This Fresh Fruit Cake recipe is such a handy one to keep in your back pocket because It is the most adaptable cake ever! It is the best way to use up an abundance of any fruit, even if it’s past its prime. I have nicknamed it “compost cake”, because it is the most delicious last stop for all the random fruit you have lying around instead of having to throw it in the compost.
This was originally a plum cake recipe, and although the plum version is probably still my favourite, I’ve adapted it so you can make it with virtually any fruit, and it always works perfectly. It’s truly a miracle Fresh Fruit Cake.
Fresh Fruit Cake: The origin story
I originally fell in love with this cake while working in a farm shop in Scotland. It’s an amazing place called Loch Arthur in a tiny village called Beeswing. The Loch Arthur kitchen cranks out the most beautiful pies, soups, salads, scones (yep, the same scones I’ve written about) and cakes, like this one.
Because we grew most of our own produce, we often had an abundance of certain fruit. We often had to find creative ways to use things up. This Fresh Fruit Cake was a life saver in that kitchen. We relied on its flexibility when we had too many plums, too many apples (if there is such a thing) or other delicious odds and ends.
What makes this Fresh Fruit Cake so good?
There are so many reasons to love this cake.
- It’s ridiculously easy. I truly believe that no matter how hard you try, you will not screw it up.
- It’s super moist! The fruit to cake ratio in this recipe is almost 50/50, which makes it pretty much impossible to dry out and it actually manages to get better over time. Three days on the counter at room temperature and it’s still totally fruity, juicy and delicious.
- This cake is fancy enough to serve to friends at a dinner party, maybe with a little vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. (Or creme fraiche for ultra-fancy) But because it’s so fruit-forward, you can even get away with having it for breakfast with a spoonful of yogurt, or packing it in your kid’s lunch.
- Bonus: This cake is dairy free, which is handy when some of your friends are lactose intolerant.
- Flour – I like using a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, but if all you have is all-purpose, that works too.
- Eggs – I always use large eggs when baking
- Oil – Any neutral oil will do
- Sugar – A combination of white and brown
- Baking powder – For lift
- Baking soda – Also for lift
- Salt – Because every baking project is better with a pinch of salt
- Cinnamon – Although you can mix up the spices depending on your preferences
- Fresh fruit – The star of the show! You can use any combination of fruit for this cake
How to make this Fresh Fruit Cake
The process for making this cake could not be simpler.
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Whisk the wet ingredients
- Fold in the flour mixture followed by the chopped fruit.
- Tip the batter into a prepared pan, and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Endless Combinations Of Ingredients
I feel a bit weird even calling this a recipe. It’s so flexible that you can almost do whatever you want with it. What I’m giving you is a framework within which you can take in an endless number of directions based on what you like, and what you have on hand. Along with the endless fruit combinations, you can switch out the spices too. You can also top this cake with nuts, seeds, or other toppings to mix things up.
What fruit and spice combinations work well?
Here are a few ideas to kick things off and get your creative juices flowing:
- Plum and cinnamon – this is the classic version
- Apple and pear – with a sprinkle of oats on top
- Banana – you can add walnuts and/or chocolate chips too
- Pineapple – topped with a sprinkle of coconut
- Pears and fresh ginger – with sliced pears on top
- Grapes – this one is nice when you replace the cinnamon with rosemary, and use olive oil instead of vegetable oil
I find that sticking to one or two ‘showcase’ ingredients, like the combinations above, make the cake feel more sophisticated. But when all you have a few mushy bananas, a bruised apple, and a bag of frozen blueberries, you’ve got yourself a fruit cake. And a damn good one too!
You can include some dried fruit as well, but avoid using 100% dried fruit. Some raisins or dates are great, but the juiciness of this cake really comes from the fresh fruit. And I won’t even talk about candied fruits. Let’s not go there.
A few words on measuring techniques
Ok so I’m a humongous proponent of using a digital scale for baking. Using a scale means that I can easily use one bowl for recipes like this. My method is to mix with the wet ingredients in a large bowl, then set a sieve on top and weigh the dry ingredients into the sieve, zeroing out the scale after each addition. That way, the dry ingredients are being combined through the sifting process, alleviating the need for me to whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices in a separate bowl. All that being said, I have included both weight and cup measures in the recipe so don’t panic if you haven’t converted to team digital scale yet.
Loaves, Slabs, or Rounds. It’s Your Call.
You can bake this cake in almost whatever shape you want. For a slab cake, use an 8 x 12 brownie tin. For loaves, use two loaf pans. If you prefer a round cake, which is often a nice option if you’re entertaining guests, use two 8 inch round cake tins.
Note: I do not recommend you bake this recipe in muffin tins. It’s so juicy that the muffins don’t hold together that well.
I hope you find this cake as delicious and flexible as I do. Be sure to comment with your favourite combinations!
The Ultimate Fresh Fruit Cake (Works With Any Fruit!)
- 3 eggs
- 235 grams oil
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 150 grams light brown sugar
- 250 grams all purpose flour
- 120 grams whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 925 grams chopped fruit of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and sugars.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
- Fold in the fruit.
- Transfer the batter into your parchement paper lined pan. This recipe fits one 8 x 12 brownie tin, two round 8″ cake pans, or two loaf tins.
- Bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- This recipe was edited in Sept 2023 and now uses slightly less sugar than before. I find it is still sweet enough! For the previous version, use 200g of each sugar instead of 150g for a single batch of cake.