Gingered Christmas Fruitcake With Rustic Decorations

Moist, gingery Christmas fruitcake topped with marzipan, royal icing and rustic decorations of sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves, dried orange slices, pine cones and whole spices. There are a lot of mixed feelings about fruitcake, some people love it, others hate it with a fiery passion; I am firmly in the first camp, I adore fruitcake (of course I do. It’s cake.) and will happily eat it year round; fruitcake is not just for Christmas, though I wouldn’t want to celebrate it without it. Traditionally, Christmas cake should be made a good while in advance to allow it to mature; I am not that organised however so I made a cake that requires minimal maturing; though it certainly wouldn’t harm it if you wanted to make it a month or so in advance.

Gingered Christmas fruitcake with royal icing, pine cones, dried orange slices, spices and sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leavesI baked mine a week before icing it and fed it with a couple of spoonfuls of booze twice; the cake is perfectly moist and flavourful; this is due to the fact that I added chopped figs and dates to the fruit mixture, both of which provide lots of moisture, I pre-soaked the fruit in a mixture of alcohol and orange juice so that it became plump and moist; and I added a good amount of chopped crystallised and stem ginger which add lots of flavour and bursts of warmth. I used Cointreau to soak the fruit in and to feed the cake with, simply because I had a limited selection of booze in the cupboard; feel free to use whatever type of spirit suits you. Ginger wine would give a nice extra kick of ginger, or rum, brandy and sherry work well.

Moist, gingery fruitcake topped with marzipan, royal icing, sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves, dried orange slices, pine cones and whole spices.I made royal icing from scratch to decorate the cake with, it is really simple to make but does contain raw egg white so if you have any problems with eating raw egg then you can use royal icing box mix instead. The decorations on top are really simple to do, but create a beautiful rustic effect (though please do remember that they aren’t edible…); I used a couple of small pine cones that were originally Christmas tree decorations, some cinnamon sticks and star anise, dried orange slices and sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves. Because I used fresh cranberries and rosemary they wont last as long as decorations made from fondant, so it is best not to decorate the cake until you are ready to display it.

Moist, gingery fruitcake topped with marzipan, royal icing, sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves, dried orange slices, pine cones and whole spices  - Domestic GothessI was very kindly sent a hand mixer, cake lifter and some cake decorating tools by Domu to use for this cake. I was especially grateful to receive the mixer as my old one was so ancient that it used to belong to my late grandmother…it is nice to be using one that is a little more powerful now! The cake lifter is so useful for moving your cakes around, gone are the days of precariously picking it up with a couple of spatulas…I was originally going to make a cake with fondant decorations but changed my mind so didn’t use the cake decorating tools in the end but I am sure they will come in handy in the future. Incidentally, all of these things would make great Christmas presents for the baker in your life…

VonShef hand mixerMoist ginger fruitcake topped with marzipan, royal icing, sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves, dried orange slices, pine cones and whole spices  - Domestic Gothess

