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Easy Fruit Cake Recipe – Non-Alcoholic Christmas Fruit Cake

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An easy-to-make fruit cake with mixed dried fruit like cranberries, currants, and raisins. A fruit cake recipe without alcohol.

 
sliced christmas cake without alcohol, a vintage tea pot behind.

A classic Christmas fruit cake, the English style is indeed a nice kind of cake to have for the holidays. If it wasn’t this huge drawback of having to make it so much in advance and then think about wrapping and unwrapping it, soaking it with brandy again and again over the course of several weeks or even months.

And then the alcohol, I don’t mind it, I have had a classic fruit cake with brandy and found it delicious, but it would not do for the kids…

So I am glad for this delicious and easy fruit cake recipe, using no alcohol at all and needing no soaking times or wrapping paper.

Fruit cake recipe with mixed fruit

As mentioned above I have had a classic English fruit cake before, I didn’t bake it myself though. What I did bake was a huge wedding cake, which used a Jamaican fruit cake as a base. It was a really massive cake, not only in appearance but also in taste and use of ingredients.

Lots of (rather expensive) ingredients, quite a lot of work, and lots of alcohol. Although I liked the cake, I did rather think you could mainly taste the sweetness and the alcohol in it. Dense, heavy, and full of dried fruit and brandy.

Good, but not something I would bake for my family.

So, I wanted to come up with a lighter version of the classic fruit cake, lighter in any sense: lighter in texture, lighter in sugar, lighter in alcohol, and lighter for the purse as well.

This non-alcoholic Christmas cake meets all my requirements. It has a much lighter crumb, it contains no alcohol at all, only a fair amount of sugar, and less dried fruit than the original and due to the lack of alcohol and the use of less dried fruit, it is not as expensive anymore either.

Check out another delicious Christmas cake, this Last-Minute Mincemeat Cake. Or the Pumpkin Fruitcake.

 

sliced christmas cake without alcohol and with dried fruit.

Ingredients

Dried fruit:

  • I used a mixture of cranberries, currants, and raisins or sultanas to make the dried fruit cake. Keep the raisins or sultanas no matter what, they are mandatory and they are the cheapest dried fruit you could possibly buy for this fruit cake recipe.
  • Otherwise, you could play a little with the sorts of dried fruit you choose. I love to use cranberries and currants because they are tarter than other sorts of dried fruit, but you could replace them (or parts of them) with other dried fruit like apricots, a few prunes, dried cherries, or whatever you like.

Sugar:

  • I used muscovado sugar to make this Christmas fruit cake, however, muscovado sugar is not easily found outside of the UK (you can find it online).
  • I’ve learned that muscovado sugar is sometimes known as Barbados sugar, so you might want to check that as well.
  • Muscovado is a brown, moist, and somehow spicy-tasting sugar (although there are no spices in it). It comes in a light or dark brown appearance, but I have only ever been able to buy the dark brown sort.
  • When I don’t have it, I replace it with regular brown sugar. I add one tablespoon less brown sugar to the batter, adding one tablespoon of molasses instead.
  • Do you have an open bag of muscovado? Try some of these recipes: Toffee Apple CakeButterbeer Potted Cream RecipeMirror Glaze Chocolate Cake, and Rock Cake Recipe.

Equipment needed:

  • A small springform (or cake tin) of 20 cm/ 8 cm diameter. Although small, this is enough for a regular family and a couple of guests.
  • Although lighter, the fruit cake is still mightier than a regular pound or loaf cake.

Step-by-step instructions

  • This recipe is so much easier to make than the classic version of a Christmas fruit cake. Actually, all it takes is to mix the ingredients, pour them into the baking dish, and bake.
  • Preheat the oven and prepare the cake tin.
  • Batter: Place the soft butter, muscovado sugar, eggs, flour, all-spice, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Mix in the dried fruit.
  • Bake in the prepared tin for 2 to 2 ¼ hours or until it’s firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Check the cake after one hour or so and loosely cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.
  • Let the cake cool in the baking dish, then turn it out.

 

small round cake without alcohol for christmas.

Expert tips

  • Make it in advance: Once cool wrap it in aluminum foil and keep it at room temperature.
  • Ensure that the ingredients (butter, and eggs) are at room temperature. The beaten eggs and sugar will create an emulsion that traps the air in the batter.
  • Cover it with fondant: When cold, glaze it with a little warmed apricot jam. Cover it with rolled marzipan (about 400 g) and rolled fondant (about 250 g).
  • Decorate it with royal icing: When cold, cover it with about 250 g of royal icing.

Recipe FAQ

How to substitute muscovado sugar?

You can replace it with 1:1 unrefined, molasses-containing sugar like jaggery, panela, or Sucanat.
The next best thing is dark brown sugar. Use almost the same amount, replacing one tablespoon of sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses if available.

