Moist pumpkin fruitcake with lots of dried fruit. A rich cake perfect for Christmas, a nice change from a traditional fruitcake.
Sweet and spicy pumpkin fruitcake made with pumpkin puree and dried fruit. Glazed with a simple icing and topped with more jewel-like fruit. If you like a good Christmas fruitcake, you will love this pumpkin version as well.
Due to the pumpkin puree, it is moister than any fruitcake I’ve made before; it is rich and completely delightful. And the best thing about it: it gets better with every passing day. We’ve had the last piece after one week and it was just amazing!
Table of contents
What do you need?
- I use homemade pumpkin puree, but canned puree is perfectly fine as well; easier to use and, most of all, faster, you will not have to bake the pumpkin yourself.
- I would use it myself, but it is very difficult to get and very expensive in Germany.
- A lovely spice mixture I have successfully used when making other pumpkin cakes: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, dried ginger, and salt.
- You could replace it with a pumpkin spice mix as well. Always to taste.
- Simple, dried fruit and not candied fruit. You could add some candied fruit to the mixture if you like, but don’t make that your main fruit. A few finely chopped pieces of crystallized pineapple or ginger or some candied cherries are great, but not too many.
- I had raisins, cranberries, and apricots.
- You could replace some of the fruit with other dried fruit like prunes, cherries, dates, barberries, mulberries, and so on. Whatever you like!
- All-purpose flour, unsalted butter, brown sugar, eggs, milk, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Icing sugar and lemon juice for the glaze.
- You could add a small handful of chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
- Or a small handful of chocolate chips.
How to make a pumpkin fruitcake?
- If you are making your own pumpkin puree, roast half of a small flavorful pumpkin, for instance, a Hokkaido.
- Let cool slightly, remove the peel, and blend until smooth. Let cool completely.
- Hokkaido is not very wet, but if you are using something else and the puree seems wet, place it in a fine-mesh sieve and let it drain well for a few hours.
- If using canned pumpkin, things go faster.
- Preheat the oven and line a springform of about 23-26 cm/ 9-10 inches with baking paper. Alternatively, grease it well and coat it with flour. Shake well over the sink to remove the excess flour.
- Chop the apricots or any larger fruit pieces you are using. Set aside.
- Cream the very soft butter and the sugar. (1)
- Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. If the mixture looks a bit gritty at this point, don’t worry about it, it will be fine as soon as you add the flour. It often happens when the eggs are too cold from the fridge.
- Add the pumpkin puree and mix. (2)
- Combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and all the spices.
- Add to the butter mixture alternating with the milk. (3)
- Fold in the dried fruit. And any other additions you like. (4)
- Pour the batter into the prepared form and smooth the surface. (1)
- Bake for 60 to 80 minutes, depending on the size of the springform. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean. If not, prolong the baking time and check regularly. (2)
- The baking time also depends on the moisture of the pumpkin puree.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the form for about 15 minutes. Transfer upside-down to a wire rack to cool completely. (3)
- Once cool, glaze with icing sugar and top with more chopped fruit, if desired. These steps are optional. (4)
- Use a digital kitchen scale to measure the ingredients, especially pumpkin puree, flour, and butter. It ensures the best results. (Amazon affiliate link)
- Take the butter out of the refrigerator in time; it should be soft. The eggs should have room temperature as well.
- The baking time depends on the moisture of the pumpkin puree and slightly on the size of the pan. Make sure you check that the cake is cooked through.
- Dome: The cake will form a slight, cracked dome when baking. The best and simplest way to get it flat again is to place the cake upside down on the wire rack when cooling. The dome will flatten, and you can decorate the fruitcake on the very flat bottom side.
- You can see a crack on the bottom of my fruitcake in the picture. It happened only because I dropped it on the working surface while transferring it to the wire rack; it was not due to baking or anything of the sort.
- The glaze and the topping are completely optional. They make it look really festive and pretty, but they also make it even sweeter. And like any other fruitcake, this is a very sweet dessert already. So, keep that in mind when decorating. A sprinkle of icing sugar would be enough as well.
It is best to bake the pumpkin fruitcake at least one day in advance. I would not even cut it before. The cake will be very moist on the first day. It will set more and taste even better with every passing day.
As mentioned above, it is recommended to bake the pumpkin fruitcake at least one day in advance.
It keeps well at room temperature, wrapped in aluminum foil, or in an airtight container for about 4-5 days.
If kept refrigerated in an airtight container, it will be fine for at least one week. But to be safe, always check before eating.
You could also decorate the cake with fondant or marzipan for a real festive treat. Cover it with buttercream and place the fondant or marzipan on top. Decorate as desired.
More cakes for Christmas
- Fruitcake Note 1,2:
- 180 g/ 6.4 oz/ ¾ cup unsalted butter very soft
- 150 g/ 5.3 oz/ ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 225 g/ 8 oz/ 1 cup pumpkin puree canned or homemade
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons all-spice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 150 ml/ 5 fl.oz/ 2/3 cup milk
- 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/3 cup raisins Note 3,4
- 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/3 cup cranberries
- 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ 1/3 cup chopped apricots
- Glaze Note 5:
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- more chopped dried fruit or nuts to top, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a springform of about 23-26 cm/ 9-10 inches with baking paper.
- Chop the apricots (or any larger fruit pieces you are using) and set them aside.
- Place the soft butter and sugar in a bowl. Mix until creamy.
- Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Add the pumpkin puree and mix well.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, dried ginger, and salt.
- Measure the milk in a jug.
- Alternatively, start adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter-egg mixture.
- Fold in the dried fruit (and any other additions).
- Bake for 60 to 80 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. The cake is dense and moist, and the baking time depends on the oven, size of the springform, and especially on the wetness of the pumpkin puree.
- Mix the icing sugar and 2 tablespoons in a small bowl. Only add the 3rd tablespoon if necessary. The glaze should be thick and slightly pourable.
- Glaze the cake.
- If desired, top with chopped dried fruit or nuts.
- You can also lightly sprinkle the cake with icing sugar instead of glazing. The cake can also be covered with a thin layer of buttercream and fondant or marzipan.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale for measuring the ingredients; it guarantees for best results. Butter, flour, and pumpkin puree can be very tricky to measure correctly with a cup. (Amazon affiliate link)
- The cake should be baked at least one day in advance. You should only cut it after 24 hours.
- Other dried fruit can be used instead. For instance: dates, cherries, barberries, mulberries, prunes.
- You can also add a small handful of chopped walnuts/pecans/almonds or dark chocolate chips.
- The glaze and topping are entirely optional. Alternative: sprinkle the cooled fruitcake with icing sugar or glaze and top the cake with chopped walnuts/pecans/roasted almonds.