Gingered Christmas Fruitcake With Rustic Decorations
  • 80g (2.8oz) dried figs, chopped
  • 65g (2.3oz) dried cranberries
  • 65g (2.3oz) dates, chopped
  • 50g (1.75oz) glace cherries, chopped
  • 30g (1oz) mixed candied peel
  • 50g (1.75oz) raisins
  • 50g (1.75oz) sultanas
  • 50g (1.75oz) currants
  • 100g (3.5oz) crystallised ginger, chopped
  • 50g (1.75oz) stem ginger, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 + juice ½ orange
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp stem ginger syrup
  • 4 tbsp ginger wine/rum/brandy/cointreau/sherry (plus extra for feeding)
  • 140g (1/3 + ¼ cups) softened butter
  • 140g (2/3 cup + 2tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp treacle
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g (1 + ½ cups) plain flour
  • 40g (1/3 cup) ground almonds
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • pinch salt
Royal icing
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam or marmalade
  • 500g (17.5oz) marzipan
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 400g (4 cups) icing (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp glycerine (optional, but stops the icing from set rock solid)
  • 1 small orange
  • a couple of small pine cones
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • handful fresh cranberries
  • couple sprigs fresh rosemary
  • a few bay leaves
  • granulated sugar
  • cinnamon sticks
  • star anise
  • icing sugar
  1. The day before you want to bake the cake, mix all of the dried fruits together in a large bowl and stir in the orange and lemon zests, orange juice, stem ginger syrup and alcohol, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The following day, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Grease a deep 15cm/6in round cake tin and line the base and sides with a double thickness of baking parchment, making sure that it comes a good 10cm above the top of the tin.
  3. Cream together the butter, sugar and treacle with an electric mixer until pale, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add a spoonful of the flour if the mixture looks like it is about to split.
  4. Sift together the flour, ground almonds, spices and salt then fold into the the creamed mixture followed by the soaked fruit; combine well.
  5. Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 2 hours to 2 hours 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean; cover with tin foil if it starts to get too dark.
  6. When the cake is ready, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of your choice of alcohol over the top then leave it to cool completely in the tin. When cold, remove it from the tin and peel off the parchment; wrap in tin foil and store for up to three weeks, feeding it with alcohol a couple of times a week. I stored it for one week before covering it in marzipan, feeding it twice.
  7. When you are ready to ice the cake, trim the top to level it if necessary, turn it upside down and place it on a cake board or serving platter; use a little of the marzipan to fill in any holes in the cake and gaps between the cake and board. Gently warm the jam in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove until it is runny then brush a thin layer of it all over the cake, avoiding any bits.
  8. Knead the marzipan a little to warm it up, then roll it out on a surface dusted with icing sugar to a large circle about 5mm thick. Drape the marzipan over the top of the cake, dust your hands with icing sugar and smooth the marzipan over the top and sides to cover the cake completely, working out any folds and wrinkles. Trim to make a neat edge. At this point you can leave the cake to dry out for a couple of days if you like, or proceed straight to making the icing.
  9. Place the egg whites in a large, very clean bowl and whisk until they are just foamy. Stir in the icing sugar a spoonful at a time with a spatula then add the lemon juice and glycerine if using. Whisk with an electric mixer until it is very thick and white and stands up in stiff peaks.
  10. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the royal icing, smoothing it with a palette knife. Try to level the top but don't worry about getting it completely smooth, it should be a slightly rough finish. You will probably have a bit of icing left over, it will keep, covered, in the fridge for a week.
  11. Allow the icing to dry a little before decorating. While it is drying make the dried orange slices. Heat the oven to it's lowest setting. Cut the orange into thin slices and lay them on a wire rack; place the rack in the oven and bake for a couple of hours until dried; they will still feel a little bit tacky. remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  12. To make the sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves, beat the egg white with the 2tsp sugar until just frothy. Pour some granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Dip the cranberries in the egg white and shake off any excess, allow to dry a little then roll in the sugar, place on a tray and leave to dry for at least half an hour; repeat with the rosemary and bay leaves.
  13. Arrange the pine cones, a couple of the dried orange slices, the sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves and a few cinnamon sticks and star anise on the top of the cake and finally dust with a little icing sugar.

 Gingery Christmas fruitcake topped with marzipan, royal icing, sugared cranberries, rosemary and bay leaves, dried orange slices, pine cones and whole spices  - Domestic GothessI am sharing this with Saucy Saturdays hosted by The Flavour Bender, Take Two Tapas, La Petit Chef and Mid-Life Croissant,  Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday hosted by Herbs Spices & Traditions and Kitchen Uncorked, Foodie FriDIY, Foodie Friends Friday, Friday Favourites and Friday Features
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40 Comments on Gingered Christmas Fruitcake With Rustic Decorations

  1. Sarah - Craft Invaders
    December 8, 2015 at 10:32 am (11 months ago)

    Beautiful cake – should have guessed the link would lead me here when I clicked on it, your stunning bakes always stand out!

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:38 pm (11 months ago)

      Ha ha! Thanks Sarah 🙂

  2. supergoldenbakes
    December 8, 2015 at 10:40 am (11 months ago)

    I love fruitcake too – I went through a phase of making lots of them when I was in college but I haven’t made any since. Time I did – this looks stunning!

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:37 pm (11 months ago)

      Fruitcake is one of the few cakes that I can’t resist cutting a slither off every time I’m in the kitchen…which is not necessarily a good thing…it’s almost all gone already…

  3. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    December 8, 2015 at 4:27 pm (11 months ago)

    Wow Hannah, this look divine, such beautiful decoration – as always. I totally agree Christmas needs fruit cake. Thankfully (or possibly not!) the whole family enjoy fruit cake so it always gets made.
    Angela x

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:34 pm (11 months ago)

      Thanks Angela 🙂 I dropped the ball the last couple of Christmases and didn’t get round to making a fruitcake and missed not having one so I made sure I baked one this year! x

  4. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake
    December 9, 2015 at 3:58 am (11 months ago)

    I remember the year I made a fruitcake from scratch–it was surprisingly good! Of course, home-baked goods tend to be. Love this version, with the icing and cute decorations 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 6:08 pm (10 months ago)

      I try and make one every Christmas as it keeps so well and it’s nice to have in the house to pick at over the festive season. Agreed, home-made is always better!

  5. adina
    December 9, 2015 at 8:51 am (11 months ago)

    Amazing looking cake!

