Backhouse Family Fruitcake

Photo: Sang An
1 8-inch cake

Alcohol, like rum, preserve fruitcakes. Mixing with the fruit, it starts fermentation, creating that wonderful taste, which improves with time.


  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan

  • 4 ounces glaceed or dried apricot, chopped into ½-inch pieces (½ cup)

  • 4 ounces glaceed or dried pineapple, chopped into ½-inch pieces (½ cup)

  • 8 ounces dates, pitted, chopped (1 ½ cups)

  • 4 ounces dried cherries (½ cup)

  • 4 ounces whole blanched almonds (¾ cup)

  • 8 ounces Brazil nuts (1 ½ cup)

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup cake flour, (not self-rising)

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 cup light-brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons rum, plus more for dousing


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Brush 8-inch springform pan with soft butter. Line bottom and sides with parchment; brush with butter.

  2. Combine fruit and nuts in a bowl; set aside. Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed; add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add vanilla and rum.

  3. In two additions, add dry ingredients to butter. Scrape down bowl between additions. Fold in fruit and nuts. Pour batter into pan. Bake until golden and set, about 2 1/2 hours. Cover with foil if it colors too much.

  4. Cool on a wire rack. Remove from pan; discard parchment. Wrap in cheesecloth or muslin. Douse with 1/2 cup rum. Store in a cool, dry place; douse with 1/2 cup rum weekly for at least 1 month before serving.

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