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.
  • Add the eggs to the butter and sugar.
  • Add the flour.
  • Add the soaked fruit.
  • 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.

Watch this video to see how to cover a cake with rolled fondant.

You’ll also love this Almond Filled Stollen on your holiday menu.

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

brandy aged fruitcake
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4.61 from 74 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 minutes
Bake Time55 minutes
Aging Time30 days
Total Time30 days 1 hour 40 minutes
24 servings
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  • 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 ( cup)
  • 3 oz candied cherries ( cup)
  • 6 oz zante currants (1 cup)
  • 1 lemon (grated zest juice)
  • 6 oz brandy ( cup (plus more for aging, see note))
  • 7 ½ oz all purpose flour (1 ½ cups, see note)
  • 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)


  • Combine 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 zante currants, with the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add 6 oz brandy and toss to coat the fruit and nuts with the liquor. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 9"x 3" cake pan with a parchment round. (see note)
  • Sift together 7 ½ oz all purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger and ½ teaspoon table salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream 6 oz unsalted butter and 6 oz brown sugar until light and aerated. Scrape down the bowl and the beater. Add 4 large eggs, two at a time. Mix until combined then scrape down the bowl and the beater.
  • 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 ¼ 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add dragees, stencils, glitter and marzipan holly or other decorations as you like.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
This recipe will make one 9″ round cake. You can also divide the batter between two 6″ pans for smaller cakes.


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!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    It has a great flavor and good ratio of fruit/nuts to batter. After refrigerating and at least on application of additional brandy, it sliced well and held together.

    I used the metric amounts and cut the recipe in half. I baked in 3 small loaf pans. I think I left them in a bit too long (there is a little dry crumb when I slice it – but all the fruit still makes it taste moist). I did bake at a lower temperature for longer (as I have done with other recipes) – So I just need to adjust my time based on my oven and the pans I choose.

    Overall this was a huge success – one of the closest attempts to re-creating what I remember of the family recipe (now lost) from when I grew up. Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband who isn’t usually a fan of fruit cakes, love this! This has been my goto recipe for the last few years. I make this as gifts (2 x 6″ rounds and 1 mini loaf) and I always get asked early if I’ll be making it again this year. It’s turned out great every time.

    The only change I make is using dried cherries since I don’t like the candied ones. I’ve also discovered after trying different brandies, that the taste and quality of the brandy makes a pretty big difference for the aged cake.

  3. I had a question…the flour for US flour is 1.5 cups…when converted to metric it’s 212 grams…which would be about 141 gr per cup. Most conversions I’ve seen are 120 grams of flour per cup.

    I do use a scale for my baking – any advice on the amount of flour (using 120 grams per cup would equal 180 grams in the recipe vs. the 212 you list).

    I’ve made other recipes and mine tend to come out crumbly…eager to try this one and want to get the flour right.

    Thank you!

    1. If you use a scale use the weights provided in the recipe. The cup measurements are provided for the many US bakers who use volume measurements. Volume measurements will vary based on how you fill the cup. You can read this post to get detailed information about measuring ingredients for baking on specific information on how I convert volume to weight measures.

  4. Oooh! I wish I had tackled this when I was healthy! Lol diabetes and allergies. But it’s lovely to imagine it!

  5. 3 stars
    It’s weird to include an ingredient that’s not actually possible to get in the target area for the recipe.
    Currants are illegal to cultivate and import in the US (and I think Canada too). There’s a type of small grape whose raisins are called currants (zante currants, which are sometimes just labeled currants), but it’s not related to the actual currant family. You can import currant powder, and I think I’ve seen freeze dried available online, but yeah no currants.

    1. Did you actually try to make the recipe before giving it a 3-star review? I use zante currants for this recipe and I think most bakers in the US understand what is listed in the recipe.

  6. Hey Eileen! Love the recipe!! I’ve made it the last couple of Christmases and it’s been a huge hit. I’m going to try to make it in the 6″ pan this year. (One for me and one for parties) Any suggestions on a depth for the 6″ pan? Also, have you ever made this in a loaf pan? If so, what size?

    1. Hi Dana, I’ve baked this cake in every size pan from 4″ to 12″. I’ve baked it in muffin tins and in a loaf pan. Whatever size pan you use, fill the pan no more than about 2/3 full. Of course the baking time will vary. The deeper the pan (like a loaf pan) the longer it will take to bake.

  7. Hiya-I would like to omit all the nuts. Do you recommend substituting with anything or can I proceed with the recipe as is minus the nuts?

