Five-Spice Powder Fruit Cake

From “The Old Farmer’s Everyday Baking Almanac”

Here’s Ken Haedrich’s alternative for “traditional” holiday fruitcake. It’s light in both color and crumb, well-proportioned with dried fruit, nuts and a dash of rum, and enticingly spiced.

1 cup diced, dried pineapple
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup light or gold rum
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest or orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


At least 1 hour before you start baking, combine the pineapple, raisins, nuts, ginger, rum and zest in a large bowl. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

While the fruit soaks, combine the flour, baking power, salt and five-spice powder in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

About 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, and line the bottom and two long sides with parchment paper, if desired. Set aside.

Combine the milk and cottage cheese in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high, cream the butter in a large bowl, gradually adding the sugar and beating to blend. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat on low to blend. Using a wooden spoon, add one third of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and stir until evenly combined. Add half of the milk mixture and stir to blend. Repeat, ending with the remaining dry ingredients. Fold the fruit mixture into the batter until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon.

Bake on the center oven rack for 60 to 70 minutes, until a tester inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely. Makes 12 or more servings.

Ken Haedrich, a former New Hampshire resident and “dean” of The Pie Academy, offers a wide range of instruction for baking pies of all sorts in his cookbooks and online video classes. He was tapped by “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” in 2012 to provide 118 delicious recipes for their “Everyday Baking,” which is now out of print, but available on various sources online.

Categories: Recipes