Candied fruits for fruitcake are fruits preserved in sugar syrup. The resulting product is very popular as an ingredient in fruitcakes. Candied fruits are also used as toppings on sweetened meringue pies or fillings of pastries such as the Queen of Puddings, a traditional British dessert. In Europe, candied fruits are usually eaten during winter holiday seasons.
Candied fruits are sweet, tasty and very colorful. They can be difficult to make. Keep in mind that some fruits have a stringy center that you should remove before you cook them with water and sugar. The variety of fruits you can choose is wonderful! You no longer need to buy candied fruits from the store, now you can candy your own fruits!
What Is A Holiday Fruitcake?
Pity the poor, maligned fruitcake. Who hasn’t heard stories of the same fruitcake that gets passed around every year and then sits on a shelf until the next holiday season? The poor things are often referred to as bricks, paperweights or doorstops. Most people either love it or hate it. Don’t blame the fruitcake; blame the recipe. There are many different styles and recipes from which to choose, so give fruitcake another chance.
What Is Fruitcake?
Fruitcakes have been making the rounds for centuries. In general, fruitcakes can include any and all of the following: candied fruit, dried fruit, fruit rind, nuts, spices and some sort of liquor or brandy.
The ratio of fruit and nuts to the batter is fairly high, with just enough cake batter to hold it all together. This naturally results in a very dense, moist, heavy cake, no doubt giving rise to the doorstop reference. There are two basic types:
- Light Fruitcake: This type is made with light-colored ingredients such as granulated sugar, light corn syrup, almonds, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots and the like.
- Dark Fruitcake: Darker ingredients are used such as molasses, brown sugar, and darker-colored fruits like raisins, prunes, dates, cherries, pecans, and walnuts.
The 10 Best Fruitcakes to Order Online in 2022
The Dreaded Citron: What Is It?
Those who do not like fruitcake generally point the finger at the candied citron or fruits used in the cake. Candied citron is made from the thick peel of the citrus fruit of the same name. The fruit looks like a large, lumpy lemon and has a thick peel and relatively little pulp or juice. It’s one of the four ancient citrus fruits, being grown for over 3000 years. Citron oil was used for perfume.
Today, citron fruit is used to make candied citron peel as well as being used commercially as a source of pectin, which is soluble fiber. The candied peel used in fruitcake is brined and fermented for several weeks, desalted, boiled, and then candied in a sugar solution. After that, it is dried and sold to be used as an ingredient in fruitcake, plum pudding, and other baked goods and candy.
Substitutes For Citron In Fruitcake
You don’t have to use citron in your fruitcake. You can use any candied fruit that you prefer, many types are readily available in the baking section of your grocery store. If you like to make your own candied fruit, you can do so. Think of pineapple, cherry, orange rind, or lemon rind. It is made by dipping or boiling pieces of fruit in heavy syrup and then drying them. They are often rolled in granulated sugar after the drying process.
If you don’t like candied fruits or peels, try substituting plain dried fruit pieces in your fruitcake. You can find many types of dried fruit in the grocery store, including raisins, currants, apricots, peaches, bananas, mangos, papaya, and much more
EXTRA FANCY FRUITCAKE MIX
This is the ultimate fruit cake mix, filled with the very best of Paradise’s candied fruits. Of course, it is not only for use in making fruit cakes, and can be used to enhance the look, taste and texture of virtually any baking you do that calls for candied fruit. Try it in cookies, fruit/trail bars, muffins and cinnamon rolls. The mix combines our finest candied cherries, pineapple, citron, lemon peel and orange peel.
Our Extra Fancy Fruit Cake mix is packed in a reusable plastic container that has recipes and a valuable redeemable coupon attached. To find a grocer or specialty store near you that stocks Paradise candied fruit mixes, go to our grocery locator. If you prefer, you can now purchase our products online through amazon.com.
World’s Best Fruit Cake
If you recognize today’s dessert, you deserve a pat on the back!
