Make Your Own Gifts – Lemon Chardonnay Fruitcake

Update: Although our Lemon Chardonnay Mix is no longer available you can still make this fruitcake. Simply replace the mix in the recipe with the following: 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 cup lemon juice.

It’s time to make fruitcake! Today we start a month-long “make your own gifts” series. The past year has reminded many people that the best gift is one lovingly made by hand. And what is more welcome during the holidays than fruitcake? No, not  store-bought, heavy-as-a-brick, sticky-sweet fruitcake, but a light, luscious, lemony cake full of dried fruits and pecans. There is still time to make this easy version for the fruitcake lover on your list.

As our base we used our tangy, Lemon Chardonnay Tea Cake Mix. (Order here for fast shipment!).

The tea cake mix is an all-natural combination of whole-wheat flour, unbleached flour, sugar, leavening, lemon peel and tangy lemon crystals.

Start with two cups of mixed dried (not candied) fruit. I used a combination of golden raisins, dried pineapple, dried apricots, dried cranberries, chopped dates and candied ginger. Add 8 ounces of chopped, candied cherries and 2 Tbsp of Chardonnay, brandy, cognac, or orange juice and 1 tsp vanilla to the fruit. Mix to coat all the fruit with the liquid and let macerate at room temperature overnight.

The next day, beat 8 Tbsp (1 stick) of softened butter with 3 eggs and 1/4 cup milk until fluffy. Add the Lemon Chardonnay Tea Cake mix and stir to combine. Stir in the macerated fruit and 1 cup of chopped pecans until well distributed throughout the batter.

Bake in a greased, 10 cup Bundt pan at 300 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until done (toothpick should come out clean).  Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and let completely cool.

Looks yummy doesn’t it? You could eat it right now, but fruitcake is one of those dishes that improves with age. So…..

Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to completely cover the fruitcake. Soak the cheesecloth in Chardonnay, brandy, cognac or orange juice. Wrap the fruitcake in the cheesecloth, then wrap the whole thing tightly in aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 1-4 weeks, re-soaking the cheesecloth and re-wrapping the cake every week or so.

When you are ready to present the gift, remove the cheesecloth and wrap the fruitcake in plastic wrap. Re-wrap with aluminum foil and top with a bow. All in all a pretty simple gift, but a unique gift also.

Even the fruitcake avoiders on your list will appreciate this present. Using dried fruit instead of a candied citron mixes lends the finished product a true fruit flavor, with just enough candied cherries to provide color and a bit of sweetness. The Lemon Chardonnay Tea Cake mix keeps the overall taste light and tangy. Soak the fruit in your favorite liquid, as the alcohol will cook out (I used cognac in the above version). However, if this present will be consumed by children stick to orange juice for soaking the whole cake.

This recipe would also lend itself well to a tropical fruit theme. Use a mixture of dried pineapple, papaya, mango,  and figs, and use chopped macadamia nuts instead of pecans. Either recipe is easy to make and tastes great!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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  1. […] recipe. If you are looking for an even lighter, more tropical fruitcake, see this recipe for Lemon Chardonnay Fruitcake posted several years ago on my other […]

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