  6. patisseriemakesperfect
    December 10, 2015 at 11:01 am (11 months ago)

    I love fruit cake and I love marzipan too! This is my ideal recipe. The decorations on top look beautiful are any of them edible? Or just for decoration? Also I love that you made Royal Icing and managed to not make it look tacky 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 6:04 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Angela 🙂 I really love fruitcake, and it’s got to have marzipan on it, the haters can just peel it off! The sugared cranberries are edible, if a little tart, unfortunately everything else is just for decorative purposes. Royal icing can look awful can’t it, it is so much nicer than fondant though… x

  7. bakeplaysmile
    December 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm (11 months ago)

    What a stunning cake. This would just be the perfect Christmas dessert. Ooh I love marzipan! Thanks for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party xx

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks lucy 🙂 I adore marzipan as well xx

  8. Sadhna Grover
    December 11, 2015 at 8:26 pm (10 months ago)

    Wow, awesome rustic decorations and amazing cake with so many dried fruits inside,
    I want to taste it now. Visiting your blog first time, You are a great baker. Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday.

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:58 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you Sadhna! That’s very kind of you 🙂

  9. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons
    December 11, 2015 at 10:20 pm (10 months ago)

    This is absolutely gorgeous! Unfortunately I am in the second camp, I think it is the candied fruit. I don’t like gum balls or jelly beans either. But, a piece of this cake might convert me.

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:57 pm (10 months ago)

      I much prefer fruitcake made with dried rather than candied fruit, and it’s got to have lots of booze in it!

  10. khadija
    December 12, 2015 at 3:11 am (10 months ago)

    wow wow wow this is amazing!!! i love fruitcakes and have never seen one this glorious!

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:55 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you! I really love fruitcake too, it’s addictive!

  11. Ginger
    December 12, 2015 at 8:00 am (10 months ago)

    This looks stunning! I admire your creativity, Hannah – every week a wonderful surprise 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Ginger 🙂

  12. Louise | Cygnet Kitchen
    December 12, 2015 at 7:22 pm (10 months ago)

    This is such a pretty cake Hannah! I love fruit cake and the topping looks fabulous, a real showstopper! x

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:53 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Louise 🙂 I love fruit cake a bit too much…I ended up eating almost the whole cake myself…couldn’t resist slicing a bit off every time I walked past :/ x

  13. sally
    December 13, 2015 at 5:56 am (10 months ago)

    Stunningly decorated cake Hannah. Top marks!

  14. Eb Gargano
    December 14, 2015 at 10:31 am (10 months ago)

    What a lovely way to decorate a Christmas cake. It looks so pretty! Eb x

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you! It’s really easy to do as well 🙂 x

  15. Christine | Mid-Life Croissant
    December 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm (10 months ago)

    I’m hearing so much about fruitcake this year that is making me wonder why I never try it. Especially when I see posts like yours! fruit, booze, cake. What’s not to love? Thanks for bringing this to #SaucySaturdays.

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:43 pm (10 months ago)

      I LOVE fruitcake, it’s dangerous to have it in the house though as I can’t resist cutting off a slither every time I go into the kitchen…

  16. dishofdailylife
    December 17, 2015 at 8:23 pm (10 months ago)

    This is stunning! What a lovely holiday cake! Sharing on my Facebook page in a little bit and sending lots of foodie love your way…as always, I am in awe. I sound like a broken record when I say that but every time I look at one of your recipes that is the way I feel. 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm (10 months ago)

      Ha ha! Thank you Michelle 🙂 and thank you for the shares!

  17. efwalt
    December 18, 2015 at 8:50 pm (10 months ago)

    I don’t know where to begin with this?! The flavours, the decoration its just all amazing. A great twist on a classic 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you! 🙂

  18. FABBY
    December 19, 2015 at 3:39 am (10 months ago)

    This Christmas cake looks awesome !!! Thank you for sharing.
    Merry Christmas and many blessings.

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Fabby 🙂 Have a lovely Christmas!

  19. Sarah
    December 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm (10 months ago)

    Oh heavens, you’ve done it again. This is absolutely beautiful. Right on trend with the rustic decorations, but so elegantly done. Really wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope you have a lovely festive season!

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:11 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Sarah, I was really pleased with the decorations, and they are so easy to do! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas 🙂

  20. Alison's Wonderland Recipes
    January 4, 2016 at 11:33 pm (10 months ago)

    I just found your blog through the Baked Creations group page on Pinterest, and I’m drooling over your recipes. They’re gorgeous! The cakes especially! I love how you sugared some of the decorations on this cake to make them look like they’re covered in frost. 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      January 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Alison! Making frosted fruits for decorations is so simple to do but they look really beautiful 🙂

  21. Helen at Casa Costello
    January 6, 2016 at 7:55 pm (10 months ago)

    So pretty! You astound me. Wishing you a very Happy New Year – Hope you have had an excellent start to 2016. New Bake of the Week roundup now open x

  22. plasterers bristol
    February 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm (8 months ago)

    These are delicious. Thanks for sharing.



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