Recipe: Chocolate-Drizzled Fruit Cake

Anne Levay-Krause

Anne Levay-Krause › Anne Levay-Krause is a food writer, advocate and photographer, Captain for NOFA-NY's 2011 and 2012 Buffalo Locavore Challenges, ...


Fruit cake is a major hallmark of the holiday season, but it can be a rather unpredictable dessert. It’s either rock-hard and filled with technicolored “fruits,” or it’s tender, moist and juuuuust the right amount of boozy. This fruit cake definitely falls into the latter category.

Here is my award-winning, chocolate-drizzled Grand Marnier fruit cake!

I competed in Ghirardelli’s 1998 chocolate competition, and the judges were very impressed. I took third place!

This recipe only uses unsulphured dried fruits. Real fruit, a light, moist, citrus-blasted cake, and a cap of orange Grand Marnier chocolate on top. You’ll be the talk of the town with this cake!

For the Cake

Mince 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup currants, 1/4 cup sun dried cranberries, 1/4 cup sun dried blueberries, 1/4 cup sun dried unsulphured figs, 1/4 cup dried unsulphured apricots, 4 tbls candied ginger, and the zest of one lemon.

1/4 cup orange marmalade and 1/4 candied orange marmalade

1 cup Grand Marnier

1 tsp each almond and vanilla extracts

1 cup sugar

5 ounces unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks)

1 cup freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice

4 whole cloves and 6 allspice berries, freshly ground (The pre-ground packaged spice works too, but fresh kicks this into high gear!)

1 tsp ground cinnamon and ground ginger

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1/4 orange chili pepper candied walnuts, minced

Brandy or cognac for basting

For the Topping

1 1/2 cups chocolate chipped or freshly cut from a slab, any variety and brand will do

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice


Combine dried fruits, candied ginger, zest, marmalade, candied orange marmalade, and Grand Marnier. Blend, cover and let it sit overnight or heat it on high for 5 minutes to re-hydrate the fruit.

Pre-heat oven to 365 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl blend the sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and butter together using the back of a spoon until will mixed. Add the juice and mix well. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the cooled fruits blend into this mix as well as the orange chili candied walnuts and stir well. Add the sifted flour, stirring until smooth. The consistency is like a thick pancake batter.

Scrape into a well oiled 10-inch non-stick loaf pan or large muffin tin. Put on the top rack with a pan with water underneath it and bake for 1 hour. Check by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste with brandy or cognac (This prevents the cake from cracking.) and allow it to cool completely before popping it out of its pan.

When the cake has completely cooled, make the topping. Warm the chocolate, orange juice, and Grand Marnier in a double boiler. Stir gently until completely melted and fully incorporated. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cake. Allow to cool and solidify and then cut and serve.

Have you ever made fruit cake before? What’s your favorite holiday baking recipe?

Photo Credit: Anne Levay-Krause

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