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Easy Fruit Cake:

1 cup (200 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup (240 ml/grams) water

1/4 cup (55 grams) butter, diced

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine kosher salt

2 cups (300 grams) dark or golden seedless raisins, currants, and/or dried cranberries

2 large eggs (100 grams), lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract (optional)

1 cup (150 grams) candied orange or lemon peel (or chopped mixed peel)

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Easy Fruit Cake: In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil the sugar, water, butter, spices, and dried fruit. Boil gently for five minutes, then remove from heat, and let cool until it is lukewarm. (This will take about 45 to 60 minutes.)

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 inch (21.5 x 11.5 x 10 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper. (Note: if using a dark colored pan reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).)

Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the lightly beaten eggs, flour, baking soda, vanilla extract (if using), and candied peel. Pour into your prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for about 55 - 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing from pan. If possible, cover and store for a few days before serving. This fruit cake can be frozen.

Makes one loaf.


The British Fruit Cake is traditionally served during the Christmas season. It is full of dried fruits and nuts, laced with alcohol over several weeks, and often covered with marzipan and royal icing. The problem is that it's both expensive to make and it needs time to age. Luckily, there is a much simpler version of this cake for the last minute baker, and I call it an Easy Fruit Cake. You may know it as a Boiled Fruit Cake, a War Cake, and/or a Bachelor's Cake. I love a lot of things about this cake. I love that it still uses all the necessary fruit cake ingredients, like dried and candied fruits and ground spices. I love that the batter is so easy to make and you don't need to pull out your stand mixer. And most importantly, I love its flavor and that it can be eaten almost right away. This is one cake that is so good that it begs to be made all year, not just during the Christmas season.

This Easy Fruit Cake does not contain alcohol and yet its texture is still wonderfully moist. Now, the reason it's often called a "Boiled" Fruit Cake, is because the brown sugar, water, butter, spices, and raisins are, in fact, "boiled". Once this boiled mixture has been left to cool to lukewarm, all that's left is to fold in the rest of the ingredients. And that's it. Then just pour the batter into your pan and bake. Now, if possible, do try to resist eating this cake right away. Although it doesn't need weeks to age, it does benefit from being stored, at least a day or two.

A few things about this recipe are worth mentioning. For the dried fruit, you can just use raisins. But I have used both dark and golden raisins, along with currants, and some dried cranberries. Spices can also be adjusted to your taste, adding more or less of each. Finally, if you are an avid fan of fruit cakes and want to make them year round, it might be a good idea to pick up extra candied peel during the holiday season as it can be difficult to find during the rest of the year.