  8. Hi Eileen, I baked the cake last night. It turned nicely look. I used rum instead. As soon as
    the pan is removed from the oven, my friend called and talked for a long time, so I did not pour 1/4 cup of liquor over the top of the cake. It was almost midnight, I just brush some rum on it and I did not take away the parchment paper that lined the pan, I cover the top with a piece of paper and wrap it with foil and put it in a container. Is this ok? This is my first time baking a fruit cake using all purpose flour. I did once using almond & coconut flour. The taste was good but it was very loose. As my dietitian advises me not to take too much food that make of white flour and eat less fat & sugar. I decreased the butter to 150g and sugar to 135g. I only have 780 g of mixed fruits as I was making a mistake measuring them. Do you have a recipe that using almond & coconut flour? I brushed a bit more rum just now to it and will follow you to brush it every week. I can wait to taste it. Hope you still answer questions. Best wishes to you in new 2023.


    1. As far as not pouring the liquor right away that’s no problem. Since you decreased the butter and sugar by a fairly small amount I think it will probably be ok. You used only about 3/4 the weight of fruit so your cake will have a different texture. I don’t have a recipe that uses almond or coconut flour. The fruitcake needs the structure of the wheat flour to hold together. That’s why the cake you made previously was very loose.

  9. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. @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.

      1. The cake should always be delicious before beautiful! When I had my wedding cake business I had a customer tell me their family argued if my cakes were more delicious or more beautiful. They agreed that my cakes were a little more delicious than beautiful. It was the best professional compliment ever!

        I’m guessing your cake cracked because it was warm. Although I’ve de-panned warm fruitcakes without a problem. Could just be a fluke of a bunch of fruit in one spot causing a weak point. Anyway, I would keep aging it and when you’re ready to serve it just put it on a pretty serving plate and sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. If you can just nudge the cake together leave it at that. You can try putting a little preserves in the crack to help glue it together. Another option would be to cut slices of cake and present them that way.

  10. 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?

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. Eileen,
    I’m sorry I just started looking for a fruit cake recipe as I’m don’t think that I can have the cake ready for Christmas. That said, your recipe is as close to what I remember about my dad’s as I have found! I am from Kentucky so Bourbon was the only option (as I sip one now). He used an old cloth diaper to keep the cake moist with Bourbon! My question is, I remember my dad using loaf pans. Will your recipe make 2 loaf pans or just one? And, about how deep should the batter be in the loaf pan prior to baking.

    1. Hi Bill, You’ve got three weeks so if you make smaller cakes you could probably have them aged by Christmas. The number of loaf cakes would depend on the size of the pan. In general, fill the pans no more than 2/3 full.

  14. Eileen, have you ever iced with royal icing instead of fondant? Also, after icing, should the cake still be stored in an air tight container at room temperature?

    1. When I worked in a British tea shop we used to ice the cakes with royal icing so you could certainly go that route. I’m just not a fan so I use fondant as thin as possible to mostly taste the marzipan. Yes, put the finished cake in a air tight container. I use Christmas tins to give away and store the cakes. Once the cake is sliced put a piece of plastic wrap over the exposed cake. If your cakes lasts longer than ours (+ a couple of weeks) you can go in and brush the cut section of the cake with a little brandy to keep it moist.

  15. Only one thing can improve this recipe: bake a double batch so there’s one cake to eat now. It won’t be as dense and mellow, but it’s otherwise impossible for me to stop tasting tiny bits until it’s gone.

    Your recipe is a revelation, not just in fruitcakes but in baking in general.

    1. Thanks Susan, I usually make a 5x batch. I bake cakes in all different sizes and give them as gifts (yes, people DO want fruitcake).

  16. Hi Eileen . Your recipe looks delicious. I want to try it. What is the measurement like if I want to use self raising flour? Also should I cover the cake immediately after brush the brandy over it…

    1. Self rising flour already has the baking powder and salt added. I’ve read that there is 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt per cup of flour. So I would say if you swap out the 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour in this recipe and leave out the baking powder and salt you should have a close result. What do you mean by “cover the cake immediately”? Do you mean with plastic wrap or with the marzipan and fondant. Yes, if you mean plastic wrap. You need to age the cake for several week before covering with the marzipan and fondant.

  17. Your brandy-aged fruitcake recipe looks good; I’m going to try it; the spices are interesting. I have been baking fruitcakes for years, but it is almost impossible to find the candied fruit in the seasonal section of the grocery stores any more. I will probably have to order it on line this year. Do you think this recipe can be successfully doubled?