As hard as it is to believe, I first shared this fruit cake recipe back in 2013. It has been a holiday staple in our household for as long as I can remember. Christmas isn’t Christmas without several slices of my mom’s famous fruit cake!
Nearly six years have passed and since then, it has become one of the most popular holiday recipes on A Beautiful Plate.
If you’re a fruit cake cynic, hear me out! This is the best fruit cake in the world – and the only fruit cake that I’ve ever loved and enjoyed.
While this recipe has received rave reviews and become a staple for many readers, I’ve teamed up with All-Clad to showcase their new Pro-Release Bakeware Set and Silicone Tools, and give this fruit cake recipe a new and improved update for the holiday season.
This fruit cake recipe features their All-Clad Pro-Release Loaf Pan. All of the All-Clad Pro-Release bakeware pieces feature oversized, easy-to-grab handles, and a nonstick (PFOA-free) finish that releases baked goods effortlessly.
This fruit cake batter is sticky and packed with dried fruit pieces, which means that it can be prone to sticking, and thanks to the ceramic, easy release coating, I didn’t have to grease or line the loaf pan with parchment paper. The fruit cakes just slid out without issue. The holidays are hectic enough without worrying about your baked goods sticking!
If you’re looking for durable and high-quality bakeware for yourself (or to gift to others!), I highly recommend checking out the full All-Clad Pro-Release Bakeware Set! You can get more information here.
All-Clad also came out with a wonderful collection of silicone tools that pair with the bakeware set. Their durable handles and platinum silicone heads, which come in a variety of shapes, are great for any baking project (or savory preparation) and have quickly become my favorite baking tools.
The bones of the original fruit cake recipe have remained the same, but it has been re-tested thoroughly.
Several ingredients have been revamped and simplified to make it easier to prepare in your own kitchen.
I’ve also added custom metric measurements to make it accessible to everyone. As you know, I’m a huge advocate for baking scales, particularly for baking. It reduces clean-up and common user errors, such as over measuring flour.
Let’s get baking!
Why You’ll Love This Fruit Cake Recipe:
The words ‘world’s best’ and fruit cake are generally not seen as compatible with one another. After all, fruit cake is one of the most ridiculed baked goods in existence!
You know those ones that are sold in the stores or sent as gifts at this time of the year? The ones that contain the neon candied fruit pieces? I despise those fruit cakes too!
Most fruit cakes are dry, overly sweet, and bland in flavor.
This fruit cake is not your average fruit cake recipe. It is the BEST! Made with wholesome, real ingredients, this fruit cake is moist and perfectly balanced in flavor.
The Story Behind The World’s Best Fruit Cake:
This fruit cake recipe has been passed onto me from my mom. It was first inspired my British grandmother’s recipe. My mom has tweaked and perfected it over the years.
At one point, my mom even attempted a very short-lived fruit cake business – that is until she realized that it is one of those expensive desserts to make (dried fruit and booze!) and she would have to charge a fortune to break even.
How To Make The Best Fruit Cake:
This fruit cake recipe, which yields two standard loaf cakes, is all about the dried fruit. We’ll be using only unsweetened dried and fresh fruit for this recipe.
This fruit cake contains a ton of dried fruit. Don’t be alarmed! This recipe uses a wide variety of tart and sweeter dried fruit: golden raisins, dark raisins, figs, prunes, cherries, apricots, and peaches.
To cut the sweetness and add amazing flavor, we’ll soak the dried fruit mixture in dark rum the day before baking. Note: I recommend soaking the fruit for a minimum of 12 hours or as long as 24 hours.
The dried fruit will hydrate and plump up and soak up all of the dark rum during this time. Don’t skip this step!
The soaked dried fruit is folded into the fruit cake batter the following day.
For added flavor, we’ll also be adding orange and lemon zest, orange juice, fresh grated Granny Smith apple, slivered almonds, and diced crystallized ginger (one of my favorite additions!).
You can even add bittersweet chocolate, which is my dad and sister’s favorite variation!
The fruit cake batter is transferred and divided between two loaf pans and baked in a loaf tin at a low temperature for nearly an hour and a half.
