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Fruit Cake

Makes 12 servings

Fruit Filling

Spice Cake

Cream Cheese Frosting



  • 10 dried figs, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted dates (from about 5 dates)
  • 6 dried apricots
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/4 cup jam, such as blackcurrant, apple, or fig


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Finely chopped walnuts, as needed for garnish
  • Fresh figs, halved, as needed for garnish


  1. To prepare the fruit filling, combine the figs, cherries, dates, and apricots in a food processor. Pulse until the fruit is finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add the water and brandy. Stir to combine, then cover and set aside to soak for at least 1 hour. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid separately. Mix the soaked fruit with the jam, and set aside.
  2. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and walnuts, and toss to combine.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated between each addition. Add the orange zest.
  5. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla, finishing with the flour.
  6. Divide the cake batter between the prepared baking pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
  7. To prepare the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  8. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer, flat-side up, on a serving plate. Brush with reserved fruit soaking liquid. Top with the fruit filling and spread to the edges of the cake, leaving about 1/2-inch border uncovered. Top with the second cake layer, flat-side up. Brush the later with fruit soaking liquid (you won’t use it all).
  9. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting on the tops and sides of the cake. Use the long edge of the spatula to skim away excess frosting for a smooth surface, if you like. Garnish the top of the cake with walnuts and figs.

Copyright © 2019 The Culinary Institute of America

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