Really Good Fruitcake


Let us make the case that a Southern fruitcake recipe can actually be delicious.

Active Time:
30 mins
Soak Time:
1 day
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins
2 loaves

We get it. Fruitcake tends to be a bit polarizing. Some folks couldn't imagine their Southern Christmas without the traditional dessert on the table, while others would rather stay far away and opt for something less pecan pie or buttermilk pralines. But let us make the case that a Southern fruitcake recipe can actually be delicious.

We put Southern Living test kitchen pro, Ivy Odom, to the test. And she delivered. This may be the best fruitcake ever made, but don't take our word for it. The classic dessert has a rare combination of fruit and spices that's guaranteed to make your tastebuds sing. Apples, persimmons, peaches, and pecans come together to create a sweet treat that'll have you going back for a second serving. Of course, almost every ingredient is soaked in bourbon to give it a distinctive fruitcake flavor. Don't let the long timestamp fool you. This recipe only takes 30 minutes of hands-on time, and it's worth every second.

Really Good Fruitcake

Southern Living


  • 1 cup chopped dried pineapple, from 1 (5.7-oz.) container

  • 1 2/3 cup chopped dried mission figs, from 1 (9-oz.) container

  • 2 2/3 cup dried chopped apples, persimmons, and peaches, from 2 (3-oz.) containers, such as Rind

  • 1 cup golden raisins

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1/2 cup bourbon

  • 1/4 cup brandy

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup peeled and grated Honey Crisp apple

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, from 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, from 1 orange

  • 1/2 cup orange juice, from 2 oranges

  • 2/3 cup drained Luxardo maraschino cherries

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • Cheesecloth, for storing

  • Bourbon, for storing


  1. Place pineapple, figs, apples, persimmons, peaches, golden raisins, cinnamon stick, bourbon, and brandy in a large bowl; stir to coat fruit in liquid. Cover and let stand at room temperature 24 hours, stirring once every 8 hours. Discard cinnamon stick.

  2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Spray 2 8.5x4.5-inch loaf pans with baking spray; line pans with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on the two long sides. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside. Place butter in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar to butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to mixer bowl; beat on low until just combined, about 30 seconds.

  3. Remove mixer bowl from mixer. Fold in zests, juice, cherries, pecans, and soaked fruit mixture. Batter will be very thick. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of each fruitcake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

  4. Place pans on a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Remove fruitcakes from pans. Slice to serve, or if storing, dampen cheesecloth with bourbon and wrap fruitcake tightly with cheesecloth, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 month, changing cheesecloth once a week. To store for a short period of time (less than 1 week), wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

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