Fruit Bundt Cake uses dried fruit for a light, dramatic-looking cake with glace icing. Perfect if you want a special fruit cake without marzipan and icing.
I love a Bundt Cake and have a small, but increasing, collection of Bundt tins. I also love fruit cake, but there aren't many recipes around for bundt cakes using dried fruit. So after much experimenting, here is my Fruit Bundt Cake recipe.
You could make this a bundt Christmas Cake, if you want a light fruit cake without marzipan or thick icing, but this cake is good at any time of year.
Key Ingredients in Fruit Bundt Cake
Any mixture of dried fruit that you like is good in this cake. I've used raisins, dried apricots and cherries because that's what's in my cupboard at the moment. Keep the total amount to 300g.
If you're using glace cherries you don't need to wash them because the fruit will be soaked in brandy or fruit juice before it goes into the cake.
Orange Juice & Orange Extract
The orange juice can be out of a bottle or freshly squeezed - if you really want to (sometimes I do and sometimes I just want the cake made!)
Orange Extract has a concentrated orange flavour, which adds to the orange juice. If you don't have any extract, use the grated zest of an orange.
Secrets of Success
Butter and eggs at room temperature
If you forget to take the butter out of the fridge, warm it on defrost in the microwave for 30 sec at a time, but stop before it starts to melt.
Eggs can be put in a bowl of warm water - not hot or they might start to cook. And, you need large eggs for this recipe.
Greasing the tin properly
I haven't ever had a cake sticking in a Bundt tin. I attribute that to a meticulous routine and Cake Release Spray. In theory, you can use melted butter or oil and flour to get the same result, and if you know this works for you, then fine. But I haven't tried it and I shan't bother because the spray does the job perfectly!
Before you get to that though, your tin must be scrupulously clean. That means hot water and dishwashing liquid and a tiny brush to get into all the crevices. Ideally, you will have done that last time you used the tin, but do check again.
Once you are satisfied the tin is clean and thoroughly dry (use a low oven if necessary), spray all over, again right into the crevices, with the Cake Release Spray. Then put the tin upside down on the draining board so that the oil drains out and doesn't accumulate in the points. Err on the side of over-spraying as the excess will drain off.
To ice or not to ice?
The choice is yours. I've seen similar cakes to this with a buttercream frosting, but that rather spoils the lines of the cake, which for me is the point of making a Bundt cake - to demonstrate that you got it out of the tin intact.
Of course, if you didn't get it out of the tin in one piece, a buttercream frosting is ideal as it will hide the evidence.
If you're in a hurry or don't like icing, just sift some icing sugar over and the cake will still look stunning.
Icing the Fruit Bundt Cake with glace icing
For this shaped cake a little glace icing, made thin enough to drizzle but thick enough not to run straight off, is my preference. It shows off the shape of the cake quite simply.
If the icing isn't the right consistency when you put it on, adjust it until it feels right. If you use hot water to make the icing it will need leaving the icing in the bowl for 5 minutes to thicken slightly before you use it.
What else do you need to make a Fruit Bundt Cake?
Bundt tins are made to hold a specific volume of mixture, typically 6, 8, 10, or 12 cups. This translates approximately as 1.5 litres, 2 litres, 2.5 litres or 3 litres, which doesn't help much if you are converting a UK recipe. A 20cm (8-inch) deep round cake tin holds about 2.5 litres.
Unlike British cake tins, you can't tell the size of a Bundt tin by its diameter. All mine are the same size when you measure them across the top, but the amount of cake mixture that they need is very different.
My tins are all Nordic Ware bundt tins. They are expensive but will become family heirlooms as they are so robust. The design you choose doesn’t matter, but make sure the size is right. You need a 2.5-litre or 10-cup cake tin for this recipe.
The tin I've used is a Heritage Bundt Tin. Just be aware when buying that the same design can come in different sizes, so choose the one you want or adapt the recipe.
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Fruit Bundt Cake
For the Cake:
- 300 g mixed dried fruit
- 75 ml brandy or orange juice
- 175 g butter at room temperature
- 350 g caster sugar
- 400 g plain/all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, (5ml)
- 1 teaspoon orange extract, (5ml)
- 150 ml orange juice
- Pinch of salt
For the Glace Icing:
- 100 g icing sugar
- Hot water
Prepare the fruit:
- Quarter the cherries and roughly chop large fruit, e.g. dates, dried apricots
- Soak the fruit in water/tea/brandy overnight OR Heat in the microwave on MEDIUM for 3 minutes in total, stirring once or twice. Then heat on HIGH for 30 seconds. Leave to stand for 30 minutes if possible - longer is fine
Prepare the tin:
- Put a baking sheet in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ gas mark 4/ 350°F
- Grease the Bundt tin with the spray. Spray evenly over all the surfaces, right into all the points.If you have a non-spray version or are using oil, use kitchen paper and/or a pastry brush to get into all those crevices
- Leave the tin upside down over the sink to stop the oil accumulating in the bottom
Make the cake:
- Put all the ingredients, except the fruit, into a food processor, mixer bowl or large mixing bowl and blitz until mixed(Butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, spice, orange juice)
- Scrape down and mix again. Add the fruit and its liquid and mix gently with a spoon until it's all incorporated
- Pour the mixture into your tin and smooth the top
- Place the tin on the pre-heated baking sheet and cook for 60-80 minutes (1 hr - 1 hr 20mins). The cake will be well-risen and golden. Check after an hour by pushing a skewer in. If the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, re-test after 10 more minutes
- Leave in the tin for about 30 minutes. Then gently push the cake away from the edges of the tin. If the cake has a domed top, you may want to level it off with a sharp knife so that it sits flat
- Put a wire rack over the top of the cake and turn upside down. The cake should slide out of the tin
- Leave until cool to optionally ice.
For the Glace Icing:
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add 1 tablespoon (15ml) hot water from the kettle. Mix well until you have a thickish consistency. Add more water if necessary. You want the icing to drizzle but not run away
- Drizzle the icing over the cake - using the contours of the cake as a guide. If necessary add a second or third layer of icing.