Moist Applesauce Fruitcake

Yeah, I know, I’ve heard how fruitcake is nasty—a hiss and a by-word, the butt of holiday jokes. However, when I was young, it was quite edible—depending. There is hardly anyone under 40 who has even tasted one.

This one is good, if you like that sort of thing. I do. I’m a huge fan of well prepared banana nut bread. This has nuts in spades. It’s moist, but you’d never know there is applesauce in it. It’s just a fruitcake, only good-tasting.


1 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
½ cup dried apples, finely chopped
½ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisons
1 cup flour
1 cup butter, cubed
2 cups sugar (up to 1 cup brown if desired)
2 eggs
2 cups applesauce
2 tsp vanilla, rum extract or combination
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg, ground
1 tsp cloves, ground
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1½ cups flour


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Pre-butter and flour a large ring or wreath cake (bundt) pan.

2. Effectuate the mise en place* of all ingredients according the groups established by the list above. Mix the first set together in a big bowl and the last set together in another bowl.

Notice that you mix 1 cup of flour with the first set of (nuts, candied fruit, etc.) to keep them from clumping together and another 1½ cups of flour separately (for a recipe total of 2½ cups of flour).

3. Cream butter and sugar well, add eggs, then applesauce and vanilla/rum.

4. Combine the flour and spice mixture into the bowl containing butter, eggs and applesauce. This may begin to ignite the baking soda, so don’t fall asleep on this instruction. Proceed to the next instruction.

5. Fold nuts and fruits into the rest of the batter and pour immediately into the cake pan and then put it in the oven. Bake for at least 60 minutes or until caramelizing (browning) nicely (and darkly) on top and you can insert and withdraw a toothpick cleanly. At my (higher) altitude, I found 70 minutes to be about perfect.

6. Cool while you trim the rough edges around, cover with a plate (the plate you wish to serve it from), then up-end it and remove the pan from the cake. Cool completely. If you eat it within a couple of days, you will not need to cover it (even in a dry, Utah climate) as it’s arguably better as it loses some of its moisture.

You can decorate this if you wish. I eat it as is with a tall glass of cold milk; you could try a very light sprinkling of powdered sugar.

* mise en place: prepare all ingredients in suitable bowls, plates, etc. set out so that once you begin, you aren’t searching the cupboards for anything.

I make five at once

The mise en place of spices...
Mixing fruit and nuts to set aside...
The fruit and nuts are "powdered"
with flour...
The mise en place is almost complete
for five cakes; I will finish by parceling
out bowls of flour, sugar, appesauce, etc.