Fruit Cake Loaf

Fruit cake is a traditional Christmas cake full of candied nuts and fruits. This easy, alcohol free fruit cake loaf has a cream cheese frosting that will melt in your mouth!

Fruit cake.

It seems people either love it…or hate it. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a fan until I tried these fruit cake bars. Whether it is the sweet fruit paired with the crunchy nuts…or the traditional Christmas spices of nutmeg, cloves and ginger, I’ve completely fallen in love.

If you haven’t loved fruit cakes in the past, I urge you to try this easy fruit cake loaf. But be warned…you may fall in love!

Fruit Cake Loaf with nuts and candied fruit

Who invented fruit cake?

Fruit cake is thought to have been around since the Egyptian times although it didn’t become popular until the Roman times. In history, fruit cake has become popular because it has a long shelf life. Because of this, it was popular to send with soldiers. (source)

Fruit cake has also been equated with decadence, since it is often laden with alcohol.

American fruit cakes stemmed from traditional British cake called plum cake or “Christmas cake”.

Do people really like fruit cake?

Although fruit cakes often have a bad reputation, they have a long history and many love them!

The good thing about fruit cake is that they do have a long shelf life. So if you receive one and don’t want it, pass it around to someone until you find someone who does. They are out there! 🙂

A piece of cake on a plate

What is in a traditional fruit cake?

Traditional fruit cakes are full of:

  • nuts
  • candied fruits
  • spices such as cloves, ginger, nutmeg
  • sugar
  • berries

Does fruit cake have alcohol in it?

Not always. People will often cover fruit cakes with an rum or brandy syrup to help moisten it and keep it fresh, but fruit cakes do not all have alcohol in them.

How to Make Fruit Cake Loaf

  • Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  • Grease and line a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan with parchment paper. By doing this the cake will come out of the pan cleanly so you can make nice even slices.
  • 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 (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the warm water, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat until thoroughly combined.
eggs, sugar and milk in a bowl
  • Add half of the flour mixture, mix just until combined, and then the remaining half and mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
candied nuts and fruit in cake batter
  • Fold in the candied peel and nuts, adding more or less as you’d like it to taste.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
unbaked Fruit Cake Loaf
  • Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Glaze for Fruit Cake

If you’d like, you can eat the cake plain. This will save on calories. However, we love to top it with cream cheese frosting. It’s easy to mix up and the creamy icing pairs so well with the candied fruit and nuts.

It will melt in your mouth!

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered icing sugar for 2 minutes until smooth and light. Adjust the consistency with more powdered sugar or cream to make it easy to spread.

frosting a Fruit Cake Loaf

Should fruit cake be refrigerated?

Does fruit cake really last forever?

Although the candied fruits are preserved and won’t spoil quickly, the bread itself is still moist and could have mold form on the outside. For that reason, we recommend refrigerating the bread after a few days.

**Cakes with alcohol may last longer at room temperature than cakes without.**

Can you freeze fruit cake?

Yes! This cake freezes well. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then wrap it again in foil or in a zippered bag. The cake will store for 5-6 months.

Allow the cake to defrost completely before you unwrap it. This will help prevent the cake from drying out.

loaf of fruit cake with frosting

What is the oldest fruit cake?

According to New England FolkLore, there is a fruit cake out there that is over 125 years old. Evidently Jay Leno tried a little bit of it!

That’s a pretty old cake and we don’t recommend keeping yours that long. 🙂

Other Fruit Cake Recipes

slices of fruit cake on a plate
slices of fruit cake on a plate

Fruit Cake Loaf

5 from 1 vote
Servings 10
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
 

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mixed candied fruit or fruit peels (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (to taste)

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered icing sugar (or ½ cup more as needed)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream (as needed)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  • Grease and line a 9" x 4" loaf pan with parchment paper. 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 (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the warm water, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  • Add half of the flour mixture, mix just until combined, and then the remaining half and mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Fold in the candied peel and nuts, adding more or less as you'd like it to taste.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered icing sugar for 2 minutes until smooth and light. Adjust the consistency with more powdered sugar or cream to make it easy to spread.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 10 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 frosted slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 367mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 444IU | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 431
Keyword christmas cake, easy fruit cake, loaf cake
fruit cake loaf title image

About Julie Clark

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