Dec 13, 2013

Christmas fruit cake with whole spelt and brandy

My yearly Holiday special...

Recipe adapted from Foodnetwork (***** from Alton Brown)
time: 12hrs macerating fruit 1hr preparation (mostly inactive) + 1hr baking + 1-2weeks almost inactive

  • 1 cup (240 ml) rum (preferably dark)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup candied papaya
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, chopped
  • zest from 1 lemon, chopped
  • 1 cup (200 g)  sugar
  • 1 1/4 (150 g) stick butter
  • 1 cup (240 ml) fresh orange juice (or apple)
  • 4 whole cloves, broken to powder in a mortar
  • 6 all spice berries, broken to powder in a mortar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger in powder
  • 1 3/4 cup regular flour OR
    • 1 cup (120 g) whole spelt flour and
    • 3/4 cup (112 g) regular flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon (9 g) fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (8 g) baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup toasted (on a skillet on med/high for 5 min) walnuts, broken
brandy for basting

  1. Place all the fruit in a bowl with a cup of rum and let it macerate overnight. Next day, transfer all the fruit with liquids into a pot, add butter, sugar, juice and the spices. Bring to boil on medium/high, string often. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set it aside and let it cool to room temperature (I gave it an hour). 
  2. Preheat oven to 325F/160C (fan forced). Butter and flour (extras) a 10inch (28cm) loaf baking form. In a medium bowl, mix flour(s) with salt, baking powder and soda. Slowly and gently stir in the flour mix into the cooled fruits, just enough to combine. Mix in eggs, one at the time. Add walnut pieces. Pour the batter into the prepared form. 
  3. Set it in the hot oven for 1 hr. Check if the toothpick from the middle comes out dry. If not, give it another 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on the cooling rack. Baste it with brandy. Let the cake cool completely before taking it out of the form. 
  4. When the cake is totally cooled, wrap around closely with a plastic wrap. Every 2-3 days, unwrap the cake and baste it (or spritz it) with brandy...and wrap it back up. To be repeated over the period of 1-2 weeks...or whatever you have left before Christmas. During the inactive time, the cake will shrink a bit (from loosing air), get firmer and considerably improve in taste.

  • still on the way to be a good planner, I haven't always given all the recommended time for the cake to ripen but the effect was far from disappointing anyway;
  • but I very much like the idea of doing something in advance that can get better with time; it takes some load off during the busy days and it makes the dessert even more special;
  • I've made this cake three years in a row now, but this year's version looks the most authentic ever;
  • the reason: following the instructions concerning the fruit amount closer than before;
  • I ended up adding 1 lb (1/2 kg) dried fruit;
  • the batter filled the baking form to the top, so put a parchment paper underneath in case you have any overflows during baking; 
  • you might have to use a knife to get the cake out of the form; maybe parchment paper would have been a good idea;
  • the cake is full of right and ripe christmassy flavors with the dough part just to hold fruit in place and together;
  • it makes for a very special gift (baked in small loaves);
  • the cake has become a favorite in my family, especially among the adults.


  1. Your fruit cake looks wonderful Elżbieta! I love that you used spelt flour and I would love to get this as a holiday gift. It's knocks any store bought fruit cake out the park any day :) Thanks for sharing and hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Every year I say I'm going to make a Christmas pudding but it hasn't happened yet. I do love yours though - maybe I could make it for New Year's Eve. :)

    1. :)... this is called a "pudding" Down Under. Love it :)

  3. Lots of good stuff in a loaf. I haven't tried making Christmas fruit cake and yours inspires me to make one soon. Thanks for sharing.

  4. This looks really, really, really good!

  5. Very moist and loaded with fruits! And I will definitely go for the spelt version.

  6. Now this is the kind of fruitcake I could devour! So full of yumminess!

  7. I don't think I ever tried fruit cake, this looks pretty.

  8. This looks absolutely gorgeous! I looove the spelt flour substitution.

  9. Another great recipe using spelt flour! Fruit cake gets such a bad rap from people, but I love it!

    1. That's too funny. Who would have known? Besides the fact that we like it, the cake is to give our Christmas some US touch. I remember being good, back in Georgia.

  10. I love that you've given the option to make this with spelt flour. Looks delicious!

  11. This is a heavenly cake!I adore dried fruit so this one is ideal for me!
    Many kisses,dear!