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A common Christmastime tradition is fruitcake, and there’s so many varieties to choose from.  My version is free of alcohol and loaded with both candied and dried fruit, as well as walnuts.  Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake just might be your new favourite Christmas tradition!

A common Christmastime tradition is fruitcake, and there's so many varieties to choose from.  My version is free of alcohol and loaded with both candied and dried fruit, as well as walnuts.  Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake just might be your new favourite Christmas tradition! #fruitcake #loaf #nuts #dried #fruit #apricot #christmas #cake #baking #candied

Fruitcake was always present in our home when I was growing up.  From the end of November until well into January, fruitcake was in full supply and ready for the taking.  My mom used to make her fruitcakes in a bundt pan, which might be more traditional.

I could not find my mom’s recipe, but this recipe is a take on Barry’s recipe. Barry is the man behind Rock Recipes. He’s a fellow Newfoundlander, and knows a thing or two about good fruitcake!

I opted to make my fruitcake in loaf pans for two reasons.  Firstly, a cake in the shape of a loaf pans is much easier to slice and looks more presentable, in my opinion.  And, secondly, a loaf pan-sized fruitcake is much better for gift-giving.  After all, fruitcakes are a very popular holiday time gift.

You can bake this cake in a bundt pan if you wish. Or, you can use a loaf pan like I did. If you use a loaf pan, you’ll get at least two loaves – depending on the size of you pans. Whatever pan or size you use, remember to only fill the pan 3/4 full!


Here in Canada, the fruit cake is commonly known as a Christmas cake and commonly consumed during the Christmas season.  Truth be told, it is rarely seen during any other time of the year.

The Canadian fruit cake is similar in style to the UK version, however, there is rarely icing on the cake and alcohol is not commonly put in Christmas cakes. The cakes also tend to be void of any decorations and are shaped like a small loaf of bread.

Dark, moist and rich Christmas cakes are the most frequently consumed, with white Christmas cake rarely seen. These cakes tend to be made in mid-November to early December when the weather starts to cool down. They are a staple during Christmas dinner and a gift generally exchanged between business associates and close friends and family.


Now, even though fruitcake was a common occurrence in our home, I would never partake of it.  I thought the idea of dried and candied cherries and fruits baked into a cake was just plain gross.  I wouldn’t be caught dead eating it. 

It’s only been the past two or three Christmases that I’ve tried the glace cherries and learned that they were quite delicious.  Now, I make it a goal to bake at least two or three things every holiday season with dried and candied fruits being the star of the recipe.

A common Christmastime tradition is fruitcake, and there's so many varieties to choose from.  My version is free of alcohol and loaded with both candied and dried fruit, as well as walnuts.  Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake just might be your new favourite Christmas tradition! #fruitcake #loaf #nuts #dried #fruit #apricot #christmas #cake #baking #candied

When I finished baking this cake, I was so excited at how lovely it turned out.  I marveled at how well the fruits and nuts were well dispersed throughout the cake and how festive and colourful it looked. 

In my state of excitement, I exclaimed to McKenna that she simply had to try a piece – even though she told me that she did not like fruitcake.  I thought that she was just like me when I was her age, afraid to try anything new.

She gave in a took a bite.  But her reaction was just as mine would have been if I had given in to my mother’s begging and pleading when I was fourteen years old.  Her palette is just not ready for complex tastes.  She still likes frozen pizza – what can I say!?

A common Christmastime tradition is fruitcake, and there's so many varieties to choose from.  My version is free of alcohol and loaded with both candied and dried fruit, as well as walnuts.  Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake just might be your new favourite Christmas tradition! #fruitcake #loaf #nuts #dried #fruit #apricot #christmas #cake #baking #candied


I do hope, Dear Reader, that you’ll consider making this fruitcake.  Unlike some fruitcake recipes, it’s not daunting and overwhelming and you don’t need to babysit the oven for hours on end.  Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake is simple, inexpensive and very tasty.  Make this fruitcake a part of your family’s Christmas tradition as well!

Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas – Volume 1 can be found in its entirety by clicking on the following image. All of the recipes can be found on one page!

Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas – Volume 2 can be found in its entirety by clicking on the following image. All of the recipes can be found on one page!

Every Christmas table needs a cake! Click on the image below to see Lord Byron’s 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas!

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3.26 from 225 votes

Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake

A common Christmastime tradition is fruitcake, and there’s so many varieties to choose from. My version is free of alcohol and loaded with both candied and dried fruit, as well as walnuts. Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake just might be your new favourite Christmas tradition!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Christmas
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 24 slices
Calories 333kcal
Author Lord Byron’s Kitchen


  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups glace cherries, roughly chopped (I used one cup red and one cup green)
  • 1 cup mixed peel
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Prepare to loaf pans by lightly coating with non-stick cooking spray and lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup white sugar, the chopped apricots, raisins, and the water. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • In the meantime, cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and the remaining 1 cup sugar.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  • Add the cooled apricot and raisin mixture, including the liquid. Mix well.
  • Add the flour and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Fold in the cherries, peel, and walnuts.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pans. Tap the pans on the counter top to ensure the cake batter has settled into the corners.
  • Bake for 55 minutes. Check to see if the loaves are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the loaves are done; if not, then bake for an additional 5 minutes and try the toothpick test again.
  • Once the cakes are done, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before transferring out of the loaf pans to a wire cooling rack. Allow cakes to completely cool before slicing.


The best place to find the cherries and mixed peel for baking is at Paradise Fruit Company.  
For the mixed peel, I used the Tutti Fruitti Mix.  You can find it here:
Here’s a link for the cherries too:


Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 735IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Recipe inspired by Rock Recipe’s Apricot Fruitcake

Are you making this recipe?  Show me your version!  Tag me on Instagram or Facebook!  @lordbyronskitchen | #lordbyronskitchen 

A common Christmastime tradition is fruitcake, and there's so many varieties to choose from.  My version is free of alcohol and loaded with both candied and dried fruit, as well as walnuts.  Christmas Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake just might be your new favourite Christmas tradition! #fruitcake #loaf #nuts #dried #fruit #apricot #christmas #cake #baking #candied

