the bottom and butter or grease the top of the paper.
Note: This cake can also be baked in 5 mini loaf pans. You can purchase the disposable pans in a pack of 5 to 6. When baking the mini loaves, I decorate the top of each one with 1 each, green cherry, pecan, and red cherry.
PREPARING THE BATTER
This batter is a very thick batter. Once you add the fruit and nuts, do not overmix. Mix just enough to incorporate them.
- Mix the wet ingredients, followed by the dry
- Add the candied fruit and mix in by hand with a wooden spoon
- Add the pecans and mix again
- Add the raisins and mix once again
BAKING THE CAKE
Decorate the top of the cake prior to baking, with whole green and red cherries and whole pecan halves.
The cake bakes at a low temperature of 275 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, depending on your oven. When the cake is done, it will be a golden brown on top. If you check it with a long skewer or toothpick, it should come out clean.
Note: It’s important to not leave the cake in the pan overnight, or it will become soggy. Allow the cake to rest for 20 minutes and invert it onto a wire rack to completely cool.
SOAKING AND STORING THE CAKE
Feel free to use any sweet or semi-sweet wine on this cake. This is the wine my sister used. My mother and I always used Mogan David. Use your favorite.
Once the cake has completely cooled, place a piece of thin white cloth or cheesecloth over the cheesecake. Drizzle 1/2 cup of wine over the cloth. Wrap the cake tightly in foil and place in an airtight container or in a pot with a lid. My sister Nancy always wraps the cake in foil and places it in a pot with a lid.
- This cake takes 4 weeks to cure. It’s important to make it plenty in advance before Christmas. My family always makes it the weekend after Thanksgiving, and sometimes even the weekend before, but definitely no later than the week after.
- Check the cake after the third week!! If the top of the cake feels the least bit moist, leave it alone. If it feels dry, pour about 1/8 cup more wine over the cheesecloth. If it feels extremely dry, add up to 1/4 cup but no more. I have never added more than 1/8 cup of additional wine to mine and it has always turned out just right.
- Store the cake in a cool dry place, such as your garage. Don’t worry about the cake staying fresh. The wine acts as a preservative and cures it.
Tips for gifting fruitcake…
This fruitcake can be made into mini fruitcakes for gifting. The batter makes 5 mini loaves. Here are a few tips for making mini loaves…
- Bake them in small disposable pans. Check the baking time a little bit sooner. They might get done sooner than the large cake.
- Place cherries and pecan halves on the top of each one. This looks festive!
- Place a small cheesecloth or plain white cotton cloth on top of each one. Soak each cloth in wine.
- Place the cakes together in a large airtight container and check the wine cloth each week for dryness.
- Wrap each one securely in plastic wrap before gifting.
This old-fashioned White Fruitcake is slowly cured over a four week period and is simply loaded with candied fruit and pecans. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have any nasty citrus rind like those nasty store-bought fruitcakes either.
- 3 cups all purpose flour, spoon & leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk or wine (I use milk)
- 4 eggs
- 8 ounces red candied cherries, divided
- 8 ounces green candied cherries, divided
- 8 ounces candied pineapple, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups golden baking raisins
- 20 pecan halves for decorating the top of cake
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sweet or semi-sweet or sweet wine for soaking the top of cake.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place oven rack in the lowest position.
- Butter or grease the bottom of an angel food or tube cake pan. Line the pan with either parchment paper or a piece of brown paper bag. Butter or grease the top of the paper round. See pictures and instructions above recipe.
- From the 8 ounces each of red and green cherries, pick out and set aside, 10 each of the best green and red cherries to use for decorating the top of the cake. Cut the remaining cherries, along with the pineapple in half and set aside with the 20 pecan halves.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer. Mix on medium high speed for at least 2 minutes until the mixture is light smooth and creamy. (It will no longer have a gritty sugary appearance). Add the eggs , one at a time, and mix to thoroughly incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stop mixing just before the last addition of dry ingredients are totally incorporated. You’ll see some little streaks of flour in the mixture.
- Using a wooden spoon, add the candied fruit and mix to incorporate. Batter will be very thick and hard to mix. Do not over mix. Add the pecans and mix again, followed by the golden raisins.
- Spoon about 1/2 of the batter into the cake pan and use a spoon or spatula to smooth out the thick batter. Spoon the remaining batter into the pan and smooth the batter out again.
- Place the decorative cherries and pecans on the top of the batter, arranging them carefully. See picture above recipe.
- Bake cake for at least 2 1/2 hours before checking it. Using a long wooden or metal skewer that will go all the way through the cake to check it for doneness. Do not remove the cake from the oven until it is golden brown on top and the skewer comes out clean with no sticky doughy crumbs on it. Ovens vary! Your cake could take anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 hours, depending on your oven. Mine took 4 hours.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the sides of the cake. Gently invert the cake onto a wire rack, place another rack on top of the cake, and gently flip the cake over onto the second wire rack. The top of the cake should be facing upward. Allow the cake to completey cool. It’s important to not leave this cake in the pan overnight or it will become soggy.
- Once the cake has completely cooled, place a piece of thin white cloth or cheesecloth over the cheesecake. Drizzle 1/2 cup of wine over the cloth. Wrap the cake tightly in foil and place in an airtight container or in a pot with a lid. See pictures above.
- Check the cake at the end of the third week. If the cake seems slightly moist leave it alone. If it seems dry to the touch, add about 1/8 cup more of the wine to the cheesecloth. You don’t want to add too much! If it’s extemely dry add up to 1/4 cup, but no more or the cake will become soggy later. I’ve never added more than the 1/8 cup.
- Keep leftover cake in an airtight container. For the freshest cake, eat within 5 days.
- This cake freezes beautifully. I wrap and freeze individual pieces and remove one at a time later, when I’m in the mood for a piece.
- Category: Cakes
- Method: Bake
Keywords: fruitcake, white fruitcake, Christmas,