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If you're not a big fan of candied fruit or citron in fruitcakes, try this version using dried fruits and nuts. You'll want to make this year-round. Because it is so dense, it has a long baking time, and you'll also need to plan ahead to soak the fruit.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours


  • 2 cups chopped dried peaches or apricots
  • 2 cups golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dried pears
  • 1 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 1-3/4 cups bourbon or dark rum
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy (or whipping) cream or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup honey


In a large mixing bowl, combine the dried fruits, apple, and 1-1/4 cups of the bourbon or rum. Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until warmed through. Pour it over the fruits. Cover and let stand at room temperature, tossing frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle shelf and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter a 10-cup Bundt pan. Dust the pan with flour, shaking off any excess.

Sift 1 cup of the flour with the cloves, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda into a small bowl. Set aside. Add the remaining 1-1/2 cups flour and the toasted almonds to the fruits, and toss thoroughly. Set aside.

With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter and sugar in another large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sifted flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the cream or buttermilk, mixing well after each addition. Fold the batter into the fruit mixture, mixing well.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack.

Combine the honey and the remaining 1/2 cup bourbon in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring, until the honey has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Brush half of the hot glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Gently turn the cake over, and brush the remaining glaze over the top. Let the cake cool thoroughly.

Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap, then in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Let the cake mellow a couple of days at room temperature before serving.

Minature Fruitcakes: Use eight individual loaf pans, 5-3/4 x 3-1/4 x 2-inches deep, instead of the Bundt pan. Butter and flour the pans. Fill each with 1-1/3 cups of batter and smooth the tops. Bake for 45 minutes, then glaze as directed above.

Notes: For best results, make sure your dried fruits are soft to begin with. This long-lasting cake can be prepared 1 week in advance and stored in the refrigerator up to 2 months. For lovely holiday gifts, bake several cakes in small pans, seal them in foil, wrap with colored cellophane or tissue paper and tie with handsome ribbon.

Yield: 1 large fruitcake or 8 small ones

Source: Nicole Routhier's Fruit Cookbook by Nicole Routhier (Workman Publishing)
Reprinted with permission.
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