Fruitcake can either be the best or worst Christmas gift ever. You’ve clicked through to read this post so hopefully you’ve tasted really good fruitcake before. Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of perspective that determines the value of this time honored tradition, it’s a matter of ingredients!
If you purchase the “fruit-like” substance sold in many stores around the holidays to make your fruitcake you’re going to be pouring artificial colors, chemical preservatives and high fructose corn syrup into your homemade batter. It’s sad and gross at the same time. Sad because you’ve worked hard to make a homemade cake and you’re ruining it with junk. Gross because not only does that processed fruit taste bad, it’s horrible for your body.
Maybe you’re one of the smart ones and have ditched candied fruit all together and just use dry fruit. That is certainly an option, but you’ll have to soak the fruit in orange juice or some other fruit juice to add moisture and sweetness. Then you put it in the oven and pray it doesn’t dry out too much! And if it does you know you’ll have to pour a gallon of juice (or bourbon) on it.
Trust me when I say there is a better way!
There is a way to have wonderfully sweet and tasty candied fruit, and unlike that stuff you buy in the store, you can still identify each piece by it’s appearance and taste. Also, there is a way to have a moist cake that doesn’t dry out without adding a ton of juice or bourbon (although some of us might not mind the additional bourbon...). Then to add the proverbial icing on this cake, there is a way to make it nourishing!
Candied fruit does not have to be artificial, it’s actually a traditional way to preserve fruit. It takes a little time but it’s super easy and well worth the effort. To make the candied fruit you’ll need to boil your fruit in a heavy syrup and then let it soak for four days simmering it on the stove each day. (There is a complete lesson on how to make candied fruit in The Self Reliant School Member area, so be sure to check it out if you are a member.) You can also purchase high quality candied fruit, but it is expensive and hard to find. However you come by your candied fruit make sure you have enough to make more than one fruit cake because one cake will not be enough with these natural ingredients.
Fruitcake also contains nuts. Nuts are so good for you, but they can be hard to digest. They contain phytic acid which prevents nutrients from being absorbed fully in the intestines. Cooking the nuts will remove some of it, however, if you soak your nuts you can enjoy them as a snack in addition to baking with them. Also, this process will give you optimal digestion, as some argue cooking does not reduce phytic acid enough. The nuts also have a wonderful salty flavor if you soak them in salt water. (If you are a member of Self Reliant School there is also a complete lesson on how to do this in the member area.)
Using the Instant Pot to cook your fruitcake will prevent it for drying out since all the moisture is contained inside the pressure cooker when pressure cooking.
I think that’s it! All the fruitcake problems solved.
Oh, one more thing, about the flour. I use soft white wheat because I grind my own flour. However, you can use a high quality white flour if you prefer. I don’t recommend using a whole wheat flour that you buy at the store because those are mostly made with hard wheat which will make your cake very dense (even more than fruitcake is suppose to be). So unless the whole wheat flour says for cake baking, stick to all purpose flour.
Here is the recipe for both the 6 quart and 8 quart Instant Pot. Be sure to check out our resource page if you’re looking for an Instant Pot accessory to fit into your Instant Pot to make this cake. We’ve got 6 quart and 8 quart accessories listed.
Fruitcake (6qt Instant Pot)
- ¼ cup candied pineapple
- ¼ cup candied apples
- ¼ cup candied cherries
- ¼ cup dehydrated grapes (raisins)
- ½ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios
- ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
To Make Batter
- 6 tablespoons butter (1 stick) softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup flour (I use soft white wheat, freshly ground)
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
Cut/chop fruit into small pieces and place it in a heat safe bowl.
Simmer bourbon (you can do this on the stove or in the Instant Pot) until it is warm. Pour the bourbon over the fruit.
Chop nuts with a knife. I prefer hand chopping as it adds to the rustic feel and texture of fruitcake. Set aside.
To prepare batter. Cream butter with a hand mixer. Add brown sugar slowly until well combined.
Add eggs slowly while continuing to mix the batter.
Add vanilla extract,
and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.
Slowly mix in the flour. The batter will be thick.
Mix in the baking powder.
Drain the fruit and retain the bourbon.
Mix fruit and nuts into batter.
Place batter into greased and floured cake pan.
Place 1 ½ cup of water in your Instant Pot. Place the steaming rack in, then place the cake pan onto the steaming rack. Cook on manual for 90 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes. Then after 10 minutes manually release the steam by turning the steam release handle.
Fruitcake (8 qt Instant Pot)
- ½ cup candied pineapple
- ½ cup candied apples
- ½ cup candied cherries
- ½ cup dehydrated grapes (raisins)
- 1 cup bourbon
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- ½ cup chopped hazelnuts
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 12 tablespoons butter (1 and ½ stick) softened
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ cup flour (I use soft white wheat, freshly ground)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Follow directions above.
If you'd like to see a live demonstration on making this fruitcake, take a look at this video I did for the Self Reliant Living Show:
What is your favorite Christmas dessert? Do you have a favorite fruitcake recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below and let me know.