Joyce's Brazil Nut Fruit Cake

Our Antique Club held their annual Christmas fête last week. Joyce and Thom opened their smashing home (or casita, as they call it) to our group and Christmas was everywhere you looked. The home was recently featured in Palm Beach Illustrated and here's a photo of their dining room table from that issue...just to give you a little taste of how beautifully their home was decorated for the holidays. I should have taken some photos that night for this post, but thoroughly enjoyed myself among friends instead. 

Joyce is also a chef extraordinaire and had placed a small plate of her homemade fruit cake out on a (pine cone-decorated) counter in the kitchen. Now I am the first one to say: I am NOT a fruit cake aficionado. Those brick-shaped, brandy-soaked cakes loaded with candied fruit are not for me. I used to make them too....gave them as gifts to everyone! (Mea culpa to all who received them in the 60's and 70's and groaned when they saw them coming!) A friend of my mother's, Martha Kirby, gave me the recipe. For those of you who do love old fashioned fruit cakes, I apologize, but I have to be up front here. I am not one of you. And even though I made them for many years, not once did I ever taste one. But my mother said Martha's recipe was to die for. Oh well, sorry, but you're not going to see that old recipe on this blog.

So when Joyce asked us to taste, I was skeptical (those cherries looked suspiciously like candied cherries to me), but I must admit, the slice itself didn't resemble Martha Kirby's fruit cake one bit. And Joyce assured us: "trust me, this isn't like any fruitcake you've ever had. No candied fruit, lots of nuts and it's really special." So we all tried it and she was right. The cake is light and the crunch of the nuts a nice counter to the fruit and cake. I think you might like it too and since Joyce was sweet enough to share the recipe, I hope you have a chance to give it a try.

Joyce's Brazil Nut Fruit Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup white sugar 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 cups Brazil nuts (I suggest 2 1/2 cups of nuts and imagine you could substitute macadamia nuts if you prefer.) 
1 pound pitted dates (I used less)
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained 
3 large eggs, room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  (I used vanilla bean paste)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9x5 inch loaf pan or three 3½ x 5 inch pans. (I used two 3 1/2 by 7 1/2 pans. I also lined the pan with parchment paper and lightly sprayed it with Pam. So much simpler to get out.)
Mix the flour, white sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the nuts, dates, and cherries in flour mixture. (You'll find it easier to do all the mixing with your hands)
Beat the eggs until foamy add the vanilla. Pour the beaten eggs over the nut, fruit and flour mixture. Mix with your hands until combined. Transfer to the prepared pan/pans, pressing down slightly.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator or freeze. Cakes like this are easier to cut after refrigeration. Use a sharp knife.


  1. A delightfully festive treat!



  2. Wow..what a table!

    I am nut a fruitcake nut either..But a friend at work..years ago..gave me her cepie and it really is delicious..Thing is you ahve to start in Nov and I was away..and it's a large recipe..this looks and sounds good and the quantity seems ok too..
    I am willing to Pin and try one day..maybe not this yr..the ings..I am missing a few..:)

  3. I love fruit cake, the richer and moister the better. The best one I have made is James Villas's Southern version, which soaks in bourbon-imbued cloths for years before you eat it!

  4. beautiful and delicious Barbara!!xxx

  5. What a treat to be in a home like that. Love your fruitcake. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  6. What gorgeous holiday fruit bread!

  7. How fun to visit her home. It must b spectacular. I haven't eaten fruitcake in years. I made a "light" version one year and liked it very much. I would be delighted to try a piece of Joyce's fruitcake with all of the crunchy nuts.

  8. I would love a peek at that home. But the fruitcake recipe is almost just as good. I love all of the nuts in it.

  9. I would much prefer this nuttier fruitcake to traditional fruitcake! I'm not big on that candied fruit AT ALL.

  10. What a fun evening! I'm one of those strange people who loves fruitcake and I think this recipe looks delicious. My mother always liked to add Brazil nuts to her cakes and give them a good splash of rum a time or two before the holidays. Optional of course.

  11. That is one amazing looking fruitcakes, chock full of goodies. I'd love to try some with a bit of cheese (cheese and fruitcake are completely fabulous together).
    I hope you are enjoying your weekend.
    *kisses* H

  12. Barbara,
    You know, some people don't like the traditional fruit cake, but I have always loved it. The Brazil Nut Fruit Cake looks delicious. Jess is the baker in the family, and I'll have to tell her about this recipe. It looks delightful, thank you for sharing.

    Enjoy the Christmas season!


  13. Sounds like a great holiday party, and the fruit cake looks delicious with the big pieces of dates and nuts! I've never attempted a fruit cake, but I feel like I need to make one some day.

  14. Wow. That almost looks too pretty to eat.

  15. This does look really good---and not too difficult. Oh to the sins of fruitcakes past! I have this long persistent dream that SOMEDAY I will make Laurie Colwin's famous Black Cake, with rich rum soaked fruits and Jamaican spices. Maybe next year...

  16. this is a really unique fruit cake! the colors are so festive--nice to see those cherries serving a purpose. :)



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