(Isn’t this photo AMAZING? By Sala Kannan for Life of Spice)

fruitcake1 fruitcake4

I have this thing about fruitcakes. I hate them. I mean really truly hate them: the ones I am talking about are the ones that I find in Indian grocery stores that have things in them that, I swear, would glow in the dark. They have small green, red, yellow things in there that look like jello gone bad. And then there is the the smell. Okay, you get the idea.

I was reading the fab essay collection Fits, Starts and Matters of the heart ( and I want to mention that it does feature my essay on my own obsession with Nutella) and I came across an essay and a recipe for fruitcake by author Lisa Harris. I read it. Hmm.. Read it again. Raisins? Cherries? Cranberries. I wanted to make it. As it baked, I wondered if it would be a good cake or like the ones I dread.

Happy to report that the cake is awesome. I made it without the port for the kids and they loved it. This is THE fruitcake for people who hate fruitcakes! A perfect homemade gift for the holidays (and after for yourself!)

Lisa Harris’s Fruit Cake

As featured in Fits, Starts and Matters of the Heart. 

(printed with permission from the author)

2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup (1/4 lb) butter at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Fruits and nut mixture:
1 cup currents
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dried blueberries
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried Bing cherries
½ cup unsalted pistachio pieces
½ cup pecan pieces
About ½ cups good quality Port

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter with a mixer until well blended, beat

in eggs, 1 at a time.  Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mace,
and cloves.  Add to egg mixture; stir, beat to blend.  Stir in fruit and nut

Spoon batter equally into 6 greased 2½ -by 4-inch individual loaf pan OR 1
regular sized loaf pan.  Spread batter evenly and smooth top.

Bake at 300° oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and
cakes are firm when lightly pressed in center, 45 to 60 minutes for small
pans, longer for regular sized loaf pan (1 ½ hours).  Cool in pans on a rack
for 10 minutes, invert onto rack to cool completely.

Set the cakes in a single layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or pan, or
set each cake on a rectangle of foil large enough to seal the cake airtight.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of Port onto each cake slowly enough to let it seep in.
Repeat until the cake is saturated.  Wrap each cake airtight in foil.

Store at room temperature at least 8 hours or up to 2 weeks; freeze and
store up to 2 months.

Makes 6 mini loaves OR 1 regular size loaf.


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  1. You had me at ‘..fruitcake’. This looks so beautiful in photo and recipes sounds excellent and worth baking up. I adore fruitcake while allowing that there are many many unworthy versions and the rep is deserved….somewhat. But people, there are bad cookies and bad omelets out there, too. Give FC a chance, make this one!

  2. This is my big baking weekend and I’ll be making this. Thank you for the recipe. It looks tasty and healthy, although caloric, but hey, you can’t have everything.

  3. Absolutely amazing, you actually have an extremely edible looking fruitcake there. Lovely.

  4. This looks so pretty and delicious!

  5. I guess I am one of those nuts that likes fruit cake. Especially if there are a lot of nuts.

    Dried fruit these days, have come a long way since the dried fruits of the old days…I am going to make this one..

    Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Yes, the photo is amazing! And the recipe is perfectly perfect for me! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’m lucky to have never seen fruitcakes that glow in the dark:) this one looks and sounds perfect. I love anything with dried berries!

  8. I’m one of the few people you’ll meet who is totally nuts about fruitcake. Delicious recipe here!


  9. I had a similar experience with fruitcake this Christmas – after years of shying away fearfully, I came across a Dorie Greenspan recipe for figgy pudding that included dried tart cherries. Can’t resist ’em. Sign me up. It was unbelievably tasty, and YES – I’d make it again!

  10. I’m the same way about typical fruit cakes -so not a fan but this recipe looks really good (and stunning photos!)

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