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Brandy Aged Fruitcake

Brandy Aged Fruitcake is so rich & delicious. Brandy softens the fruit and mellows the cake part of the fruitcake and it acts as a preservative. You’ll become a fruitcake convert.

Why do American’s hate fruitcake?

I get it, really. The fruitcakes that you find in the grocery and the big box stores are gross. I don’t know what the green things are in those cakes, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

I’m not surprised so many Americans think they hate fruitcake, even if they’ve never tasted it.

With this recipe, I’m on a mission to change as many American minds about fruitcake as I can.

Ingredients for making Aged Fruitcake:

Fruit & Nuts:

all the fruits and nuts for making fruitcake measured into bowls

Cake Batter:

butter, sugar, flour, eggs, fruit and spices for making aged fruitcake

Ingredient notes:

  • Dried Fruits: Use the best quality dried fruits and nuts for this cake. Candied orange peel and candied cherries can be found in the grocery store starting in the fall, but they are also available on-line.
  • Alcohol: The alcohol is key to the flavor, texture and preserving for this cake. I prefer a high abv slightly sweet alcohol like brandy or rum. You can also use whiskey or bourbon. Don’t use lower abv liquid like wine for aging, you need the higher alcohol as a preservative.
  • Brown sugar: This is a “dark” fruitcake which includes brown sugar rather than white sugar. Light or dark brown sugar is fine.

Scroll through the process photos and watch the video to see how to make, age and finish a traditional Christmas fruitcake:

a bowl of mixed dried fruits and nuts.
Mix the dried fruits and nuts with lemon zest, juice and brandy. Cover and set aside for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days.
a bowl of eggs, a bowl of cake batter and a bowl of cake batter mixed with dried fruit.
1. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar. 2. Add the flour. 3. Add the soaked fruit. 4. Mix to combine then spread into the cake pan.

FAQs about making traditional aged fruitcake:

Why does the fruitcake get soaked in alcohol?

The alcohol moistens the cake and fruit, flavors the cake and acts as a preservative. It’s hard for bacteria to live in a high alcohol/low moisture cake.

What kind of liquor goes in fruitcake?

I like to use brandy, but you can also use whiskey, bourbon, sherry or rum instead.

Can I make this fruitcake without liquor?

The liquor not only softens the fruit part of the fruitcake, it also softens and mellows the cake part of the fruitcake and keeps the cake from spoiling. There is no good substitute for the liquor in this recipe.

How long does the fruitcake need to age?

As the name Brand-Aged Fruitcake, implies, this recipe needs to be made several weeks, or even several months, before you want to serve it. I usually bake my fruitcakes by mid-October so they’re well-aged by Christmas.

How do I finish and serve a traditional Fruitcake?

The cake can be finished with a layer of marzipan and a layer of fondant or royal icing. But you don’t need to decorate the cakes at all. Fruitcake can certainly be served without any icing or marzipan.

How long does an aged Fruitcake keep?

Once the cake is aged, it can keep at room temperature for several months. Keep the cake wrapped in plastic and in a closed container like a cake tin. Once a week brush any cut edges or un-iced parts of the cake with more of the liquor used for aging.

If you love this recipe please consider giving it 5 stars.

brandy aged fruitcake
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4.61 from 63 reviews

Brandy-Aged Fruitcake Recipe

Traditional Aged Fruitcake with dried fruits, spice and lots of brandy. This cake should be made at least 4 weeks before serving and can be made 3-4 months ahead of time. Serve unadorned or with the marzipan and fondant to finish.
Prep Time45 mins
Bake Time55 mins
Aging Time30 d
Total Time30 d 1 hr 40 mins
24 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz almonds (½ cup coarsely ground)
  • 3 oz walnuts (1 cup chopped)
  • 12 oz dark raisins (2 ¼ cups)
  • 8 oz light raisins (1 ⅓ cups)
  • 3 oz candied orange peel (⅓ cup)
  • 3 oz candied cherries (⅓ cup)
  • 6 oz currants (1 cup)
  • 1 lemon (grated zest juice)
  • 6 oz brandy (⅔ cup (plus more for aging, see note))
  • 7 ½ oz all purpose flour (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 6 oz brown sugar (¾ cup)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)