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This Post Has 94 Comments

  1. That loaf looks gorgeous! I need to bake this. My 5 year old does not like fruits / nuts in cakes and removes them before having the cake! Hopefully, one day he will learn to appreciate a loaded loaf like this one.
  2. Hi there just wondering did you divided the mixture in 2 loaf pans or not . So is this batter for one loaf pan and what size ? Regards,
  3. I'm so happy to have found your recipe. I've always wanted to make my own Christmas fruit cake. I've saved this one and will give it a try. Thank you :)
  4. Love this recipe. I cannot wait to try it! Most fruitcake contains alcohol and I would much prefer one without it. I wonder if any child really likes fruitcake. It seems like it is something we get into along after our childhood is over. Sometimes I used to wonder if my tastes would ever grow up.thanks for sharing this lovely recipe! Merry Christmas 🎅🎄
    1. Thank you, Carol. I think most children are just picky eaters and not willing to try new things. Ha! Like you, I much prefer a fruit cake without the alcohol.
  5. I have been looking for a new christmas cake recipe. did you use 9x5 or 8x4 pans ? Also, do you "season" in the traditional way, wrap in cheese cloth soaked in sherry or fruit juice for a few weeks? certainly will try fo next Christmas.
    1. Hi Nancy, I do not season at all and would not recommend it for this particular cake. I used the 8x4 pans. :)
  6. I just came upon this recipe and can't rate it yet but I can hardly wait to try it!! My mother always made both a white and a dark Christmas cake and I've made them in the past also. I love your idea of using dried fruit, especially dried apricots! I will absolutely try your recipe -- thank you!
  7. I love "white" fruitcake & this sounds so good. I would like to make them in 3x5 pans. What changes to temp & time would you suggest ? Thanks
    1. Hi Sandi - I would keep the temperature the same, but reduce the baking time to 30 minutes and then check the cake with a toothpick every 5 minutes after that or so until done.
  8. I have a question the candied peel is just peels that are candied am I right. Sorry never heard of them til now but would love to try your recipe.
    1. Hi Patricia, yes, in a nutshell, that's exactly what it is. Making your own is quite a process though, and you can buy them already made at most baking supply stores.
    2. Candied peel used in fruitcake is not the same as fruit peel that has been "candied". Candied peel is made from citron which is hard to get unless you grow it yourself. Fruit peel is the peel of citrus fruit that has been boiled in water, then boiled in a sugar syrup and then rolled in sugar. The end product is quite quite different.
  9. I have not tried making a Fruitcake but this one looks delicious. The only thing is I will leave out the cherries. I am just going to sub more nuts, raisins and apricots and maybe another dried fruit. Will post what I do.
    1. Thank you, Frances. The cherries help to keep the fruitcake moist, but the raisins and apricots will help to do the same thing. :)
  10. Your fruitcake looks and sounds delicious, especially since we love apricots !! However, we are not fond of the citrus peels and I am wondering if there is something else we could use in it's place? I was thinking pineapple but was not sure how that would effect the taste. Thank you........
  11. This sounds absolutely delicious and I can't wait to make it. I'd like to try it as mini / individual loaves. Any thoughts on how many your recipe would make and thoughts on baking time. Thanks!
    1. Hi Deb - thank you! I think the recipe would make about four or five of the mini loaves. I would reduce the baking time by 20 minutes and check with a toothpick at 5 minute intervals.
      1. Thanks, Lord Byron, for taking the time to reply to my query; it is appreciated. The fruitcake will definitely be a part of my Christmas baking this year! Deb.
  12. Made this today! Is just beautiful - made it according to recipe and baked 50 min toothpick test proved it to be done, but when I put on cooling rack it appears wet or sticky looking on top your picture doesn’t look that way it looks dry. Any ideas or comments ?
    1. Hi Carolyn - it's a great cake, but it is supposed to be really moist. Usually, when I bake, I will not photograph the food until the next day. I tend to bake at after work, so it's usually too dark to take the pictures. I wait until around noon the next day, so my cake would have sat on my counter top for at least 12 hours. Don't worry about it; it's going to be delicious! Just let the cake sit for a few hours and as it cools down, it should be fine.
  13. I baked this cake the other day. I cooked it 30 minutes longer than was suggested; it kept testing sticky. Your photography must have used a filter; your photo was more appealing than my fruitcake. By the second day one of the cakes got eaten. I would bake this again. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    1. Thank you, Naomi. I don't actually use filters on my photographs, but I do photograph in the best natural lighting I can possibly find. The important thing is that it was eaten! :) Thank you for you comments. :)
