The Houseman Fruitcake Recipe

This version of this classic is anything but a punchline
46 Ratings
67% would make again
Best Fruitcake Recipe with Rum & Ginger
Photo: Jean Schwarzwalder

Any cake that's more rum than flour is our kind of dessert. That's where this fruitcake enters stage left, with a spotlight shone by chef Ned Baldwin, of NYC's Houseman. He calls it "the only, last fruitcake recipe," with stats to back up the claim: It sells out online in just a few days every year. This recipe is the result of a lot of research on Baldwin's part, and is a fragrant spiced cake speckled with jewels of cherries, orange peel and ginger. Note that you'll want to let the cherries and rum sit together for a few hours before baking, so plan ahead., and is anything but a punchline.

The Houseman Fruitcake Recipe

Recipe adapted from Ned Baldwin, Houseman, New York NY

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 4 hours inactive

Cook Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus 4 hours inactive


¾ cup dark rum

⅔ cup dried cherries

1¼ cups whole walnuts

⅓ cup finely chopped candied orange peel

¼ cup finely chopped candied ginger

1 cup plus 1½ tablespoons sugar

10½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan

¼ cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)

1 large egg

⅓ cup plus 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice    


1. Combine the rum and cherries in a small bowl and let stand for at least 4 hours, or overnight if you prefer. Drain the cherries, reserving the rum, and transfer to a bowl along with the walnuts, candied orange and candied ginger.

2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream ½ cup plus 1½ tablespoons of the sugar with the butter and molasses on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and continue mixing until combined, about 30 seconds. Turn the mixer off, scrape the paddle and bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then mix for 15 seconds until smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the pepper, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until almost combined. Add the walnuts and dried fruit and mix until completely incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes.

4. While the cake is baking, combine ½ cup of the reserved rum with 1 tablespoon water and the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the cake is done, transfer the pan to a rack and brush with all of the rum syrup. Let the cake cool completely, then remove from the pan and serve, or wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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