If you’re using the loaf pan I’m using from All-Clad, no need to grease the pan or add any parchment paper!
Since this cake has a such a large ratio of dried fruit, we’ll allow the fruit cakes to cool completely in the loaf pans before removing them.
How To Store Homemade Fruit Cake:
After the cakes have cooled, we’ll wrap them tightly in cheesecloth soaked in medium sherry or triple sec. Have I mentioned that this cake is boozy? Because it is.
This step contributes additional moisture, as well as allows the flavors in the cake to meld and deepen over time. The alcohol cuts sweetness and makes this cake so fragrant and delicious!
Some people recommend aging fruit cake for at least a month prior to serving or gifting, but this is not required for this fruit cake. I recommend at week at minimum. However, even just a few days make a huge impact!
These fruit cakes can be stored in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks (or longer!). I recommend re-soaking the cheesecloth every week or so, or whenever it is dry.
Commonly Asked Fruit Cake Baking Questions:
When should I starting baking fruit cake?
Since this fruit cake only improves in flavor as it sits, the sooner the better! I recommend wrapping it with cheesecloth (soaked in alcohol) for one to two weeks, at minimum, for best flavor before serving or gifting.
Can I substitute or use other types of dried fruit?
I’ve included my favorite ratios in the recipe below – as they offer a good balance of tart and sweeter fruits – but you can adapt it to make it your own. If making substitutions, I highly recommend measuring by weight to avoid any issues.
Can I make this fruitcake without alcohol?
While the flavor will not be the same or as originally intended, you can try soaking the dried fruit in orange juice (or even apple juice or hot steeped tea, such as Earl Grey). I haven’t personally tested this variation, but functionally it will plump up the dried fruit in the same way. You will need to skip the soaking of the cake as well, which is absolutely fine, but will result in a less complex flavor, slightly drier cake (though this cake is very moist!) and will reduce its storage life slightly.
How many servings does this recipe make?
This cake yields two loaf cakes. Perfect for keeping one to yourself and another for gifting (or saving for later, your personal choice!).
Since this cake is very dense and rich, one loaf cake goes a long way. We use a serrated knife to cut it into thin slices or cut regular slices in half. It tastes fantastic on its own or with a smear of salted butter!
Can I bake this fruitcake in a smaller loaf tins, round cake pan, etc.?
This cake has only been tested using loaf pans, but several readers have had luck with preparing this recipe in a bundt or tube pan – roughly it will take around 75 minutes minimum. Please watch bake time carefully. Please know that baking times and results will vary. I do not recommend making equipment substitutions, as I haven’t personally tested these adaptations.
|Bakers tend to have a list of ‘must haves’ they want to bake for Christmas. For me, I always like to make this Fruit Cake. I just love the combination of nuts and dried and candied fruits with barely enough cake batter to hold it all together. If you have ever made a British Fruit Cake you know that what really sets this cake apart is how we repeatedly ‘feed’ (brush) the cake with alcohol over several weeks. This gives the Fruit Cake a subtle alcohol flavor and a moist texture, plus it also acts as a preservative so the cake can be stored for ages and ages. Of course, the step of repeatedly brushing the cake with alcohol means we have to make it well in advance of Christmas. But is that so bad? With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, doing our baking several weeks in advance can only be a good thing. This Fruit Cake recipe is adapted from Nigel Slater’s excellent ‘The Kitchen Diaries’ and it is by far the best one I have ever made. It is jammed with dried fruits (raisins, currants, dried cranberries and/or cherries, dried figs, prunes, dried apricots, etc.) and candied fruit and/or peel. If you’re not familiar with candied fruit, it’s preserved fruit that has been dipped several times in a concentrated sugar syrup. Nuts are also included as is ground almonds (you can buy prepackaged ground almonds or you can just take blanched almonds and process them until finely ground in your food processor). Finally, if you are an avid fan of Fruit Cakes and want to make them other times of the year, it might be a good idea to pick up extra candied fruit during the holiday season as it can be hard to find once the Christmas season ends.|
