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A Holiday Fruitcake You’ll Actually Love

Yes, yes, “love” is a very strong word to pair with “fruitcake.” But hold tight. Before I set off to make a lighter, actually enjoyable fruitcake I’d be proud to serve, I didn’t think anyone actually ate fruitcake. It seemed to be the brunt of holiday jokes, especially in the Midwest, but not actually consumed. And certainly not enjoyed.
Turns out, after casually polling some people and general recipe research, that’s not actually true. The spices commonly found in fruitcake—cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice—make it a classic seasonal treat for a reason. But there’s still the challenge of keeping the sugar lower, the ingredients not so antiquated, and the end product preferably lighter than a bowling ball.
That’s where this recipe comes in. To make it lighter, whole-wheat flour replaces some of the white flour, and its full of good fruit and nuts. And I actually love it. Ultimately, I’m a believer in the sweet, enjoyable side of the holiday season (not the stressful gift-giving & company-hosting), and am happy to keep that spirit going with this flavorful cake.
Note: This is a 21+ treat, because it includes brandy, which the fruit soak in before baking and help the cake stay moist. You can skip the glaze to keep the sugar-level even lower. Or go for it and dig in. You can always hit the gym afterward!

Festive Fruitcake Recipe

Ingredients & Directions

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup brandy (apple preferred)
1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
2. Combined the first three ingredients above with 1/2 cup brandy. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for another 1 minute. Then set aside.
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3. Combine all ingredients above (flour plus the spices, etc.) in a bowl and stir well. Set aside.
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
4. Place 4 tablespoons butter, the oil, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a separate bowl and beat until well blended.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
5. Add eggs and egg white one at a time to that mix, beating well after each are added.
6. Add orange rind and beat another 30 seconds.
  • 1/2 cup milk
Unglazed and glazed cake
7. Add some flour mixture, then the milk, and the rest of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple (peeled if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pear (peeled if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
8. Mix in the beginning cherry mixture that’s been soaking, plus the apple, pears, and pecans.
9. Spray your cake pan (Bundt or classic circle) with baking spray and flour. Then add the batter and smooth the top with a spatula.
10. Bake for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.

11. For the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/4 cup brandy, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp. butter into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring regularly, until the liquid is reduced to a 1/4 cup of syrupy topping. Drizzle over cake.
Optional: If serving as a dessert, top with a little whipped cream. 


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