Last Minute Fruitcake – So Easy. So Good.

This recipe for Wayback Wednesday not only goes back it time to when I first posted it in December of 2009 but even farther back to when I first started making it. A VERY long time ago. I just went and found the cookbook my inspiration came from which was a holiday book put out by Hallmark with a copyright date of 1978…I told you, a very long time ago!

Fruitcake - Easy and Delicious
And I know many of you will turn your nose up like I used to at the very thought. Poor maligned fruitcake. There has to be a better name for it because for many it just sends a message of hard citrus (citronella tasting even!) bitter pieces of hard fruit that I can’t even call candy. Or else it’s so heavily sauced (and I mean sauced, you know, as in having had too much to drink!) pieces of brick.

Fruitcake - Easy and Delicious

This one is different. Just fruit and nuts and maraschino cherries and enough dough to just hold the fruit and nuts together. I’m certain the last minute designation refers to that fact that there is no waiting, no need to cover with cheesecake and pour bourbon over it and wait some more. You CAN make it at the last minute for gift giving (and for yourself too of course!) and it’s wonderful just the way it is…although I do love it with a bit of butter or for a real indulgence, a touch of cream cheese.

Fruitcake - Easy and Delicious

I’ve revised the original recipe a bit with the addition of dried cranberries and a bit of Irish Whiskey but with or without that boozy touch, it’s always enjoyed by all…adults, kids and especially Santa’s elves!

Last Minute Fruitcake; It’s Not What You’re Thinking!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup cutup pitted dates
  • ⅛ cup Irish Whiskey
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, halved
  • 1 cup blanched, slivered almonds
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Soak raisins, dried cranberries and dates in Irish Whiskey for at least 15 minutes to plump them up.
  2. Grease and flour a non-stick loaf pan. (Original directions called for lightly greasing a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; lining the pan with waxed paper and then greasing that paper. With nonstick I've found that extra step of lining the pan with waxed paper is unnecessary but use that method if you do not have non-stick pans).
  3. Mix fruits, nuts and seeds in a large mixing bowl (Add fruit WITH liquid from 1st step).
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar over mixture; toss to coat all fruits and nuts with flour.
  5. Beat eggs until foamy, then add vanilla.
  6. Pour over fruit mixture and stir just until blended.
  7. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
  8. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven about 11/2 hours. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
I make a triple batch of this recipe and then bake it in smaller loaf pans for gift giving. Check dough after 55 minutes for doneness - toothpick inserted into cake pulls out clean. LOVE this pan from Wilton; does make doing small loaves much easier to handle!

fruitcake-old Lucky for all of us, I may be reposting this from years ago so that I can share it with you but I also made a new batch so I have loaves to share with my neighbors for the holidays. Which means I have new photos. It is way too good to have been represented by that ‘awful over-exposed I had no idea what I was doing’ photograph!


  1. says

    I bet you’ve had some very happy neighbors when you shared this fruitcake! Jason’s mother is sending a fruitcake from England which will arrive tomorrow via plane with Jason’s brother. It’s one dessert that he loves and one of the few of which I don’t have a single bite! I think he ‘d like your version too and will save your recipe for some year when I need to make one quickly. Thanks!
    Holly Most Recent Post: Rugelach

    • Creative Culinary says

      Now if you were just a bit closer…or what the heck; let’s make coffee happen and I’ll save a loaf just for YOU!

  2. Abby says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I made it for years and years, but then lost the recipe during a move. I have been searching ever since. People who hate fruitcake have always loved this.

    • says

      You’re welcome…one of the wonders of being able to share with the world. I’ve added a couple of things to the original. I like the color of the dried cranberries and the original didn’t call for any booze. But beyond that, you’re right, people love it. If I didn’t include these in my holiday gift plates, I might as well not bother!

  3. Carolyn Gossett Moseley says

    I have been making fruitcakes for 30 years and believe it or not I have a list of friends who stand in line for my cakes (12 this year).  I start baking them right after Thanksgiving each year.  The recipe belonged to my aunt.   I have been told it is the best fruitcake ever – no shortcuts.  I pour a tablespooon of sherry on each cake for several days in a row and this sinks in to make it yummy!


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