|Fruit Cake: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan with a removable bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Also line the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment paper that extends about 2 inches (5 cm) above the rim of the pan.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, salt, and baking powder.In another large bowl place the dried and candied fruits, along with the chopped nuts. Remove about 3-4 tablespoons of the flour mixture and add it to this mixture, tossing well to coat all the fruits and nuts.In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed. Add the alcohol, orange juice, orange zest and lemon zest. Then beat or fold in the chopped nuts and all the dried and candied fruits. Then beat or fold in the flour mixture.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and, if desired, decorate the top of the cake with blanched almonds. Place the spring form pan on a larger baking sheet. Bake in your preheated oven for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and continue to bake the cake for about 80-90 minutes or until a long skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Then, with a skewer, poke holes in the top surface of the cake and liberally brush with alcohol (brandy, Grand Marnier, sherry, rum or whiskey). Wrap the cake thoroughly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in a cake tin or plastic bag. Store in a cool dry place. (If you live in a warm climate I find it best to store the cake in the refrigerator.) Brush the cake periodically (once or twice a week for about two to three weeks) with alcohol. This cake will keep several weeks or it can be frozen.Serves grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature1 cup (210 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar3 large eggs, at room temperature (165 grams without shells)3 tablespoons (35 grams) alcohol (Grand Marnier, brandy, sherry, rum, etc.) plus you’ll need extra for brushing the cakeJuice and zest (outer orange skin) of one orangeZest (outer yellow skin) of one lemon1 cup (100 grams) almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped2 1/4 pounds (1 kilogram) of an assortment of dried (apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.) and candied fruit (mixed peel and/or cherries), all chopped into bite sized pieces2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour3/4 cup (75 grams) finely ground almonds1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt|
How To Candy Fruits
Delicious in cakes, cookies, for garnishes, or dipped in chocolate, candied fruit is worth the effort.
Candying fruit is the relatively simple process of infusing fruits or citrus peels in a sugar syrup. Grapefruit peel, kumquats, orange and lemon rind, fresh cherries, and pineapple are all good choices for candying. But you don’t have to stop with fruit: slivers of candied carrot make a wonderful garnish for carrot cakes.
Sweet Candied Orange and Lemon Peel | Photo by Kim’s Cooking Now!
1. You will need a saucepan for Simple Syrup and one for blanching the fruit. We chose to candy orange peel, which we later chopped and added to a recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Orange Biscotti. First, remove the top and bottom from the orange.
- Making Simple Syrup
2. Set the flat end of the orange on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, slice off the peel, following the curve of the orange as best you can. Avoid cutting into the flesh of the fruit. It is okay to keep the bitter white pith attached to the rind: the bitterness is tamed by blanching, and the pith becomes translucent and sweet during the candying process.
3. You can either candy the peel as is, for chopping and adding to a recipe, or you can slice it into even strips, about ¼-inch wide, for a more elegant presentation. (Chocolate-dipped candied orange peel is a treat, and is excellent for gift-giving.) Large peels, such as grapefruit, should be cut into smaller strips for faster, more even cooking.
4. Put the peel into a pot of cool, fresh water. Bring it to a rolling boil. Immediately transfer the fruit to a colander to drain. Repeat, bringing the peel and fresh water to a full boil. For oranges or other sweet-skinned citrus, such as Meyer lemons, you might only need one to three blanchings. For grapefruit, you might need seven or eight. (Cherries and pineapple chunks can go straight to the pot of simple syrup.) Taste the blanched peel: is it tender? Transfer the drained peel to the pot of warm simple syrup. Bring the syrup to a very low simmer.
5. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the size of your slices, until the orange rinds become translucent and the peel tastes sweet and tender.
6. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool. The orange rind can be chopped and used in recipes, stored in the refrigerator for weeks in its sugar syrup, or drained and rolled in sugar. Sugared orange rinds will dry out quickly, however, so eat them within a day or two. To keep them fresher longer, dip the drained slices of peel in tempered chocolate.