Not a Funny-Fruit Cake

Raisin Cherry Fruit Cake

Fruitcake. Dark, moist, dense, boozy, studded with colorful ‘funny fruit’. Inevitably fruitcakes are the brunt of re-gifting jokes.  Not this fruitcake! It’s chock full of sunshine raisins, bright maraschino cherries, and crunchy walnuts. Nothing funny!

Original recipe circa 1960’s.

This is the fruitcake I grew up knowing, and never understood the distasteful reputation of fruitcakes.  I have a yellowed copy of the recipe my mother clipped probably in the early ‘60’s from Good Housekeeping magazine. She adapted the recipe to a loaf pan from the original Bundt pan, to simplify gifting, for which there was always a raucous rally of bartering to keep the cake not pass it off at our family gift exchanges! She also swapped some of the natural raisins in the original recipe for goldens, to offset a little sweetness and add color.  Thanks Mom – we think of you with every fruitcake.  🙂
Recipe adapted by Rosemary Mark, Photo by Kelly Burgoyne Photography

Raisin-Cherry Fruit Cake

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5 from 1 vote

Not a Funny-Fruit Cake

The sweetness in this cake is from natural and golden raisins, and maraschino cherries. Lots of walnuts round it off for a cake I think is irresistable even if you think you don't like fruitcake!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 24 thin slices


  • 1 jar 16 ounces stemmed maraschino cherries, drained (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups natural raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided use
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs


  • Preheat oven to 300ºF.  Coat two 9×5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
  • Cut each cherry in half. Pat cherries completely dry on paper towels. Place cherries, raisins and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss lightly with 1/4 cup of the flour. Set aside.
  • Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy in another large bowl.  Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Gradually beat in remaining flour, mixing until smooth.  Gently stir in fruit and nuts.  Divide between prepared pans. Pans will be about 1/2 full.
  • Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Slice in 1/4-inch slices to serve. Cake slices easier when chilled. 
    To store: Wrap un-sliced loaf tightly in foil and plastic wrap and store up to 3 months in refrigerator. Slice thin and serve cold or room temperature.


Food Trivia
  What is a maraschino cherry?  A maraschino cherry is a varietal that originated in Croatia.  For centuries the fruit was brined then preserved in the maraschino liquor that was distilled from the cherries and pits. Today, Queen Anne or Ranier are used to make the bright red jarred cherries that are first brined in a salt solution to leach the color, then soaked in a colored sugar syrup – FDA approved red, green or other colors  – and usually flavored with a little almond.


4 thoughts on “Not a Funny-Fruit Cake”

  • Love it, reminds me of our ‘go to fruit cake known as ‘Oxford Lunch’ fruit cake. Lighter than our normal heavy fruit cake at Christmas. We use almonds instead of walnuts.

  • 5 stars
    Merry Christmas, Rosie. Just saw this post and had to laugh. I have gathered my ingredients and will be making this fruitcake this week, at least will make the first batch :-). Can you suggest cooking times for those I bake in either mini bundt pans or mini loaf pans? Don’t want to over bake them. I’ve got my own pink recipe clipping from Good Housekeeping.

    • Hi Judy! So great to hear from you. I wondered if you were baking this recipe again! I have not baked in mini Bundt or mini loaf. My suggestion is to check at 30-40 minutes. The pick, the color and the aroma can be your guide. Let me know if you what the times turns out to be. Thanks for your note, and happy holidays 🙂

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