Old fashioned Appalachian fruitcake

mary hendricks


This is the old fashioned type of fruitcake. American settler style I guess. A tradition in the UK but changed to use what was available when they settled in the hills and mountains of the Appalachia .. Molasses one of the sweetners of the time .. It has a different taste to white and brown sugar .. that molasses thing but not over powering
This is adaptable in that you can use whatever dried fruits you like. Dates prunes raisin current apricot cranberry cherry pineapple candied ginger. You can use Brandy rum or even just apple and or grape juice. Nuts walnut or pecan.. make it your own.


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2 Hr
1 Hr


  • 1 1/2 - 2 c
    each of 4 dried fruits
  • 1 c
    rum . brandy. or juice(apple or grape or mixed)
  • 1 stick
  • 1/2 c
  • 3/4 - 1 c
    light brown sugar
  • 2 c
  • 1/2 tsp
    baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp
    baking soda
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1
    orange . zested and juice
  • 1 1/2 c
    nuts pecan or walnuts chopped
  • 1
    egg whisked
  • 2 c
    powder sugar
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 2-3 Tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp
    ginger powder

How to Make Old fashioned Appalachian fruitcake


  1. You can use a variety of dried fruits. I used raisins dried cherries prunes and dried cranberries in the one pictured. 1 1/2 - 2 cups of each of the 4 fruits.. Take your dried fruit place in dish and almost cover with your liquid. Brandy rum of juice. Cover and allow to soak at least 2 hours. Ya want them plump and moist. If not they will be very dry after baking.
  2. Mix flour salt baking powder and soda in a bowl and set aside
  3. Butter in to pan and melt. While melting add molasses and brown sugar. If you like things a bit sweeter you can add more brown sugar.
    Continue to stir over low heat.
  4. Take your fruits and dump it all into the butter and sugar mix.
    Add ginger cinnamon and nutmeg. And orange zest and juice. Cook over low.
  5. Take your whisked egg and add it to the flour. Mix it in much like you would cutting in butter or lard for a biscuit. You want no bigger then pea sized clumps
  6. Add about 1 cup of fruit batter to flour stir and continue a cup at a time untill half is mixed with flour ( tempering the eggs in a way) then you can dump it all in along with the nuts and mix by hand. You don't have to mix to much.
  7. Place in greased and floured pan ..I use a Bundt..
    350° preheated oven.. place rack just above center and place a pan with water on shelf under the cake. for 45 minutes
    Check at 45 it may take up to 15 more depending on humidity and oven .. don't forget the steam pan of water. It helps keep things moist.
  8. Cake is done when it has slightly pulled edges from pan and knife is inserted and comes out mostly clean. A crumb or 2. Is ok.
  9. Let rest in pan 20 minutes or so then take a knife and gently run it around the, edges or the pan place plate ontop of pan and flip it turning cake on yo plate
  10. Once cool. Take the powder sugar ginger vanilla and milk mix together and slowly spoon over cake . Done!

Printable Recipe Card

About Old fashioned Appalachian fruitcake

Course/Dish: Cakes
Main Ingredient: Fruit
Regional Style: Southern
Other Tag: Heirloom

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