    1. You can absolutely double the recipe. I’ve done as much as 5x the recipe (in a larger mixer). I mix the fruit in a large bowl, then mix the batter in the mixer. You can fold the batter into the fruit by hand since that is the heaviest part and can be hard on the mixer’s motor.

  18. Hi Eileen,
    I am going to make this for the 2020 season. I’m wondering if I can use any dried fruits (pineapples, apples, etc.). And, could I drizzle with royal icing? I will be making a few and this will would be a quick assembly decoration.
    Thanks so much!!

  19. Eileen, I’ve been wanting to make a fruitcake forever and finally used your recipe. It was wonderful. My only problem was my pan: it was niine inches but too shallow. I’ll correct that next time. Also, I didn’t give enough attention to the edges and they were a bit dry. I’ll double down the saturation around the edges. My marzipan was perfect and I should know cause I love it so. My husband was so impressed.
    Thanks for your recipe and clear instructions. Anyone can mAke a masterpiece with this.

    1. Thanks Judy. We still have two small fruitcakes left from the holidays. They’ll keep for months in a tin until we’re ready to indulge again.

  20. Eileen can you tell me why is the top part of my fruitcake kinda sticky look after putting the whiskey or brandy? Thank you.

  21. I just love the first recipe, what a hoot! That’s how I like to bake! Goes right along with how I make lasagna…you start with two bottles of wine, one for the cook and about half for the sauce, and darn the cook has to finish off that bottle of wine!,

  22. I started this at the end September and I brush with brandy once a week. My cake is getting heavy and starting to try and crack, it is VERY moist. Have I over done it with the brandy or is this how it is supposed to be? This Is my first time ever doing one, so I feel like I might be doing it wrong. It smells great and I really want to cut into it, but I will wait until Christmas week. Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Did you bake the cake in a 9″ pan? I’ve never had a problem with a cake cracking. You can try to give it a couple of weeks without the brandy and see if it settles down. The cake will be quite heavy by the time it’s ready. Also, try flipping the cake over each week to even out the moisture.

      1. I will try this, thank you. I did bake it in a 9″ springform pan. It’s not a huge crack, it might even be me handling it wrong (from me picking it up and flipping it).

        1. Also, if you’re planning to cover the cake with marzipan and fondant, any cracks or lumpy bits can be evened out with apricot preserves before covering the cake.

          1. Eileen, I’m having the same problem with cracking. I used a 9″ pan but I don’t think it was deep enough. Unlike Ashley, I had a tiny bite last week and it’s delicious. Where does all that brandy go? And what’s the limit to try to brush on. I’ve been brushing on 1/4 cup each week cause that was the initial amount in the recipe. So far, the cake has absorbed it all but it’s very heavy.
            By the way, I wasn’t sure which of your recipes to use so I purchased 2 bottles of brandy just in case.

          2. All that brandy goes into the dried fruit and nuts and into the cake itself. If you feel it’s getting too much brandy take a break for a week or two. Yes, the cake will be very heavy. Even heavier if you cover it with marzipan and fondant.

    1. Yes, you can bake the batter in a loaf pan. The temp would be the same, but the time would probably be different depending on the size and color of the pan. I have several loaf pans, a couple with a dark finish and one with a light finish. Cakes baked in the pans with the dark finish bake a little faster and brown a little more. Just keep an eye on the cake as it bakes and after the first 30 minutes or so check it every 10 minutes. Use a toothpick right in the center to make sure it’s baked through. I’ll often bake any bits of left over fruitcake batter in cupcake pans. The small cakes age faster and are our “snack” cakes while we’re waiting for the larger cakes to finish aging.

  23. Eileen, Could I use two 6″ pans instead of the 9″? Also, do the nuts retain their crunch after being soaked overnight? Thanks.

    1. Hi Judy, I have baked this recipe in sizes from cupcake to about 9″ (larger than that the the center doesn’t like to bake). So you could definitely use 6″ pans. The nuts do not stay crunchy, but you do get the texture from the roughly chopped walnuts.

  24. Hi Eileen: Can the reverse creaming method be used on this brandy aged fruitcake. I just happily stumbled upon your website and I had not ever hear of the reverse creaming method. I am excited to give it a try since we are nearing the holiday season. Love and the useful info on your website. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Ann, there is no reason you can’t do the reverse creaming with this cake. I just do the normal creaming because tenderness is not a problem with this cake since it has all the fruits and nuts in it and the brandy also softens the. You could mix it either way.