Christmas Cake, a.k.a. not your grandmother’s fruit cake. This incredibly dense cake is packed with rum-soaked dried fruit and has tons of flavor!
My grandma was a huge cook and baker – she made so many amazing things both on Sundays and for holidays. I’ve come to find out since she passed away, however, that what I got to enjoy was merely the tip of the iceberg. There have been a number of traditional recipes that I’ve wanted to try, but learned that my grandma made many of them before my grandpap died, but after that, no one else really ate it, so she would stop making it. There have been SO many recipes that I’ve heard this about, and since my grandpap passed away when I was five, I don’t remember them at all.
Fruit cake is one of those long-lost recipes. I made this Christmas cake last week and when my mom tried a piece she said my grandma used to make it all of the time, but like so many other recipes, it was a favorite of my grandpap’s, but no one else ate it, so she stopped making it and she didn’t have a recipe. Such a bummer, but I think she would be thrilled with the version that I baked up!
Fruit cake usually conjures up memories of a dry, brick-like cake that was full of very suspicious fruit, but this version will make you do a double-take and wonder how you could ever think so poorly of fruit cake! The dried fruit in this cake is soaked in a bowl of rum for a full 24 hours, then mixed into a simple, spiced cake batter.
The result is a wonderfully dense and moist cake that weighs a ton and is full of fantastic flavor. I used spiced rum, but you can use your favorite type of rum, sherry, or brandy. You can also soak the fruit for longer than a day if you’d like!
I wish I could have had the opportunity to bake every single one of my grandma’s recipes with her, but I have no doubt she’s helping me along every time I tackle something new.
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and grated
- 1½ cups (217.5 g) raisins
- 1½ cups (217.5 g) golden raisins
- 1 cup (149 g) chopped dried figs
- 1 cup (147 g) chopped dates
- ½ cup (65 g) chopped dried apricots
- ½ cup (54 g) slivered almonds
- 1¼ cups (300 ml) spiced rum
- 10½ ounces (297.67 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, (21 tablespoons)
- 1¼ cups (275 g) light brown sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
- 4 eggs
- 2½ cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ cup (60 g) spiced rum, for drizzling
- Place the grated apples, raisins, golden raisins, figs, dates, apricots, almonds, and rum in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover and allow to soak in a cool, dark place for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom and sides with a double layer of parchment paper; set aside.
- Place the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 8 minutes - the mixture will become extremely light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice into a large bowl. Add the soaked fruit and mix well with a rubber spatula, ensuring that all of the fruit is evenly coated with flour. Add the butter mixture and continue to stir and fold until the batter is completely combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cover the top with a round of parchment paper and bake for 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, remove the parchment from the top and drizzle the extra rum evenly all over the top of the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, then remove the sides, bottom and the parchment paper before serving. The cake can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.