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Vintage Light Fruit Cake

An old-fashioned white fruit cake recipe that’s as delicious as it is beautiful! Fluffy, buttery sweet bread filled with flavorful bites of fruit and nut. It’s a holiday classic for a reason!

white fruit cake filled with fruit and nuts

White Christmas Fruit Cake

If there ever was a recipe that earned the title of “vintage” or “classic,” fruit cake is it! Fruit cakes have been served during the holidays or other celebrations, such as weddings, for centuries.

While they’ve gotten a bit of a bad rap, I think fruit cakes are tasty and beautiful too! The candied and dried fruits look like jewels and are incredibly festive! Many fruitcakes are pretty boozy, which can overpower the flavors of the cake and fruit. However, this recipe is not at all, so you can really enjoy the fluffy cake and pops of fruit flavor.

If you’re looking for a vintage holiday treat to serve that will look pretty on your party table AND be something that people actually eat, you’ve got to try this recipe!

Related: For another old fashioned holiday treat, try our Boozy Eggnog Recipe!

stack of fruit cake slices

What Does Fruit Cake Taste Like?

There is a lot of variation in what is packaged and sold as “fruit cake,” which is probably why it’s gotten a bad reputation! Many store-bought fruitcakes are tough, dry, and filled with sticky candy that doesn’t taste like fruit at all.

Traditional fruit cake should be moist and fluffy…NOT dry! If spirits are used (not a requirement), there will be a touch of that flavor to compliment the fruit and spice. Homemade fruit cake was created as an elegant, delicate dessert and it should taste that way!

What is the Difference between Light and Dark Fruit Cake?

One obvious difference between dark and light fruit cakes is color.

While the core of the recipes are similar, dark fruit cake involves the addition of ingredients that affect the color of the bread. In a dark fruit cake recipe, you’ll often see molasses, red wine, or jam — all of which will create a rich brown color in the finished dish.

A light fruit cake, also called white fruit cake, is much lighter in color. This allows the bright colors of the fruits and nuts to really shine!

colorful fruit cake

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White Fruit Cake Ingredients

Kitchen Tools Used

sliced light fruit cake

How to Make a Light Fruit Cake

Because we bake our fruitcake slow and low, you’ll want to allow yourself a couple hours to prepare this recipe. That being said, it’s incredibly easy!

First, mix together eggs, vanilla and butter in the bowl of your stand mixer. (Or in a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer)

Mix in the salt, baking powder and flour.

step by step photo collage showing how to make white fruit cake

Finally, add the fruits and nuts and mix until evenly distributed.

Scoop the batter into lined mini loaf tins and bake for 1 and 1/2 hours at 300°F.

freshly baked white fruit cake

How to Store Fruit Cake

Do not refrigerate. Instead, wrap each loaf individually and keep at room temperature. Enjoy within a week of baking.

Once sliced, you’ll want to use the fruit cake within a couple days.

You can also freeze for up to 6 months. Wrap each loaf in plastic wrap, then place inside a freezer storage bag.

fruit filled light fruitcake

White Fruitcake Recipe (Printable Copy)

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White Fruit Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 48 Servings
Calories 218kcal
Cost $8


  • 8 mini baking tins: 5 1/2” x 3 1/2” x 2”
  • Kitchen Aid (or equivalent stand mixer) or mix by hand
  • Parchment paper


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 pounds golden raisins
  • 1 pound pecans chopped
  • 9 oz crushed pineapple (with juice)
  • 9 oz maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries


  • Preheat oven to 300°F and line loaf pans with parchment paper.
  • Blend eggs, vanilla, sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add salt, baking powder, and flour and mix.
  • Mix in pineapple and juice, cherries, raisins, dried cherries, and pecans.
  • Fill the tins with fruit cake batter and spread to even the surface.
  • Bake at 300° for 1 1⁄2 hours. Start testing for doneness with 20 minutes left, to prevent over-cooking.


Nutrition info is an estimate only and may vary depending on exact ingredients used. Based on 6 servings per loaf, 8 mini loaves per recipe.


Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 138IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

Pin this Light Fruit Cake Recipe on Pinterest:

old fashioned light fruit cake

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  1. Mrs A Miller

    Can you make one large loaf If so how long do you bake it for?

    • Yes, you could make this as one loaf. I would keep an eye on it as you hit the 1 hour mark. It will take longer than the smaller loaves, perhaps up to 2 hours. Check it often to make sure!

  2. I just finished mixing this up and can’t wait see how it turns out ! There’s only one thing I want to point out. In your instructions you didn’t put when to mix the 2.5 cups of sugar. I know that you mix the sugar with the butter eggs and vanilla but for someone who wouldn’t know that it would be helpful. Not trying to be a know it all, really! Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃

  3. Can I sub candied fruit in the case?

  4. Can you cook fruit in a pound cake pan? If so, what temperature and for how long?

    • Hi Gina, I have not personally tried this, so I can’t say for sure. You may want to search on google for cake pan conversions to try this.

  5. I’m going to to try this,can’t wait.I’ve lost an old white fruit cake recipe that had coconut ,pecans,pineapple,marchino cherries,I think they were,it was sooo many years ago,do youal have something like that? Thanks

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