Decoration (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine all the nuts and dried fruits with the lemon zest and juice. Add the ⅔ cup of brandy and toss to coat the fruit and nuts with the liquor. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight.
    1 ½ oz almonds, 3 oz walnuts, 12 oz dark raisins, 8 oz light raisins, 3 oz candied orange peel, 3 oz candied cherries, 6 oz currants, 1 lemon, 6 oz brandy
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 9"x3" cake pan with a parchment round. (see note)
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon,nutmeg, ginger and salt. Set aside.
    7 ½ oz all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon table salt
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and aerated. Scrape down the bowl and the beater. Add the eggs, two at a time. Mix until combined then scrape down the bowl and the beater.
    6 oz unsalted butter, 6 oz brown sugar, 4 large eggs
  • With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches and mix until combined. Fold in the soaked fruit and all the liquid.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread it out to an even layer. Bake until a toothpick poked in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. As soon as the pan is removed from the oven pour 1/4 cup of brandy over the top of the cake.
  • Cool the cake to room temperature before removing from the pan. Wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature.
  • Once a week for at least 4 weeks, unwrap the cake and generously brush on all sides with more brandy. The cake can be served as is or you can ice and decorate the cake with marzipan and fondant.

Ice & Decorate the cake (optional)

  • Unwrap the cake. Glue the cake to a cardboard cake circle using a dab of royal icing. Trim the cake cardboard to the same size as the cake. Place on another cardboard circle or serving plate. Ice the cake with apricot preserves.
    recipe Royal Icing, 8 oz apricot preserves
  • Roll the marzipan to a 14″ round. Roll the marzipan onto the rolling pin then transfer and unroll onto the cake. Trim the marzipan flush with the bottom of the cake and board. Brush the marzipan with brandy.
    1 recipe marzipan
  • Roll the fondant to a 14″ round and cover the cake over the marzipan. Trim the fondant flush with the bottom of the cake and board.
    1 recipe rolled fondant
  • Add dragees, stencils, glitter and marzipan holly or other decorations as you like.
    Marzipan holly and silver dragees for decoration

Equipment

My Book
KA Stand Mixer
9″ Cake Pan
Revolving Cake Stand
Cake Boards
Parchment Sheets

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Video

Notes

This recipe will make one 9″ round cake. You can also divide the batter between two 6″ pans for smaller cakes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 311mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!
Recipe Rating




Audrey

Monday 28th of November 2022

Made this cake and when I flipped it out of the pan using a wire rack the cake broke. I have it bound up tightly together with plastic wrap. Late night baking and it was still slightly warm. Was that the problem? Is there a fix for this? Do I continue to bathe it in rum and pretend it’s still whole?

Audrey

Monday 28th of November 2022

@Eileen Gray, yes, it broke in half and the wrapping caused another fault. I wasn’t planning on tackling fondant. If the cake remains broken, at what point do I glue with preserves? And was the break because the cake was not completely cool? This is for us and friends who won’t judge, so the cake doesn’t need to be beautiful, just delicious.

Eileen Gray

Monday 28th of November 2022

Did it break basically into two pieces? If so, I would definitely keep aging the cake and wrapping it tightly it might stick back together. Are you planning to cover the cake with marzipan and fondant? If so, I think you can get away with "pretending it's whole". If nothing else you can try using preserves to glue it back together. It's a cake decorator's secret that cracked cakes can almost always be saved.

Inge

Sunday 30th of October 2022

I love marzipan, but don't really care for fondant. Since I am not going for the look of the fondant, any reason I couldn't just cover it with marzipan alone or will it dry and crack?

Eileen Gray

Sunday 30th of October 2022

Without the fondant the marzipan will dry out. Honestly, the only reason I use the fondant is to keep the marzipan moist. I roll the marzipan a little thicker and roll the fondant as thin as I can get it. If you decide to leave off the fondant I would keep the cake wrapped in plastic and occasionally brush the marzipan lightly with brandy to keep it moist.

Antoinette

Wednesday 26th of October 2022

Guess I'm the only one who has a question about the lemon. It says lemon zest and juice. After doing the zest do you add the juice from the lemon also? Hoping I'll get an answer. Thanks.

Antoinette

Wednesday 26th of October 2022

@Eileen Gray, thank you, I will add the juice.

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 26th of October 2022

Step one of the recipe "Combine all the nuts and dried fruits with the lemon zest and juice."

Ava

Thursday 18th of November 2021

I don't know if you are still answering questions, but I am thinking about using a fruit flavored brandy/bourbon/whiskey instead of triple sec and brandy. What would you advise? I am thinking about making the cakes this weekend.

Eileen Gray

Friday 19th of November 2021

You can use any liquor to soak the fruit and age the cake. I mostly use brandy but have used rum and bourbon would be very nice.

Natalie

Monday 14th of December 2020

I just wanted to say I'm glad I didn't JUMP TO RECIPE!! Thanks for the great laugh and the recipe!

Eileen Gray

Monday 14th of December 2020

Lol!