German Fruit Cake

This German Fruit Cake is a 70+ year old tried and true family recipe that has been passed on through the generations. A densely rich cake bursting with sweetened fruit and robust spices that is a must make recipe every Christmas season.

German fruit cake

Every year for Christmas my mother-in-law makes a fruit cake that she and her mother-in-law used to make. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of fruit cake, but this one I truly do love! In fact, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how much I ate this year!

Family History

This recipe comes from my husband’s grandma’s mother, who came to the USA from Germany. Just like my family, both are very rich in German heritage. (In fact, a fun little side note, my grandparent’s on my dad’s side managed one of Amling’s flower shops in Forest Park, IL, just outside of Chicago after my grandpa retired from teaching. My husband’s dad’s uncle was the General Manager for all of the Amling’s stores and would have known my grandparents! What a small world!)

Family Travels

For Christmas 2019, we took our little family of five to Germany (and Austria, France and London)! We had been so looking forward to our first Christmas in the new house after our cross country move, but with the lightning strike/fire, we weren’t able to live in it, so we used this as an opportunity to pull a Christmas With The Kranks and “skip Christmas”. It was a trip of a lifetime, full of memories that we will all cherish for forever!…especially now, with world travel bans, it truly was a blessing in disguise, that we now realize!

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This was the view from our room in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany! A cobblestone road town nestled in the mountains of Bavaria. Yep, I’d go back anytime!

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

So this year, now that we just moved back home, in the nick of time for Christmas, we are making the most of it and making it a very “family oriented” Christmas season. Full of hand-me-down family recipes, and spending time with the ones we love the most. … something that is so needed after a long and very trying 18 months.

Crock Pot Holiday Ham
Grandma’s Gingerbread Boy Cookies
Mom’s Classic Sugar Cookies
Christmas Breakfast Casserole
Mom’s Mini Cheesecakes

This year for Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law and daughter took their turns at making the very special fruit cake. It was one of the very first things to be baked in my new oven (that came the night before Thanksgiving!)

German Fruit Cake

Happy baking my friends! Wishing you the merriest of seasons filled with delicious hand-me-down family recipes!

German Fruit Cake
German Fruit Cake & Cherry Pie
German Fruit Cake

German Fruit Cake | Holiday Fruit Cake

Stephanie | Gathered In The Kitchen
A 70+ year old tried and true family recipe that has been passed on through the generations. A densely rich cake bursting with sweetened fruit and robust spices that is a must make recipe every Christmas season.
4.59 from 17 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
0 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine german
Servings 10 people
Calories 1071 kcal


  • 2 lbs candied mixed fruit
  • 1/2 lb red candied cherries
  • 1/2 lb green candied cherries
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, well drained (20oz)
  • 15.5 oz unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tsp baking soda, mixed into the applesauce)
  • 1 box seedless raisins (12oz)
  • 1/2 lb walnut meats
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 c flour


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Cream butter with electric mixer
  • Add sugar, cream well
  • Add spices and salt
  • Add eggs and beat well
  • Add the fruits, alternating with flour – the mixture will become VERY thick. You will need to switch to a heavy duty wooden spoon to mix
  • Stir in applesauce
  • Line tube pan or large bundt pan with wax paper
  • Fill pan 1/2 – 3/4 full
  • Bake around 3 hours, checking regularly around the 2 1/2 hour mark with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready
  • Let cool until you can carefully unmold the cake
  • *Optional: the original recipe calls for cherries and pineapple rings to be placed on top of the cake once it comes out of the oven. My mother-in-law does not do this
  • This recipe makes about 2 cakes! We baked 1 large bundt cake and 1 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan with this recipe


Calories: 1071kcalCarbohydrates: 222gProtein: 12gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 528mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 9gSugar: 138gVitamin A: 214IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 183mgIron: 6mg
Keyword bread, christmas dessert, fruit cake
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German Fruit Cake


  1. Hello,
    How big is the can of crushed pineapple and what size is the box of raisins?

    Thank you!

  2. This looks delicious. I am wondering if you can substitute the half pound of walnuts if you have a nut allergy?

  3. 5 stars
    Looks awesome. I was wondering if you could half the recipe..if you ever tried. My husband loves fruitcake and his family is from Germany. Thought I would give this recipe a try.

  4. Recipe sounds wonderful , but how do line a bundt pan with waxed paper ?

  5. 5 stars
    I’m not a fruitcake fan, but my mom is so I made this for her. I taste-tested it. This cake was delicious. I will definitely be making it again.

    1. I am so with you, Jeanette!!! I honestly am not a fan either…but I LOVE this fruit cake! It’s extra special to me because it’s a passed down recipe from my husband’s family!

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