Light and Lemony Fruitcake

Mini sweet-tart fruitcakes make the perfect gifts.

leom mini fruitcakes

Want to be especially popular this holiday season? Want to skip all of that “what do I buy for everyone” anxiety? Want a gift that’s easy, can be prepared this weekend, and is perfect for both your boss and your mother? I have the answer. Fruitcake. No, not just any fruitcake, but these mini light and lemony fruitcakes.

Ok, so I get that most people hate fruitcake. But that’s because most people have never had the real, homemade version. Close your eyes and picture light, tender cake. Cake with tangy dried apricots, sweetened cranberries, and just a touch of ginger. Cake all wrapped in brandy or limoncello goodness. Wouldn’t you want that under your tree? Yeah. Your gift recipients do too. Luckily this fruitcake is easy to make.  Prepare it now for giving over the holiday season.

How to Make a Tasty Fruitcake, Not a Door Stop

The key to a really good fruitcake is to use mostly dried fruit, not store-bought candied fruit. For this particular version I used a combination of yellow raisins and dried apricots, peaches, cranberries and apples. You could also use currents, pineapple, mango, candied cherries, candied quince or candied lemon peel.

Orange or apple juice are good non-alcoholic options. I usually soak some cakes in brandy and some in orange juice, so the grandchildren can enjoy the cakes too. Yes, the kids eat the fruitcake. It’s really that good.

Don’t be tempted to leave the candied ginger out. Ginger and lemon are flavor buddies that really work here. In fact, you can even use ginger brandy to soak the fruit. Yummmmm.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Light and Lemony Fruitcake
Mini sweet-tart fruitcakes make the perfect gifts.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 7 mini cakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 cups dried fruit
  • 1 Tbsp candied ginger
  • 2 Tbsp brandy, limoncello, or orange juice
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts
  • Additional brandy, limoncello or orange juice
  1. In a small bowl combine the dried fruit, candied ginger and brandy, limoncello or orange juice. Stir to combine, cover and let sit at room temperature overnight.
  2. The next day, beat the butter in a large bowl with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add milk and lemon juice. Mixture may look like it is curdled – don’t worry!
  3. Add flour and baking powder and beat until just smooth. Stir in dried fruit mixture and nuts.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spoon batter into 7 large, greased muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until done, (toothpick should come out clean). Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely.
  6. Cut 7 pieces of cheesecloth large enough to wrap each fruitcake. Soak cheesecloth in the additional brandy, limoncello or orange juice. Wrap each cake with soaked cheesecloth and then wrap each in aluminum foil.
  7. Store wrapped cakes in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Check about once a week. If cheesecloth dries out, re-soak and re-wrap. The longer the cakes soak, the more their flavor intensifies. When ready to present the gift, remove the cheesecloth and wrap cakes in plastic wrap.

Interested in other fruitcake recipes?

See some of my other favorites:

Chocolate Hazelnut Fruitcake

Spiced Orange Fruitcake


by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

November 2, 2016

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  1. Helen

    That lemony fruitcake sounds great! I’m going to definitely make it. The chocolate one sounds delish, too….thanks for the great recipes!

    • admin

      Thanks Helen. It’s so much fun to make the little fruitcakes. Sometimes I get carried away and make 6 or 7 different kinds. All of them are great!




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