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Layered Fruitcake with Creme Fraiche Frosting


This recipe makes enough batter for a three-layer cake; to make the towering six-layer cake pictured, make two separate batches, rather than simply doubling the ingredients. The frosting recipe makes an ample amount for either three or six layers. If desired, granish with sugared lemon zest.

  • Servings: 12

Photography: Ellie Miller

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2007


For the Cake

  • Unsalted butter, for pans
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons bread flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons candied lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup dark-chocolate-covered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 10 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam, warmed, pureed in a food processor, and strained

For the Frosting and Glaze

  • 36 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) creme fraiche
  • 1 1/2 cups fine sanding sugar
  • Sugared Lemon Zest, optional


  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 400. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment cut to fit, and butter parchment.

  2. Whisk together flours, confectioners' sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.

  3. Finely chop fruits and peels; coarsely chop almonds. Mix with brandy.

  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Raise speed to medium-high, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle a third of the flour mixture over the peaks, and fold with a spatula until just combined. Gently fold in another third of the flour mixture. Toss brandied fruits and nuts with remaining flour mixture, then fold into batter.

  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, and smooth tops. Bake until golden brown and cakes pull away slightly from sides of pans, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen, then invert cakes onto racks to cool completely. (Cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight.)

  6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese with a standing mixer on medium-high speed until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and beat in confectioners' sugar. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Switch to the whisk attachment. With mixer on low speed, beat in 1 1/2 cups cream and the vanilla. Add creme fraiche, and beat until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. (Frosting is best used the day you make it; refrigerate it in an airtight container until needed.)

  7. To assemble: Place 4 1/2 cups frosting in a large bowl, refrigerating remainder for glaze. Whisk until very stiff peaks form. Place 1 cake on an inverted baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush with 2 tablespoons jam. Using an offset spatula, spread 3/4 cup frosting over jam. Repeat with second cake, 2 tablespoons jam, and 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake. Refrigerate remaining 3 cups frosting. Freeze cake for 1 hour.

  8. Spread remaining 3 cups frosting over top and sides of cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Freeze for 1 hour.

  9. For the glaze: Add remaining 1 1/2 cups cream to the refrigerated frosting, and whisk until combined. Place cake on a wire rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a ladle, spoon glaze over cake, allowing it to drip down sides, until cake is covered. (You will have a generous amount of leftover glaze. The glaze on the cake will appear slightly translucent but will become more opaque when chilled.) Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

  10. Using 2 spatulas, transfer cake to a serving platter or a cake stand. Sprinkle sanding sugar over top, and gently toss it onto sides to coat entire cake. Wipe sugar from edges of platter. Garnish with sugared lemon zest if desired. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Cake will keep at room temperature for about an hour but is best -- and easiest to slice -- when cold.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Margotlane
    24 DEC, 2014
    Ok my cakes came out OK, even tho I only have two slightly larger pringforms! (In case anyone is wondering, it doesn't rise that much). My apricot jam already has armanac in it...anyone reading this soon know if add more brandy anyway?
  • Margotlane
    23 DEC, 2014
    Hey I'm just about to make FREEZE it? Not refrigerate? Feeling a bit jittery about doing this, since one reviewer said it was hard as a rock! Can someone verify?
  • Anna1226
    25 DEC, 2008
    I halved the quantities for the frosting to only make a half batch. Frosting the cake was enough, I didn't think glazing it was necessary. I thought the frosting was not quite thick enough for frosting. I expected with the heavy cream and the creme fraiche, it would whip up more. Still, I covered the cake in icing and stuck it in the freezer and it was fine.
  • Anna1226
    25 DEC, 2008
    As fruit cake is traditional for Christmas, I thought this would make a nice Christmas dessert. I used regular flour in place of almond flour and cake flour in place of bread flour. I don't know that it negatively affected the cake. My cakes turned out just fine. A bit denser than a standard cake, but still okay. I made my own creme fraiche. Add 2 tbsp buttermilk to 2 c heavy cream. Let it sit out on the counter for 8 hours, then cover and stick in the frigde. It will keep for two weeks.
  • GwenninSpring
    7 JAN, 2008
    I made this cake for our annual 12th Night Party. I baked three layers one day and assembled it the next. When the cakes came out of the oven they smelled terrible. Like scorched egg whites. I muddled on however. I used my mother's recipe for creme cheese frosting and omitted the glaze step. It seemed like a lot of mess for nothing. I fromsted the cake, sprinkled it with sanding sugar and garnised the edges with sugared fruits. The icing saved a tastless, flat, gritty cake. So sorry.
  • Chrissavard
    28 DEC, 2007
    This was our "Christmas cake" and it is absolutely divine!!!! I didn't have time to do the glaze but no one noticed! Definitely a cake I will make again. I used all purpose flour as I was out of bread flour. It was still great! Thanks Martha!
  • emeralddragonfly
    4 DEC, 2007
    try sprinkling each layer with orange liqeuer, let soak in then glaze with warm orange marmalade. Yum!
  • mmsrjs
    27 NOV, 2007
    the recipe for "almond semolina cake" tells me that Almond Paste in the batter keeps cake moist.
  • mmsrjs
    27 NOV, 2007
    I looked at the "also try" windows on upper right side of page and found candied lemon peel, then went to the bottom of page to see "other great ideas" sometimes the recipe I want is there. Then last I went to Marthas Search Engine at the top of page and typed in "candied orange peel" hit enter and sat back to let her search engine fine it. sure enough it came up. Bread flour is in the grocery store, and you can make your own Almond flour. go to "Rustic Cherry Tart" for more information.
  • sister_moon_child
    25 NOV, 2007
    Now that I've had time to prepare this cake, I have to admit that it took a LOT more time than anticipated. After following this recipe to the letter, it was a disaster! Actually, the frosting was great, but the cake was as hard as a rock. Almost impossible to cut with any knife. I'd think twice before making this one...