Not Quite a Fruitcake

I’m willing to admit that my opinion regarding the fruitcakes might be preconceived. I am planning to experiment next season; it is too late now. Now we are eating the moist pound cake where the part of the flour is replaced by ground almonds, studded with brandy-soaked dry fruits and glazed with marmalade/Grand Marnier glaze.

As for the decoration, I had some fun with home-made fondant, the recipe of which was adapted from Toba Garret. In my opinion, it’s the most precise and reliable fondant recipe available. I will be posting it later. Santas decorating idea belongs to Carol Deacon.

Merry Christmas once again!

The cake goes to Jugalbandi January CLICK event – RED.

Makes 12-16 servings

Adapted from the Gourmet magazine.


  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup currants
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup brandy
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz (1 ½ cups) ground blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • A few drops of natural orange oil (optional)
  • About ½ cup whole raw almonds
  • ¼ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur


A night before baking, put the dry fruits in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer over med/high heat. Drain, transfer to a bowl, and immediately pour the brandy over the hot fruits. Cover, let soak overnight.

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 325F. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour, knocking out the excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper circle.

Sift together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest. Rub with your fingertips to release the orange oil.

In a bowl of the stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the orange-flavored sugar beating on medium-high speed until well combined, pale in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract, orange oil (if using), and fruits with brandy. Mix until thoroughly combined.

At low speed, mix in the flour mixture only until incorporated. Finish the mixing by a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Press the whole almonds on the top of the cake. Place the pan onto a cookie sheet and slide into the oven. Bake the cake until a long wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin metal spatula around the sides of the cake, and unmold. Place the cake on the cooling rack.

Meanwhile, warm the marmalade with the liqueur in a small bowl in the microwave, or in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring. Strain the glaze through a sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids. Brush the glaze over the top of the cake. Cool the cake completely on the rack, about 3 hours.

The cake improves in flavor if made 1 day ahead. The cake keeps, wrapped well, at room temperature 5 days or it can be frozen for 2 weeks (bring to room temperature before serving).

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29 Responses to “Not Quite a Fruitcake”

  1. OMG!!!! Those santas are so adorable! Way too cute to even consider eating!
    Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas~ Lisa

  2. Oooohhh, so pretty! I love the decorations! A yummy fruitcake…



  3. Those Santas look absolutely wonderful. Too good to eat, in my opinion.:)

    Best wishes for the festive season and a Happy New Year.

  4. Omg thats so cool!

  5. wow this looks great :) I like the Santa on the side. You had alot of work to do.

  6. Love the santa decoration!

  7. I love everything about this post! from the beautiful cake to the amazing little santas. GREAT JOB!!!! You’ve got a new follower over here!!!

  8. Goodness, that really is adorable!! Hope you had a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

  9. So cute decoration!

    Happy holidays Vera!

  10. Everyone makes fun of fruit cake. But if it is done right, I actually think it’s quite good.

  11. I love the decorations! I might actually be willing to eat this fruitcake – it looks far superior to the usual

  12. You did an AWESOME job!

  13. That is beyond adorable. Great job!

  14. Oh how cute!!! I have a thing for fruit cakes, even though in the midst of the Australian heat it’s probably not wise to have too much rich food.

    I haven’t had too many nasty fruit cakes—probably because I always pick them out carefully, and only go to shops which I know carry the best ones in town. But yours look so good I’m sure it stands on par with the ones I usually have!!

  15. I already love fruit cakes, but paired with those cute Santas, makes this look even better!

  16. Wow! These look incredible! I wish I had those kind of skills. I can’t wait until you post the fondant recipe so I can try my hand at making these cute little decorations!

  17. Delicious and cute at the same time! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  18. Oh my, that is just the cutest! Your Santa’s are perfect. I’m sure everyone would love fruitcake if it were dressed up like yours.

    Another thing about home-made fondant is that it’s so much less expensive than premade.

  19. i love your little santas! and let’s be serious–who doesn’t love a good fruitcake, even if they do have a bad reputation. :)

  20. That is just adorable! The santas are sooooooooooo cute!

  21. How fantastic are those Santas?!! I love it. I will be looking for the post with the fondant recipe. It would be nice to have a tried and true recipe.

  22. I love the presentation, and the cake looks and sounds just marvelous! I’m a big fan of fruit cakes, by the way :) Happy Holidays!

  23. How festive, Vera. Enjoy the season!

  24. I love your decoration ! An the girl cake too I’ll wait for the fondent recipe !!

  25. Thank you, all, very much for your kind words! And for the warm wishes!

  26. What a cute little santas! I love the little santa bags and pressies too. I’m hooked to your blog. Amazing photos! Well done

  27. Asti, thank you! I’m flattered.

  28. gorgeous. i love fruit cake. i’m one of the few who actually eats them. thanks for your entry.

  29. Ohhhhh how cute!!! I just saw it in Click and couldn’t help to leave you a comment :D

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