Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake

by Eva Felis on November 29, 2012

Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake

Believe me or not, but November is almost over. Like every year December will arrive sooner as expected and with that the holiday season will officially start.  I would like to tell you, I got all my gifts for my loved ones, wrapped and ready to go. But that’s only half the truth and the other half is a lie. Don’t get me wrong, I think Christmas is not all about that, but I love to pick presents. At least I got my Christmas tree up and good lord that is a wonder.

For me the most precious gifts are chosen with heart and care or even better they are handmade. Although I baked this fruitcake just for me and I won’t share if I don’t have to. This Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake makes an excellent gift, especially if you want to ship it. Actually it is more like a bread and stays nicely in shape. The best part, it gets even more delicious, when it sits or travels for a few days. It is a very traditional recipe, at least before I laid my hands on it. As I love to bake at least one fruitcake every season, I tweaked it a little bit every time and more for a German recipe unusual ingredients sneaked in. I switched hazelnuts and almonds for walnuts but pecans will also work just fine.  As for the dry fruit part, I skipped candied lemon peel and added lime zest to balance the sweetness of the fruits. Be creative with your dried fruit choices, I usually add figs and/or dates but run out of them and I had to use up those dried plums sitting in my pantry for too long (even for dried plums). The dried cranberries in company with dried apricots add a little color and different flavors. Mix and match but you should have 600 g / 21.2 oz. all together at the end. If you like and you have time for that, let them sit in a little booze like rum, amaretto or Cointreau over night or a couple of hours. I like my slice of Früchtebrot with some salted butter or cream cheese, but that’s maybe just me?

Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake

Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: German
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 110 g / ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g / ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150 g / 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 250 g / 8 ¾ oz. dried plums, chopped
  • 50 g / 1 ¾ oz. dried golden raisins
  • 100 g / 3 ½ oz. dried cranberries
  • 200 g / 7 oz. dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. Cointreau (optional)
  • grated zest of one lime
  • 225 g / 8 oz. chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F. Grease and line a loaf pan 23 cm / 9 x 5 inch with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter, brown sugar and maple syrup or honey at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add eggs and continue beating.
  4. Add flour mix and beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Spread evenly in prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.


Früchtebrot, German Christmas Fruitcake

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Lover of chocolate and vegetables, Atlantan by choice and German by birth

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  1. This sounds like a very tasty recipe! Also being German I have to admit that till now I have never made a fruitcake by myself. But this might by changed now…. :)
    Thank you for sharing this recipe and have a great weekend!

  2. Hat geklappt und kaum fertig, ist auch schon die Hälfte weg. :-)

  3. Beautiful fruitcake! Bookmarking it and pinning it! I love traditional European recipes for Christmas (and not only) :).

  4. My grandma used to make beautiful fruitcake. She cooked a little
    Southern, a lot German. It has been a hole in my heart, since
    she died..and I got a whole lot older. I’ve tried a few half-hearted
    fake versions on my own since then; but I guess my soul just needs
    to do the real thing. I will try your recipe, and hope for memories.
    The recipe sounds easy.. and I suspect the 3 day wait, won’t be.

    • Hello Mark,
      good old home cooking is often the best and I guess especially at Christmas time we crave traditional food, which is full of memories.
      This recipe is really easy and I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Thanks for sharing the recipes for Fruchtebrot and the german cookies. While traveling in Germany and Austria at Christmas this year, we were told the original gingerbread cookies were not made with ginger as the world “ginger” originally meant spice cookie with ginger becoming an ingredient later. Is there a traditional Germany/Austrian gingerbread cookie recipe w/o ginger? In Austria, we saw a demo for making gingerbread dough that would hold up to a year before baking. Peggy

    • Hello Peggy!
      Christmas time is great for traveling to Germany, although very cold… 😉 I hope you had a good time!
      You are right, there are a lot of spices in traditional Lebkuchen, ginger is not always one of them. In Germany you get already mixed spice blends for Lebkuchen, like curry powder it’s a blend not a spice on it’s own (although the name says so). Like every Italian nana has her own spaghetti recipe, there are as many spice mixes for Lebkuchen.
      Ingredients are: zest of orange and lemon, star anise, nutmeg, mace, cardamon, cinnamon, clove, coriander, pearlash, allspice and… ginger. Use some of them or all and mix and find the right one for you. You can use it to spice up your coffee or cakes like pound cakes. I love the combination with cherries.
      Sorry there is not just one recipe for traditional Lebkuchenkekse (gingerbread cookies), I should post one next Christmas season. Lebkuchen is often used as building material for gingerbread houses.
      I remember one of my friends grandma used to make the dough already in fall (I think late September) and store it in a colder place for month before baking.

  6. This is fabulous!! I made it for my husbands staff and they loved it. I brought one home from our trip to Germany this fall and it’s a heads on. Ours may have had anise in it but this is worth every minute to make!!! Thank you so much for posting the recipe.

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  1. […] Früchtebrot may be a mouthful to pronounce, but at least it will be a mouthful of delicious cake. This German treat goes great with a little butter or cream cheese. (via 1 Big Bite) […]