Can I add candied peel?

Sure if you like it, personally I am not a fan. If you decide to add candied peel, reduce the number of glace cherries and replace that with the candied peel.

How to serve?

With whipped cream, clotted cream, ice cream, or a drizzle of honey or (unwhipped) double cream.
You can also serve it with cheese, for instance, Cheddar or Brie.
You can serve it immediately once it is cooled, but I prefer to make it one day in advance, wrap in aluminum foil once cooled, and serve it the next day with a cup of coffee or tea.

How to store?

Keep in an airtight container at room temperature, it will keep for at least 3-4 days, probably a bit longer.

round fruitcake without booze on a platter.

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non alcoholic christmas fruit cake

Easy Fruit Cake Recipe – Non-Alcoholic Christmas Fruit Cake

An easy fruit cake without alcohol for Christmas, you can put this recipe together in only 15 minutes (plus baking time).
4.33 from 97 votes
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Course: Cakes
Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 781kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • 250 g unsalted butter 8.8 oz/ 1 cup, soft
  • 200 g muscovado sugar 7 oz/ 1 cup, Note 2
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 g all-purpose flour 8.8 oz/ 2 cups + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
  • 100 g dried cranberries 3.5 oz/ ½ cup
  • 150 g dried currants 5.5 oz/ ¾ cup
  • 250 g sultanas or raisins 8.8 oz/ 1 ¼ cups
  • 100 g chopped glacé cherries 3.5 oz/ ½ cup, Note 3
  • icing sugar optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius/ 285 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a deep 20 cm/ 8 inch round cake tin or springform and line the bottom with baking paper.
  • Batter: Place the soft butter, muscovado sugar, eggs, flour, all-spice, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Add cranberries, currants, sultanas or raisins, and glace cherries.
  • Bake: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 2 to 2 ¼ hours or until the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Check the cake after one hour or so and loosely cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.
  • Let the cake cool in the baking dish, then turn it out.
  • Serve: You can serve the Christmas fruit cake immediately, but it is even better if served the next day. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving, if desired.
  • If you make it one day in advance, let it cool completely, wrap it in aluminum foil and leave it at room temperature until the next day.

Notes

  1. A digital kitchen scale will give you the most precise measure ensuring the best bake possible.
  2. You can replace the muscovado sugar with brown sugar minus one tablespoon. If available, add one tablespoon molasses instead of the missing tablespoon of sugar.
  3. You can replace one-third or half of the glace cherries with the candied peel of your choice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 781kcal | Carbohydrates: 145g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 122mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 118g
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @adinabeck or tag #WhereIsMySpoon!

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Recipe Rating




Susan

Sunday 18th of September 2022

Such an easy cake to make. I made it for my art club as a number of artists were painting outside at a lovely old manor house here in Dorset, UK, the feedback was that it was delicious. Sadly, I didn't feel I could cut a slice out of it to try it myself before it was delivered whole - they would have noticed! And I have been asked for the recipe, so you will have new visitors to your site I hope. Thank you :)

Adina

Sunday 18th of September 2022

Hi Susan. Thank you so much for the feedback, it made me very happy!

Thana

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Hi, Can this cake 2 days before?

Adina

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Yes, you can make it 2 days before.

Jenette

Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

I just purchased a 6 inch round 3 inches deep cake tin how long would it have to bake.

Adina

Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Hi Jenette. It will take longer because the batter layer will be higher/thicker, but I cannot say how much longer as I've never baked this cake in such a small tin. Bake it until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. I would instead scale down the recipe and use only 3/4 of the ingredients.

Wilmaru

Thursday 14th of October 2021

Hi! Can you please help me. In the beginning of the recipe it says 250g unsalted butter equals 1 cup. But then it says 250g flour equals 2 cups and 1 tablespoon. Is it suppose to be 500g flour or 250g flour? Thanks a lot!

Adina

Friday 15th of October 2021

Hi. Yes, it's right. Cup measuring is about volume, so 1 cup butter is not the same as 1 cup flour. You will need 1 cup butter and 2 cups flour. However, I strongly recommend using a scale to measure the ingredients; it's the only right way when baking. Depending on how you stuff the butter in the cup or fill the cup with flour, the quantity will be slightly different every time. For me baking with cups is like the lottery; you might get lucky, but you probably won't.

Denise Hill

Wednesday 13th of October 2021

Hi I want to try this recipe for Christmas this year 2021. Can I ice it and if so what icing would be best?

Thanks

Adina

Thursday 14th of October 2021

Hi Denise. Traditionally, you would brush it with apricot jam, cover it in marzipan, and then fondant. Other options would be buttercream or cream cheese icing.