This Easy Christmas Fruit Cake is filled with the warmest spices and flavor, rich and absolutely delicious. Baked without eggs or butter, the cake has a luxurious light texture and can be enjoyed either plain or frosted.
Whether you like a decorated cake with snowy-white glace icing or something super-quick and easy, I have all the inspiration you need.
Which fruit to use in Easy Christmas Fruit Cake
The beauty of this cake is that you can use whatever dried fruit you have, add nuts and cherries - anything you like or have.
The only thing you have to remember is to keep the total weight to 2 cups (300g).
I mixed in a combination of cranberries, currants, raisins, dried apricots. I also tossed in some chopped cashews and pecans for added texture and crunch.
How long to soak the fruit
As for soaking the fruit overnight or months in advance? Forget that. With my quick easy recipe, the fruit is simply simmered in orange juice or water for just 5 minutes.
Leave to soak and plump up with all that delicious citrus while you prepare the batter and you're good to go!
If you not too keen on citrus flavours, then use 1 cup (240ml ) of just water or apple juice (or a combination of both) to soak the fruit.
No more dense heavy Christmas Fruit Cake
The secret Ingredients: Oil and buttermilk!
These two ingredients keep the cake soft tender and light. Use plain unflavoured full fat yogurt if you don’t have buttermilk.
A neutral unflavoured oil like canola, sunflower is best to use.
Serve plain or with frosting
Due to the softest most fluffy texture, this cake is never dry. So even without frosting, it has amazing flavor.
Without frosting: Without frosting it makes a great any time, any day dessert or treat.
Without frosting decorating ideas:
- Reserve about 2 to 4 Tablespoons of the soaked fruit to spread over the batter before baking. This gives the cake a beautiful appearance if served without the frosting.
- Dust with powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit like cherries, berries or nuts
- For a little decadence, serve with my easy 3 ingredient homemade custard (also egg free). Or enjoy served with whipped cream.
With Frosting: I used a simple glacé icing for this cake. It dries to a smooth finish and is the perfect canvas for beautiful decorations.
If you are frosting the cake, I suggest you turn it out onto a cooking rack, so that the bottom of the cake is now the top.
This part of the cake has a much flatter surface and makes for a flawless, smoother spread glacé icing
The recipe for the glacé icing is included in the printable recipe below.
How to store Christmas Fruit Cake
- At room temperature: Keep covered in an in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- In the fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature
- To Freeze: Freeze without frosting. Wrap the completely cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and serve at room temperature. Frost if preferred only once the cake has reached room temperature.
Watch how to make it
Easy Christmas Fruit Cake
For the Soaked fruit (See note 1)
- ⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (note 2)
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 cups mixed dried mixed fruit (note 3)
For the cake
- 1 ½ cups all purpose or cake flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon all spice (mixed spice)
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup oil (see note 4)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk or plain unflavoured yogurt (see note 5)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped pecan and cashew nuts (optional, see note 6)
Glace icing (optional)
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- 4 Tablespoons hot water
Soak the fruit
- Add mixed dried fruit to the juice mix and simmer on medium low heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens and the dry fruits absorb all the juices. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. The fruit will absorb most of the liquid as it stands.
Preheat the oven and prepare the baking pan
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (140°C fan). Grease and line an 8 x3 inch / 20cm x 6cm round cake pan with baking paper (parchment paper). Place a strip around the sides as well (especially if you don’t have a good non stick baking pan) Or spray around the inside well with non stick baking/ cooking spray.
Make the cake batter
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, all spice cinnamon and salt, and set aside.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and oil until well combined. (Whisk by hand for about 2 minutes)
- Add the vanilla extract and buttermilk to the oil and sugar mixture and mix well or until the sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes)
- Gently fold in the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well combined and there are no large flour pockets in the batter. Do not over mix at this stage.
- Fold in the soaked fruit (include any liquid left in the pot) into the batter (see note 7)
- If using any peanuts, almonds or cashew nuts, you can mix it into the batter now.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or only until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the pan for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack. If frosting, allow the cake to cool completely (See note 8)
- Decorate as you prefer (see note 9)
Make the frosting (glacé icing) (optional)
- Add powdered sugar and boiling water in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
- If you feel that the icing is too thick, add a tablespoon of boiling water at a time to get it to the desired consistency.
- If too thin, add a Tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time to get it to the desired consistency.
- Spread the icing over the cooled cake, gently pushing it along the edges for a drip effect.
- Ensure that you use the icing immediately after mixing. As it cools, the icing dries and thickens making it difficult to spread and get a smooth finish. An offset spatula dipped in a glass of hot water and dried helps work the icing around the cake easier
- Leave the icing to dry on the cake for about 40 minutes to an hour, before topping with decorations.
- Without frosting: Without frosting it makes a great any time, any day dessert or treat. Dust with powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit like cherries, berries or nuts For a little decadence, serve with my easy 3 ingredient homemade custard (also egg free). Or enjoy served with whipped cream.
- With Frosting: I used a simple glacé icing for this cake. It dries to a smooth finish and is the perfect canvas for beautiful decorations.
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