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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!

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 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.

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.

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!?

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!

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3.65 from 78 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!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Christmas
Servings: 24 slices
Calories: 333kcal
Author: Lord Byron’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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. 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.

Notes

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: https://www.paradisefruitco.com/store/paradise-tutti-fruiti-mix/
Here’s a link for the cherries too:
Red: https://www.paradisefruitco.com/store/paradise-candied-red-cherries/
Green: https://www.paradisefruitco.com/store/candied-green-cherries/

Nutrition

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

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This Post Has 56 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.

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