The Not So Traditional Fruit Cake

Recipe for Month: The Not So Traditional Fruit Cake

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (got these from whole foods – amazing)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1 organic orange zested
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1/2 sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use einkorn flour made from ancient grain wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


  • In a heatproof bowl, combine apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins, vanilla bean and reserved seed, and orange zest.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the bourbon over medium heat – do not boil. Pour hot bourbon over dried fruit. cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper and then grease and flour it. (I know this seems like over-kill, but trust me, you’ll be glad you followed this step).
  • Drain fruit, reserving bourbon.
  • Remove and discard bean.
  • In a large bowl, toss fruit with all the nuts.
  • Beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy – about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in vanilla bean paste.
  • Whisk together, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating til jut combined.
  • Add fruit/nut mixture, beating until just combined – batter will be thick!
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula.
  • Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. – 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  • Cover with foil after 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning.
  • When done baking, pour reserved bourbon over hot loaf and let cool completely in the pan.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic. can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks.


This recipe was adapted from Bake from Scratch. I left out the turbinado sugar topping from this recipe because I didn’t think it added anything to the final product and was just excess sugar.

I made a second cake leaving out the raisins (my daughter hates raisins). and adding more cherries. I also substituted organic maple syrup for the brown sugar (equal amounts). And I used Rum instead of bourbon.

Next time – and there will be a next time – I will use bourbon. The rum was ok, just not as flavorful. I will also use chopped dates in place of the raisins. And because I love nuts I will probably up those to 3/4 cup each. I will use maple syrup in place of the brown sugar.

Everyone loved both cakes – even my daughter. If you’ve never liked fruit cake because of all the candied fruit, I suggest you try this. It is amazing. I was hoping to have some left for Christmas, but looks like I’ll be baking another!

Posted in Recipe of the Month.