Today, we’re sharing a Traditional Fruitcake with Cream Cheese Frosting that just melts in your mouth with it’s warm Christmas spices and plenty of chopped fruits and nuts for a decadent dessert that will challenge what you thought you knew about this seemingly dowdy Christmas classic.
Traditional Fruitcake Recipe
I’ll be honest – I never even bothered trying fruitcake until I was in university.
All of the memes and jokes about fruitcake had me convinced that it was a truly nasty-tasting dessert that wasn’t worth making room for on my plate during Christmas potlucks or parties.
However, I had a Jamaican roommate who opened my eyes. She served me some toasted fruitcake with melted cheddar cheese on top and I saw how delicious this Christmas classic can be.
A delicious fruitcake should be rich with a delicious mixture of brown sugar, spices, fruits and nuts. It should just melt in your mouth with its warming Christmas flavors.
This traditional Christmas fruitcake with cream cheese frosting will change even the most skeptical food critic’s mind with it’s rich, buttery crumb and flavorful mix-ins. The cream cheese frosting is decadent and tangy, but you can replace it by toasting slices of the fruitcake with cheddar cheese on top, just like I did for my first fruitcake experience. Our fruitcake recipe is moist and soft, so while it doesn’t need any toppings, you won’t regret adding a smear of frosting or butter (or some melted cheese) to make this a truly decadent dessert.
Traditional fruitcake varies from a white fruitcake primarily because of the molasses and spices used to make the cake. Yes, the ingredients list is longer but it is well-worth it if you want traditional Christmas flavors in your fruitcake and not just a plain vanilla loaf peppered with glace fruit and nuts.
(Please note, this is not a Jamaican or Bermudan fruitcake which is traditionally soaked in plenty of rum – that’s a recipe that I would love to perfect for myself but I am leaving to my Caribbean friends to share their knowledge on. My friend Tanya over at My Forking Life has two amazing recipes for Caribbean rum cakes on her site – the first one is a traditional Jamaican Black Cake which is actually soaked in dessert wine and is more popular in Caribbean countries during the holidays. Her Caribbean Rum Cake is similar to a Tortuga Rum Cake, which is soaked in rum and more similar to that first fruitcake that converted me into a fruitcake fan.)
For this recipe, I used Millican Pecan’s Pecan Pieces. I didn’t realize what a difference there could be between pecan brands, but these are so incredibly fresh and flavorful. They also have delicious snack options like the Sweet and Spicy Pecans which are perfect for the holidays. My next order, I’m trying their Pecan Butter and the Caramel Pecan Coffee! (And by the way, this is not sponsored – I just really love them.)
Please note that I omitted any alcohol from this recipe so that it can be family-friendly in the truest sense of the word. I have sober family members who would not appreciate any rum or rum extracts in our Christmas desserts so this recipe was developed with them in mind. In future years, I will share a more boozy recipe but this recipe is perfect for serving to family and friends who abstain from alcohol and alcohol-infused desserts.
Storage: This fruitcake recipe will last for up to a week at room temperature if stored in an airtight container. If you plan to bake ahead, you can wrap the fruitcake tightly with plastic wrap or foil and then freeze in a ziptop bag or freezer container for up to two months. (This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.) Note that alcohol-soaked fruitcakes will last longer.
More Christmas Cake Recipes
- Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake
- Reindeer Layer Cake
- Apple Spice Layer Cake
- Gingerbread Layer Cake
- Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cake
- Christmas Sugar Cookie Cake
- Pistachio Pudding Cake
- Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake from 3 Yummy Tummies
- Christmas Tree Cake from the Preppy Kitchen
For the Fruitcake Loaf:
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
- Ground Cloves, to taste
- Nutmeg, to taste
- Ginger, to taste
- Butter, room temperature
- Brown Sugar
- Warm Water
- Vanilla Extract
- Candied Peel, to taste
- Chopped Pecans or Walnuts, to taste
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream Cheese, softened
- Powdered Icing Sugar
- 10% Cream, as needed <– this may be called table cream or half and half, depending on where you are from
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: if desired, soak the nuts and fruit in rum or add a teaspoon of rum extract.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Loaf Pan
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
- Mixing Bowls
How to Make Traditional Fruitcake
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease and line a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
Add the warm water, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat until thoroughly combined.
Add half of the flour mixture, mix until combined, and then the remaining half. Do not overmix.
Add in the candied peel and nuts, to taste.
Fold the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
For the frosting, combine the cream cheese and powdered icing sugar for 2 minutes until smooth and light. Adjust the consistency with more powdered sugar or cream.
Grab your free printable recipe card for our traditional fruitcake recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger, to taste
- 1/3 cup Butter, room temperature
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup Warm Water
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Candied Peel, to taste
- 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts, to taste
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 package (4oz) Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups Powdered Icing Sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons 10% Cream, as needed
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Grease and line a 9" x 4" loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
- Add the warm water, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat until thoroughly combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture, mix until combined, and then the remaining half. Do not overmix.
- Add in the candied peel and nuts, to taste.
- Fold the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- For the frosting, combine the cream cheese and powdered icing sugar for 2 minutes until smooth and light. Adjust the consistency with more powdered sugar or cream.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 51gProtein: 5g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope you find exactly what you’re looking for in our traditional fruitcake recipe!
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