Irish Spiced Fruitcake

Irish Spiced Fruitcake is definitely NOT your grandma's fruitcake. It's packed with dried fruit and warm spices, I like it simple and plain or with a smear of Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.
Irish Spiced Fruitcake ♥, NOT your grandma's fruitcake, it's packed with dried fruit and warm spices, here with a smear of Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.

I Just Knew I’d Love This Fruitcake.

It conjures memories of my English-born grandfather’s cousins Lyla and Vic who after six decades of marriage, still giggled about their wedding day.

“Poor pensioners” they called themselves. And yes, their home was a small flat on the outskirts of London with a miniature rose garden and a front room with two chairs, a sofa and the telly. Just that, no more. Morning ablutions were simple, aided by a slip of soap, toothbrushes and a travel-size tube of paste. Vic’s well-worn shaving brush and tarnished razor sat nearby. Just that, no more.

But Vic and Lyla were savers and scrimpers and managed long visits to Canada and the U.S. at least twice and made their way to southern Europe too, seeking out holiday sun.

When we published a family cookbook in 2002, Lyla shared her recipe for Dundee Dake, a sort of fruitcake, writing that she made it for Vic every ten days. The same cake, every ten days for sixty years!

Can You Even Imagine?

Just imagine, in today’s world of abundance and moment-to-moment status updates, choosing the same cake again and again, ignoring the new and the novel, the fresh and the inventive.

Now this isn't Lyla's Dundee Cake but I just knew I’d love this fruitcake. All this richness cloaked in unassuming simplicity.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day?

There's no reason to save this lovely little cake exclusively for St. Patrick's Day but there are other recipes that for me, are once-a-year specialties, see St. Patrick's Day recipes and Irish recipes.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2-1/2 hours
Makes 1 loaf or 1 round cake, about 16 slices
  • 2 cups (270g) mixed dried fruit – dark raisins, golden raisins, currants, dried tart cherries, dried cranberries, snips of dried apricot
  • 1/2 cup (35g) toasted nuts – walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) mixed spices – ginger, allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups (220g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

STOVETOP In a saucepan, combine the dried fruit, nuts, butter, sugar, spices, baking soda and milk. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Turn off heat and let cool for 30 minutes.

OVEN Heat oven to 350F/180C. Spray a loaf pan or an 8” or 9” cake pan with baking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Whisk eggs into fruit mixture until well-combined, then work in flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon until no signs of flour show.

Turn batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test the cake’s doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

If it comes out wet or with crumbs on the tester, reduce the heat to 325F/160C and bake until the tester comes out clean, checking every 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Slice and savor, if you like (and I very much do) smeared with a little Brown Sugar Lemon Curd.

ALANNA’s TIPS I have the idea that this is a cake you could make every week, never making the same one twice. Mix up the fruit, maybe soak it in fruit juice or bourbon. Stir in orange zest or lemon zest or candied ginger or even bits of chocolate. Mix up the spices, I loved the blend of ginger, allspice and cardamom but am intrigued by the possibility of adding a little cayenne or even white pepper. The inspiring recipe used regular flour, I substituted whole wheat pastry flour and believe half almond flour would be wonderful. (FYI I do believe that the whole wheat flour causes a slight crumbliness beginning about Day Three.) I substituted almond milk for whole milk. Would I substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for a similar measure of flour? You bet. The inspiring recipe calls for a round cake, I used my favorite loaf pan.
Per Slice, assumes 16 slices: 214 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 41mg Cholesterol; 309mg Sodium; 34g Carb; 3g Fiber; 20g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 10 & Freestyle 10 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = half a slice.
Many thanks to Never Enough Thyme for the recipe, which Lana adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna,
    What a lovely story of your relatives (what are your grandfather's cousins, anyway? Grand-cousins?)
    Every ten days--once a week would be too frequent, so that sounds just about right to me, too.



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna