How To Make Fruit Cake + Ingredients You'll Need

You need to make it now so it can age!

IMAGE Shutterstock

Making a fruit cake is just like any cake: you need the right ingredients to put together into a batter and bake it. However, just like there are many kinds of different cakes, the fruit cake is unique in that it is not just a spiced cake with dried fruits and nuts. The key to a great fruit cake is that it's been aged in rum.  

Fruit cakes have a reputation for being dense and this is necessary. A soft and fluffy cake will collapse under the moisture from the rum that is brushed on it regularly. If it were soft and fluffy in the beginning, it would not be so soft and fluffy at the end of the aging process! 

This alone makes it a cake that is a standout gift for those who love this Christmas cake. 

To make a superb and delicious fruit cake, you need several ingredients that make it distinct from other cakes. Here are the ingredients that will make your fruit cake one that will make you think of Christmas with a bite:  

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Photo by Shutterstock
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1 Glazed Fruits

This is what makes the fruit cake a fruit cake. The glazed fruits are a combination of different fruits simmered in sugar syrup and but not allowed to dry. When these are dried, you get dried fruits so if you can't get your hands on a bag of mixed glazed fruits, you can totally DIY your own glazed fruit mix! Here are some dried fruits you can use: 

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  • • dried mango 
  • • dried pineapples 
  • • dried apricots 
  • • dried cherries
  • • dried cranberries 
  • • raisins 
  • • dates 
  • • prunes 
  • • dried figs 
  • • dried papaya 
Photo by Patrick Martires | Styling by Sharlene Tan

2 Nuts

We don't know about you but we love nuts! What's wonderful is that there are many kinds of nuts that can make your fruit cake, or any other cake, more delicious and texturally interesting with its addition. Classic additions to fruit cake are walnuts and cashews but don't stop there! You can even add seed nuts, too. Try these other nuts to make it more interesting and special to those you gift the fruit cake to: 

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  • • pili nuts 
  • • hazelnuts or filberts 
  • • pecans 
  • • peanuts 
  • • macadamia 
  • • pumpkin seed nuts
  • • sesame seeds
  • • sunflower seed nuts
  • •watermelon seed nuts
Photo by Pixabay

3 Spices 

Spices round out the flavors of the fruit cake! Beyond the fruity sweetness of the glazed fruits and the earthy nuts, the spices make your fruit cake aromatic and give it a more interesting and more delicious flavor. The most common spice in fruit cake is cinnamon but this needs to be tempered with other spices so it tastes more like Christmas than a simple carrot cake. Here are other spices to try adding to your fruit cake: 

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  • • ground ginger
  • • ground allspice 
  • • ground cloves
  • • ground coriander 
  • • ground nutmeg
  • • ground mace 
Photo by Shutterstock

5 Molasses 

This deep, dark sweet ingredient is a staple for many holiday dessert recipes. It's the signature ingredient in gingerbread cookies and fruit cake, too, that makes the dessert dark and dense. It has a bitterness that is subtle but a robust sweet, sticky taste that is unlike other ingredients. It's got more depth of flavor than honey so while it can be a substitute, you just won't be able to achieve that same level of taste that a fruit cake made with molasses will have. 

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Photo by Michael Angelo Chua

6 Rum

The kind of rum you use will impact the taste of the fruit cake. This after all will be brushed on the cake for a period of several days for up to a few months if you thought enough ahead to make it in time for the holidays! This aging process with the rum not only intensifies the overall flavors of the cake but will also impart the subtle notes and flavors that are in the rum itself. It also acts as a preservative so you won't have to worry about it spoiling or developing mold as it ages! 

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However, if you are not partial to rum, you can also use another kind of alcohol. Here are what you can use: 

  • • fruit liquor, such as cherry or orange  
  • • brandy 
  • • whisky 
  • • amaretto 

Get into the spirit of the holidays and go ahead and make a fruit cake that has the ingredients you like. If you made it, then there's more than a chance that you'll enjoy every fruity bite. 

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