Make sure to plan ahead: This cake needs to sit for at least one month to allow the flavors to develop. To serve, slice it as thinly as possible.

Martha Stewart Living, December 2000


Recipe Summary

Makes five 5 3/4-by-3-inch tea loaves, or two 9-by-5-by-2 1/2-inch tea loaves


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line bottoms of pans with buttered parchment. Combine candied citrus and almonds in a mixing bowl, and set aside.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl at least twice. Stir in 3 tablespoons sherry and the citrus zest.

  • Reduce speed of mixer to low. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating until just combined. Fold in candied citrus and almonds.

  • Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake until golden and set and a cake tester inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes (20 to 30 minutes for larger cakes).

  • Remove the cakes from oven, and douse each with 3 tablespoons sherry. Cool the cakes completely on a wire rack. Remove cakes from loaf pans, and discard parchment paper. Wrap the cakes in muslin or cheesecloth. Store in a cool, dark, dry place, dousing cakes with several tablespoons of sherry once a week for at least 1 month before serving.


Reviews (9)

12 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I have made this every year since i first saw the recipe in Living magazine. After a couple years, i started to experiment with different flavors. Now i make it multiple times a year with variations for the season: Pineapple, papaya and mango with macadamia nuts doused with Cointreau for the summer, for example. Golden fig and walnut with whiskey for fall. Apricot and almond with sweet white dessert wine. Once you get the base batter down, the variations are endless! In my humble opinion, some key points are not to put too much fruit and nut in the batter (Then it begins to fall apart when cutting), and to soak the fruit and nuts in the dousing liquor for a day or so before making the batter (I find some of the dried fruits, especially the organic variety, to remain too dry.)
Rating: Unrated
Fabulous flavor. But when I slice it, the cake crumbles apart and doesn't make a nice thin slice. Must admit, I added extra candied citrus peel (recipe from your site), and some finely chopped pecans. Any suggestions? Or will time solve this problem?
Rating: Unrated
After this recipe was a huge hit last year, I'm making it again this year, too. Even lifelong members of the Fruitcake Haters Club loved this and it doesn't have a strong alcohol flavor like some rum or brandy doused versions. I did the dousing this way: I wrapped the loaves in cheesecloth, placed them in an old 13x9 pan (to catch the drips), and put them in our extra refrigerator in the basement. Each week I poured a bit more sherry on them. Not everyone has the luxury of an extra old fridge, but I think a cool corner would have been fine. I did NOT wrap them in plastic -- the resulting loaves were dense and firm, not moist like a fresh cake but not dry at all. One loaf ended up in plastic, however: I mailed a small loaf to a friend in Germany after just 2 dousings. He let it sit several weeks, wrapped in plastic but with no more sherry, and reported it was delicious at Christmas.
Rating: Unrated
I made this last year and will be making it again this Christmas too. I had no idea that after wrapping the cakes in muslin they also needed to be kept in plastic to keep them moist. Don't forget to wrap them in plastic too! I made these 2 months in advance and even though I messed up they were still really good.
Rating: Unrated
I tried to make half this recipe but I made a mistake with the conversion of the butter. Half way through we had to add more eggs, flour and fruit. And since we only had enough candied peel for half I had to store half the batter in the fridge until the next day. Crazy I know but they seem to have come out quite nicely, at least they smell wonderful. I just have a question; how do you douse them once wrapped? Do you unwrap them first or just douse them through the muslin?
Rating: Unrated
Too bad I'm seeing this so late in the season! I like the suggestions above with the chocolate and ginger; will hope to try next year. I'm also late responding to the note above: To avoid having your fruit sink in the batter, toss all the chopped fruits and nuts lightly in flour before folding into the batter. I used to help my mom make traditional dark fruitcakes every year -- this works!
Rating: Unrated
I grew up eating homemade dark fruitcake, filled with the technicolor candied fruits and walnuts. It was not quite fruitcake that inspires the tired jokes, but close to it. When I saw this recipe, I got excited -- first, because it is like a poundcake, and second, because it involved such seemingly exotic ingredients. It has become a favorite in my house, even with my 6 year old, and I make it with dried cherries, pecans, bittersweet chocolcate, candied orange peel, and crystallized ginger.
Rating: Unrated
How to ensure that all the candied citrus are spreading evenly on the cake after baking? I always experience the citrus fruits sink to the bottom of the cake after baking? Why is that happening? Any suggestion?
Rating: Unrated
I made mini loaves for Christmas gifts and they turned out great. They smelled wonderful, looked really pretty and best of all, I had to make these one month in advance, so I was ahead of schedule that Christmas!