I haven’t posted for a few weeks and my Irish guilt is gnawing at me! So it’s back to business as “that time of year,” aka “the holidays,” is fast approaching. I’ve already started plumping my fruit for the several varieties of fruitcake that I make, but not for this one because the fruit is boiled! I’ve had the recipe for many years and love it now as much as ever. The original recipe called for Bushmills, Northern Ireland's famous brand, but you can substitute another whiskey if you don't have Bushmills. You’ll find this and other holiday recipes in my cookbooks Christmas Flavors of Ireland and Favorite Flavors of Ireland, both available on my website, www.irishcook.com.

Bushmills Boiled Fruitcake

Makes 1 large or 4 to 5 small loaves

This fruitcake is an interesting one because the dried and candied fruits are cooked with butter, brown sugar, and crushed pineapple before being mixed with the batter. The technique produces a very moist cake. 

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

8 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 cups golden raisins

1/2 cup candied cherries, chopped

1/2 cup candied mixed peel

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Mixed Spice or pumpkin pie spice (See Note.)

2 large eggs, beaten

2 to 3 tablespoons Bushmills Irish whiskey


1. In a large saucepan, combine the pineapple, butter, sugar, raisins, cherries, and mixed peel. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

2. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan or 4 to 5 (3-inch) mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir into fruit mixture and then stir in beaten eggs. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s) and bake large cake for 60 to 75 minutes (test with a skewer at 55 minutes), or mini loaves for 50 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Prick top of each cake in several places and drizzle with whiskey while still warm. Remove cake(s) from pan and let cool completely. Wrap cake(s) in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for 1 to 2 months.

Note: To make Mixed Spice, put 1 tbsp. coriander seeds, 1 crushed cinnamon stick, 1 tsp. whole cloves, and 1 tsp. allspice berries in a spice or coffee grinder. Process until finely ground. Add 1 tbsp. nutmeg and 2 tsp. ginger. Mix thoroughly by hand. Store in an airtight container. 


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Tags: Cooking, Cuisine, Desserts, Food, Menus, Vernacular Ingredients, recipes


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