Classic fruitcake tailor-made for the holiday season

Published 8:39 am Saturday, November 7, 2020

The holiday season is steeped in tradition, and many of those traditions figure to be compromised to some degree in 2020. The outbreak of COVID-19 that began in the winter of 2019-20 has affected holidays and how people celebrate for much of the year. St. Patrick’s Day was the first holiday to be affected by COVID-19, as communities across the globe canceled celebrations or scaled them back considerably. For example, the world renowned St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City was canceled in 2020, and many other holiday celebrations had to shift course as well.

While family gatherings to celebrate holidays like Easter, the Fourth of July and Labor Day may have been downsized in 2020, one staple of such celebrations has endured: food. That trend figures to continue throughout the 2020 holiday season. In-person dinners may or may not be possible, but families can still take to their kitchens and do some holiday baking, ultimately sharing their bounties with relatives, friends and neighbors.

Though it might not have as many devotees as holiday cookies, fruitcake is a must-have for many during the holiday season. This recipe for “Fruitcake” from Jeanne Sauvage’s “Gluten-Free Baking For the Holidays” (Chronicle Books) can help holiday celebrants ensure the holiday tradition of baking fruitcake continues this holiday season.



Serves 10 to 15


Macerated Fruit

2 1⁄2    pounds raisins, pitted prunes, pitted dates and dried figs, finely chopped

1⁄2       cup candied orange and/or lemon peel, finely chopped

1⁄3       cup candied or dried cherries, finely chopped

2⁄3       cup candied or preserved ginger, finely chopped

Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon

Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange

1          tablespoon orange or tangerine marmalade

1          tablespoon apricot jam

1          cup applesauce

2          tablespoons brandy, sweet sherry or apple juice


1          cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing

3          cups Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (see below)

1          teaspoon ground cinnamon

1          teaspoon ground ginger

1          teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1          teaspoon ground allspice

1          tablespoon baking powder

1          cup packed dark brown sugar

1          teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4          extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2          tablespoons brandy, rum, whiskey, sweet sherry, or apple juice, or as needed


The day before you bake the cake, prepare the macerated fruit. Place the raisins, prunes, dates, and figs in a large bowl. Add the citrus peel, cherries, ginger, lemon zest and juice, and orange zest and juice. Add the marmalade, jam, applesauce and brandy and stir to combine. Cover the bowl and let stand overnight at room temperature so that the fruits soak up the liquid and the flavors meld. The mixture can macerate in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. If the fruit has been in the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 1⁄2- or 10-inch springform pan with butter. Line the bottom with three layers of parchment paper and the sides with one layer of parchment. The batter will be very sticky.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then beat for 1 minute longer. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the macerated fruit and, with a large wooden spoon, combine with the batter. This requires a bit of strength. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 2 hours, then reduce the oven temperature to 300 F and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 2 hours. If the cake browns too quickly, you might want to tent it with aluminum foil for the last 2 hours so it doesn’t burn.

Remove the cake from the oven and, while it is still hot, pierce it all over with a skewer. Pour the brandy over the top. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely.

Remove the sides from the pan and peel the parchment paper from the sides and bottom of the cake. Wrap the cake in waxed paper and place it in an airtight container or wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap. Leave the cake at room temperature for three to five days to allow the flavors to meld. If you used alcohol, you may store the cake in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Once the cake is sliced, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.


Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

Makes 4 1⁄2 cups


1 1⁄4    cups brown rice flour

1 1⁄4    cups white rice flour

1          cup sweet rice flour

1          cup tapioca flour

Scant 2 teaspoons xanthan gum


In a large bowl, whisk together the brown and white rice flours, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum thoroughly. Transfer the mix to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place for up to six weeks or in the refrigerator for up to four months.