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White fruitcake with brandy frosting and marzipan

Christmas cake

Growing up, my mom would make fruitcake from my grandmother’s recipe every Christmas season. I think most years, we all pretty much rejected the fruitcake in favor of chocolate treats and shortbread cookies. Regardless, my mom kept up the tradition of baking her mom’s fruitcake every Christmas, along with plum pudding served on Christmas day.

fruitcake

As a teen, I eventually warmed up to fruitcake and plum pudding, and now I look forward to these every winter season. When mid-November hits, I consistently ask my mom if she’s made the plum pudding yet, not that she ever needs a reminder.

fruitcake

Fruitcake gets made in December in our house, and it’s nothing like those heavy, dense bricks of fruitcake sold in grocery stores and on-line. Commercial fruitcake is unappetizing. They are hardly even cake because they are so full of fruit, and not just any fruit, very sweet candied fruit.

fruitcake

My grandmother insisted on baking “cake with a little fruit” when she baked fruitcake, and not “fruits with a little cake”. Her recipe is not weighed down with cloyingly sweet candied fruits. Instead, hers is a lovely white cake, flavored with almond extract and with a few colorful candied fruits that poke through the cake in some spots.

This fruitcake recipe features mainly raisins (we like to use golden raisins, but my grandmother’s recipe actually calls for sultanas), plumped with boiling water and patted dry. Of course, a little of the usual citron, diced candied pineapple, and colorful green and red cherries are added (this is Christmas fruitcake after all!), but in just the right amount.

fruitcake

My grandmother’s fruitcake recipe is definitely “cake with a little fruit” and I think it could probably convert all those fruitcake-haters into fruitcake-lovers. Sure, the thin layer of marzipan and brandy frosting might help convince you that this is an amazing fruitcake recipe, but honestly, the cake is delicious, ungarnished with a cup of tea.

fruitcake

For this post, rather than make one giant fruitcake, I baked the recipe in individual ramekins, so I could share them with friends. I also baked them at a lower temperature (325°F instead of 350°F) for longer to make them slightly moister.

It’s not Christmas without this recipe, and I really hope you’ll give fruitcake one more chance!

5 from 1 vote
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White fruitcake with brandy frosting and marzipan

Course Dessert
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 20
Author Janice

Ingredients

For the fruitcake

  • 1 pound golden or sulatana raisins 454 grams, soaked in 2 cups boiling water, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 lb candied citron 113 grams
  • 1/2 lb glacéed cherries 230 grams, green and red, quartered
  • 1/4 lb diced candied pineapple 113 grams
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 600 grams
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 345 grams, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 420 grams
  • 4 large eggs. room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup milk 250 mL, I used 1% fat milk

For the frosting and garnish

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 115 grams, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar 280 grams, plus more for rolling out the marzipan
  • 500 grams marzipan for two loaf cakes, you will only need as little as 200 grams marzipan to cover the tops
  • ~5 glacéed cherries red and/or green, optional for decorating

Instructions

To make the fruitcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare 20 ramekins by greasing them and flouring them (or spray with baking spray that contains flour). Place them on baking sheets with 1 inch space between them and set aside for later. Alternatively, you can use two 9x5 loaf pans (greased and floured, and lined with a piece of parchment fitted at the bottom).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the rehydrated raisins and candied fruits. Add about 1/2 cup (or more) of the 4 cups flour and stir so that all the fruits are coated with flour.
  3. Whisk the baking powder into the rest of the flour. Set the dry ingredients aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.
  6. Add the almond extract and mix again.
  7. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  8. When the flour is completely incorporated add the flour-coated fruits and mix on low til they are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
  9. Divide the batter among the ramekins and bake them for about 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester poked through the center of the batter (not through the fruit) comes out clean. For loaf cakes, they will take 1.5 hours to bake.
  10. Let them cool completely before unmolding.

To make the frosting and marzipan

  1. Prepare the frosting by beating together the butter, brandy, vanilla and powdered sugar until it is nice and smooth. Add as much powdered sugar as needed to obtain the desired consistency.
  2. Roll out the marzipan using powdered sugar until it is 1/4 cm (~0.1 inches) thick. Cut with round cookie cutter so that just the tops of the fruitcakes are covered with a thin layer of marzipan.
  3. Top each fruitcake with a marzipan circle glued down with a small dollop of frosting.
  4. Top with a smear of frosting and garnish with a sliver of glacéed cherry.

Recipe Notes

To make fruitcake loaves, you will bake this cake recipe in two loaf pans that have been greased, floured, and lined with a rectangle of parchment fitted to the base of each pan. You will need 400 grams (200 grams per cake) of marzipan to top the loaves and two batches of frosting to cover both cakes on top and on the sides.

12 days of cookies, almond extract, baking, booze, brandy, cake, candied & dried fruits, candied fruit, christmas, dried fruit, fruitcake, marzipan, raisins

22 Responses to White fruitcake with brandy frosting and marzipan

  1. Reccewife December 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    awe, those look so cute! I had no idea grandma had a recipe for fruitcake! Looks much better than the dark bricks you see everywhere

  2. mjskit December 17, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    What beautiful little cakes! It’s always nice to see people keep the family traditions and in some cases – improve on them. This does look like a very tasty and lighter fruit cake! My mother made the bricks but then she would soak them in brandy for 2 weeks which made the taste amazing, but I would still just cut it up into bite size pieces to serve. It was more like candy than cake. 🙂

  3. Tina December 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    While I like fruitcake, I feel that those deep dark ones do not make for a very good presentation. Your white fruitcake is stunning and I love that you did individual servings. The addition of the marzipan icing also makes these extra special. So glad you posted this-buzz buzz!

  4. mayssam @ Will Travel for Food December 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    This is not your average fruitcake is it? It looks delicious!

