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, 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. 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.

Savers and scrimpers, Vic and Lyla 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!

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.

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.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite fruitcake 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. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


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 (142g) 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 (210g) 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. 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 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.

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 WW Old Points 4, WW PointsPlus 6 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.

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.

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Caraway Corned Beef Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup Whole Wheat Soda Bread Emerald Isle Stew (<< this week's healthy St. Patrick's Day favorite) Irish Soda Muffins Spinach Soup with Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs

This Week, Elsewhere

Potato Gratin from Eclipse Restaurant
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pride of Erin Soup
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A Veggie Venture

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© Copyright 2012 Kitchen Parade

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.


  2. I did make it, thank you for the recipe ... and blogged it at Irish Dundee Whiskey Cake!


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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