  14. Dear Lord Byron, wondering if you have used imperial US cup measures in this recipe. Long ago when I was working in Canada I think that was the case?? Down here in Australia we use the metric system. It will make a bit of a difference I think!! Merry Christmas, Karen
  15. I HATE fruitcake....that being said this looks so dam good I am actually going to make it! If it tastes half as good as it looks I may be a convert...😉
  16. I have just discovered your recipe and have several months to go until November or December, however I am unsure about what you mean by the peels. Are they like the candied orange and lemon peels that one makes or are they something differently?
    1. Hi Elizabeth... fruit peel can be very confusing, because it has so many different names. If you scroll to the bottom of the recipe, you'll see a link in the notes section that will show you exactly what I'm talking about. :)
  17. Just found your gorgeous fruit cake... I will be trying to make it... But I will be substituting craisons for the the raisins as I cannot stand them.. wonder if that will be my downfall..
  18. Made this cake yesterday. Lovely moist cake and will be my Xmas cake in the future. I used a mix of dried fruit including cranberries but only boiled for 10 minutes. Perfect!
  19. I am wondering if a person could use the whole 8oz of cream cheese without altering the outcome? This was really one of my favorites from the six recipes I tried for this year.
  20. We do not like the citrus peel or citron. Can I make up the difference with the other fruit? I would also like to switch out the apricots for candied pineapple, is this possible and will it have any affect on how the fruitcake turns out? Should I still do the hot water method if using craisin cranberries, candied cherries and pineapple? Thank you
  21. I will be substituting the apricots with candied pineapple, the raisins with craisins and omitting the citrus peel mix. That being said, would I still cook all of my candied fruit in the water? If not, would I add that amount of water to mixing the batter. I have everything ready to make this but don’t want to mess it up with the liquid. HELP!
  22. Made this today, looks lovely, tastes a bit bland....had it not been for the fruit itself it would be totally tasteless..... easy recipe may add some spices to it the next time I make it, if I make it.
  23. I just attempted this recipe for my 5 y/o son who keeps asking for Fruit Cake. It’s in the oven at the moment. It looks and smells delicious. I added a bit more flour due to high altitude in CO, and increasing the baking time to about 10-15 more. I can’t wait to give it a try when it’s done. I also added candies pineapples. Thanks for this amazing recipe!
  24. I make fruitcake every two years with a group of friends. We swap slices through the mail and it's like getting a "little bit of Christmas" with every arriving box. Normally, living in Washington, DC, I make the "White House Fruitcake" recipe. But I wanted to switch it up and this looked so wonderful. I made it yesterday. It is the BEST fruitcake I have ever had! The buttery batter is wonderfully rich without being too heavy. Perfectly sweet without being too much. Just one thing I would point out, if you want your fruitcake to look like this, you probably better use WHITE raisins. I believe they add a caramel color to packaged raisins. You can either boil them a minute, toss out the water and add fresh water before you stir in the sugar... OR they will turn your batter a wonderful caramel color. I boiled my raisins separately from my apricots, but I sort of wish I had boiled, washed and then boiled them again. OH well... there is next year! This fruitcake is so great!
  25. Love, Love this recipe. This is my first fruitcake that I made. So simple with good ingredients and no alcohol. i made in mini loaf pans and still had batter for cupcakes, excellent. I tried freezing the loafs to use later and they were just as delicious if not better. Thank you so very much. Oh yeah, I used golden raisins. Husband also loved it.... Thanks again
  26. I would like to add brandy to this. Is there a reason why I could not or should not and Could I substitute some of the water for the alchohol?
  27. Delicious - but I changed it a bit... Instead of water I used a mix of fresh orange juice & a fruity dessert wine for more flavour / I used 5 eggs / 2 tsps Vanilla extract / 2 tsps Baking powder / 1 cup cherries / 1 cup chopped, glazed Ginger / I added 1 tsp GINGER powder / Zest from 1 large orange / Instead of mixed peel I used chopped preserved orange peel / I didn't have Walnuts so I used Pecan nuts. The butter mixture separated but then the flour bound it together nicely. It was delicious & I will certainly do it in future.
    1. I really like your idea of the orange juice and fruity wine. I'm thinking of a Moscato. I too substituted the walnuts for pecans.
  28. Despite the longer time it took to bake, it turned out wonderful! Can’t wait to share with family over Christmas! Thank you!
  29. I HATE FRUITCAKE! But I sure love this one. The only other fruitcake I have eaten was the obligatory one from our wedding cake. Yuck. I made this cake without walnuts tho because we aren’t fans of them. I replaced them with dried cranberries that I simmered with the raisins to reconstitute them. I’m hooked now. Thank you!
  30. I tried your cake this Christmas. Loved the texture. The apricots were a little too overpowering for me and tangy. I did not boil the raisons but soaked them in Sherry, this altered the colour of my cake. Though, the Sherry did give it a nice taste. I surely will make it again but will reduce the Apricots to 1/2 cup. Will add 1/2 cup of chunky Marmalade and 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger. I think that will work. Since I will be soaking my raisons in Sherry, I will add a little colouring (burnt sugar) to deepen the colour. To reiterate, did LOVE the texture of the cake. Thanks for the recipe..
  31. I made this apricot fruitcake for Christmas gift giving this year via Rock Recipes but Rock recipe is basically the same as this one. Although I usually make Jamaican Black Christmas cake, (a family and friend favourite) I went for this one for a change, and have to say it was a pleasant change. Bonus being it's a lovely fruitcake recipe to have on hand to make and gift out to your teetotaler friends and family members who would never eat a booze laden fruitcake. That said, even though we did enjoy this fruitcake, I'll most likely switch back to making the Jamaican black cake like I've done for years. Should add, I cheated a bit on this cake recipe by using dried cherries ( plumped in warmed Cherry Brandy ) rather than use the neon coloured candied cherries because no one in family or friends like them.
  32. This recipe sounds so good just by reading the many positive comments, so I will most definitely will be trying a first ever. Wish me all the best.
  33. This recipe sounds just like a Christmas cake should be. I will be baking it this year! I live in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. How can I purchase the fruit mix that you recommended in Barrie or Toronto or somewhere fairly close by? Thank you in advance. I am also a lover of cross stitch, crochet and especially cats! I look forward to your reply... Mary Klaver Blom
    1. Thank you, Mary. Sounds like we are two of a kind. :) You can purchase the fruit mix through the website or through Amazon. Alternatively, Bulk Barn carries all of those types of fruits and peels too.
  34. I made this fruit cake a few days ago and it’s amazing! I substituted the peel and nuts for more cherries and white raisins. I couldn’t believe how moist it is too - I’m used traditional fruitcake which can be a bit dry sometimes. Only question - does it need to be refrigerated?
    1. Thank you, Colleen. You can refrigerate it if you want it to last longer, but I like to keep it at room temperature.
  35. I love this receipe. I made it last year and made more for gifts and just finished making them again this year. The taste of the apricots and colour really come through. Thanks!
    1. Thank you, Ruth. That's what I like most about this cake. You can taste the fruit, unlike rum-soaked fruitcakes where all you can taste and smell is alcohol.
  36. Can I omit the mixed peel? Can I increase something else to make up for it? I want to make this for my dad and it’s the best recipe I’ve found. Thanks!
    1. Hi Karen. Not everyone likes fruitcakes soaked in alcohol. I've never tested this recipe with alcohol, so I don't recommend it.
  37. The cakes are in the oven as I’m writing this. Thankfully I scrolled through the comments because I too wasn’t sure about the liquid, to add or not. Glad I did. This fruitcake was easy to put together. Hardest part was chopping the cherries and apricots.(lol). The only change I made was 1/2 tsp orange extract and 1tsp almond extract instead of the vanilla. Awesome recipe. Thank you for sharing. This recipe is going into my Christmas recipe board.👍👍
    1. Thank you, Maureen. I have just updated the recipe card so that everyone knows to include the liquid as well. Can't wait to hear what you think! :)
  38. Tried a tiny end piece and it’s delicious. Wrapped and ready for the freezer. Thanks again for sharing. It’s a keeper.👍
  39. I tried this recipe today with great anticipation and followed the recipe to a “t”. However, I can’t get them to be completely cooked in the middle (and I am an experienced cook). I cooked them an extra 20 min. , the toothpick came out clean but on taking the loaves out of the pan (after 10 min) and placing them on a rack to cool, they immediately started sagging and cracking. I quickly put them back in the pan and they’re in the oven again. I’m very disappointed.
    1. Oh no, Marlene! That's terrible! I'm just guessing here, because I'm not there with you. Did you bake them on the middle rack? How big was your loaf pan?

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