  5. El December 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    It’s wonderful that you’re working to keep your traditions alive. The fruitcake looks great.

  6. mividaenundulce December 18, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    Your fruit cake is really beautiful,we used to see a dark cake version, son having this “white” ones is wonderful.

  7. MyFudo™ December 18, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    I am so into your light colored fruitcakes…The color is refreshing. I want to try this out. Real soon. Thanks for the great post!

  8. Melissa // thefauxmartha December 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    This looks like a perfect fruit cake! I’d definitely give it another try.

  9. Patricia Scarpin December 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    These are lovely! Very Christmassy.

  10. Kiri W. December 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Very interesting – I usually don’t like fruit cake, but I am addicted to marzipan – maybe this would solve my crisis! 😉 Gorgeous presentation, too!

  11. Deeps @ Naughty Curry December 26, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    brandy frosting sounds devine! gotta try this 🙂

  12. J Lee November 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Hi – I want to try this as just one large cake. What type of pan(s) do you use and what is the temp and time? Thanks–looking forward to making this cake this year.

    • Janice November 30, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      My mom has baked this cake in a couple loaf cake pans successfully at 325ºF, or even in a tube pan (like for Angel Food cake), but unfortunately neither one of us can remember for how long, so I couldn’t say. We are thinking they take about an hour in these pans. Honestly the best way to tell if they are one is to look for signs of the cake separating from the pan sides cleanly and also a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean (but this can be difficult because of the candied fruits so be careful where you poke). I hope that helps somewhat. I really hope you get to try this recipe! And if you do, let me know how it turns out 🙂

  13. Linda Reid December 14, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    I make the traditional dark fruitcake that is loaded with fruit and held together with cake. Marzipan and royal icing go on top. Your grandmother’s little cake things are cute but there is no need to insult the traditional cake. There are a lot of people that like it. Why do you think it’s been around for so many years?

    • Janice December 14, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

      Hi Linda! Thanks for taking the time to visit my site and leave a comment!

      I’m sorry you were offended by what I wrote, but I did refer to “commercial fruitcake”, and not your recipe. I’d much rather a homemade fruitcake any day than some mass-produced cake made in a factory. Perhaps that’s just me. In any case, I really hope you give my grandmother’s “little cake things” a try. Merry Christmas!

  14. Sharon December 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Hi there! Just want to let you know that I made your grandmother’s fruit cake two weeks ago and it was a success. I did approach the baking with uncertainty because my kids do not like fruitcake at all, myself included. But your cakes look so pretty that I really wanted to try baking it. The catch was selling it to my girls, because it is such a large cake that I would require help finishing it. I managed to persuade them to giving the fruitcake a chance and the fact that it was not a dark fruitcake helps. Anyway, I cooked the raisins in half water and half white wine ( in the hope that it would keep longer should the kids back out of helping me to finish the cake, and I could just eat it more slowly on my own- it’s a really big cake!). I also baked it in a 13 by 9 inch pan at 325F for 1 hour 20 minutes. As for the frosting, since I was not in possession of any brandy (and I did not want to buy, not really knowing how it will turn out with the kids), I used vodka infused with vanilla beans which I had just soaked three days ago to make vanilla. Well, the cake turned out really awesome and the kids and hubby loved it. Between the four of us, we took just under a week to finish the whole cake, crumbs included. Thank you for the recipe; the kids have requested for the fruitcake again and I will be making it again soon. I have all the ingredients already sitting in the pantry and now I only need to find the time. Thank you again for the recipe.

  15. Terrie December 8, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    These look delicious and they`re very pretty too. I do not have that many ramekins. Can you give the cooking times and pan dimensions if we want to make a `big`cake?- thanks!

    • Janice December 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

      Hi Terrie! My mom and I had a long discussion about the baking time. Her mother used to bake this recipe, split between a tube pan and a loaf pan, and my mom is pretty sure it took an hour. She says that one year, she tried to put all the batter in just one tube pan (no loaf pan) and then it took forever in the oven and still wasn’t properly cooked after all. So, definitely split it between a couple pans.
      Last year, I think I used muffin tins to make the fruitcake, but I can’t remember how long I baked them for in a muffin pan. I’ll try again this Christmas and follow up when I have something more exact. I’m sorry. I should have written it down because, I agree, 20 ramekins isn’t ideal for anybody! Sharon left a comment above to say she baked this recipe in a 9×13 and it took 1 hour 20 minutes.
      You can use a cake tester to check the doneness, but try not to poke through a fruit (not easy). I hope this helps! If you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out 🙂

    • Janice December 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

      Hi Terrie,
      My mom baked the fruitcake recipe in two loaf pans, and she left them for a good hour and a half (1.5h) at 325ºF. Hope that helps!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Christmas stollen | Kitchen Heals Soul - December 17, 2015

    […] Many will tuck a hefty hunk of marzipan inside the stollen loaf before baking, and so when you cut into the baked loaf, every slice has a sweet marzipan centre. I like to toast my slices of stollen in my toaster, so as much as I love marzipan, I’m not sure my toaster would appreciate it, so I bake my stollen without marzipan. We save the marzipan for our fruitcake. […]

  2. Merry Christmas | Kitchen Heals Soul - December 27, 2015

    […] for the holidays. Now I’m putting my feet up for the next few days, taking it easy and eating fruitcake daily with lots and lots of cookies, and copious amounts of hot tea. It’s […]

  3. New Years sweets: fruitcake truffles and chocolate amaretto balls | Kitchen Heals Soul - April 12, 2017

    […] fruitcake truffles (adapted from Donna Hay magazine, issue 58). Basically, you blend left-over fruitcake (unfrosted, please!) with some spiced rum. Form the dough into truffles, dip them in melted […]

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