Recipe: Classic Fruitcake with Cherries, Raisins, Pears, Apricots, and Cranberries

For our holiday entertaining guide, Chef Barbara Lynch shares six recipes for a festive spread. Here's how to make a classic fruitcake.

barbara lynch fruitcake

Photograph by Pat Piasecki

Classic Fruitcake with Cherries, Raisins, Pears, Apricots, and Cranberries

Yields 2 loaves

  • 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tbsp. for buttering the pans
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. spiced rum, such as Sailor Jerry
  • 3 c. bread flour, plus ½ cup for dredging the fruit mixture
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Fruit mixture (must be prepared 48 hours prior to making the cake)
  • Apple jelly, warmed

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the loaf pans by evenly coating with softened butter. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and airy. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is incorporated. Add the zests, and slowly mix in 3 cups bread flour. Add the ½ cup flour to the fruit mixture and toss together to fully coat and thicken. Fold the fruit mixture into the cake batter and portion into the pans, filling three-quarters of the way or weighing out to 1 pound.

Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, then reduce the temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. The cake is done when an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool, soak with the rum, and remove from the pans.

When completely cooled, glaze the top and sides with warmed apple jelly for added shine and flavor. To create a “snowy” effect, dust the cakes with confectioners’ sugar lightly shaken from a fine-mesh sieve.

Fruit Mixture

  • 4 oz. dried cherries, chopped
  • 4 oz. dried raisins
  • 4 oz. dried pears, chopped
  • 4 oz. dried apricots, chopped
  • 4 oz. fresh cranberries, halved
  • 2 c. spiced rum, such as Sailor Jerry

Place all of the dried fruit in a medium bowl and pour the rum over the top. Stir the rum-fruit mixture and allow to macerate, covered for 48 hours at room temperature. If possible, give the fruit a gentle stir every few hours.


Check out all six Barbara Lynch recipes in our holiday entertaining guide, “A Chef’s Holiday.”