Gone are the days of enjoying a fruitcake only once a year. Nowadays you can have a slice no matter what time of the year it is...did someone say Christmas in July?
Every fruitcake is unique to the baker making it, and everyone has their preference for the kinds of fruit, level of spiciness, overall crumb, and addition of alcohol that make for the perfect fruitcake. But, a few ingredients are consistent in almost every recipe. Most of the time, fruitcakes include cherries, dried fruit, pineapple, raisins, and candied citrus. If you've never had a fruitcake before, visions of dense, dry, or cloyingly sweet cakes might come to mind. But the good ones should never be dry or dense enough to throw like a rock. The best fruitcakes are just as moist and flavorful as your favorite banana bread.
With traditional fruitcakes available from all over the world, there's bound to be one you enjoy. Whether you're an enthusiast or testing the waters for the first time, here's a roundup of the best fruitcake options available for delivery all year round.
Eilenberger's Bakery World Famous Fruitcake
Available in four different sizes
Larger cakes available in attractive tin
Super moist classic recipe
Three out of the four sizes arrive as loaves
Eilenberger's Bakery, located in Palestine, Texas, claims to be the oldest in the Lone Star state. Its nationally renowned fruitcake is said to be the same recipe that the founder, Fred H. Eilenberger, brought to the states from Germany—and it's still working for them after more than 120 years in business. This particular fruitcake includes pecans, glacéed cherries, tropical pineapple, and golden raisins. It also arrives in a keepsake gift tin, illustrated with a classic Eilenberger's vignette.
Price at time of publish: $39
Sizes Available: 1.5, 2, 3, 4.5-pound cakes | Key Ingredients: Pineapples, pecans, cherries, raisins, malt, spices | Shipping Information: Fruitcakes are available year-round, and shipped weekly, Monday through Thursday, directly from Texas, for delivery every day except Sunday or Monday. Cost of shipping not included.
The Vermont Country Store Fruitcake Gift Sampler, Three 1-Pound Loaves
Includes 3 fruitcake styles
Alcohol and alcohol-free cakes included
Easy to store or freeze
More expensive option
Everyone who loves fruitcake has a favorite style, making it hard to please everyone if you're only bringing one fruitcake to the party. So The Vermont Country Store has made it easier to please everyone, by offering a 3-piece fruitcake sampler that includes a Chocolate Triple-Liquor Fruitcake, Traditional Triple-Liquor Fruitcake, and an Old English Fruitcake. The "triple-liquor" fruitcakes are infused with bourbon, rum, and brandy, while the Old English fruitcake is alcohol-free.
Each fruitcake comes in a 1-pound loaf and serves approximately 4 people. All of the cakes are made with glacé cherries, raisins, pineapple, pecans, and walnuts. The Traditional and Old English fruitcakes include almonds. According to The Vermont Country Store, these fruitcakes are shelf-stable for six months, longer in the refrigerator, and up to a year in the freezer. So even if you don't manage to try every flavor, you can savor the season straight through the year.
Price at time of publish: $70
Size Available: 3 1-pound loaves | Key Ingredients: glacé cherries, raisins, pineapple, pecans, walnuts, almonds, bourbon, rum, and brandy | Shipping Information: Fruitcakes are made and shipped via UPS standard, standard plus, express, and overnight shipping. Orders placed by noon ET will be shipped the same day, Monday through Thursday.
Gladys' Bakery Czech Pecan Fruitcake Loaf, 2 Pounds
Simple fruitcake ingredients
Attractive cherry and pecan decoration
More expensive for a smaller size
In the United States, most fruitcakes are also made with pecans, as pecans are native to the South. Not surprisingly, the fruitcake tradition is strongest in the South and throughout Texas. Cakes made with less fruit or at times of the year other than the holidays are often called "pecan cakes" instead of fruitcakes. The cakes are typically decorated with more fruit and nuts and generally don't need icing.
Gladys Farek founded her eponymous Texas bakery in 1972, initially baking as a hobby. Everything changed when she introduced her Czech Pecan Fruitcake, which is now the bakery's main attraction. The 2-pound loaf comes in a reasonable size to slice and share. It's also baked as a decorative round cake in multiple sizes or shaped like the state of Texas. The inventory of these fruitcakes rotates often, so occasionally, one size cake may be out of stock while other sizes are available.
Price at time of publish: $56
Sizes Available: 2, 3, 5, 10, and 25-pound cakes | Key Ingredients: Cherries, pineapple, pecans, rum flavoring, apricot glaze | Shipping Information: The price of shipping ranges from free to $10 when ordering a Gladys' fruitcake through Goldbelly, and deliveries are made weekly, Wednesday through Friday. Gladys' Bakery is located in Dubina, Texas, and ships nationwide.
Best Splurge Gift
Harry & David Generous Gourmet Hamper
Incredible variety of treats
Comes in a gorgeous gift basket
Great gift for large group of people
More expensive option
Fruitcake is terrific, but it isn't an incredibly flashy gift. If you're looking for a special edible gift at any time this year that includes a traditional fruitcake but also a diverse array of sweets and savory snacks, the Generous Gourmet Hamper from Harry & David has got everything you need to please every palate on the list.
Along with a 5-ounce traditional fruitcake, this gift basket includes vibrant California fruit like D'anjou pears and Granny Smith and Braeburn apples; rustic-style flatbread bites; Toscano salame; a creamy cheese dip—and of course, the sweeter fare such as chocolate covered cherries. It's all arranged in beautiful gift hamper that is no joke. This particular gift basket is available to ship year-round.
Price at time of publish: $245
Sizes Available: 5-ounce fruitcake | Key Ingredients: not specified | Shipping Information: This particular gift basket is available to ship now. Multiple shipping options are available, including overnight (with an optional Saturday delivery), 2- or 3-day express, and standard 4- to 7-business-day shipping. The cost of shipping is not included.
Best with Brandy
The Nuns of New Skete Brandied Fruitcake
Walnuts instead of pecans
Packed with a wide variety of fruits
A touch boozy
Not especially attractive
Yes, actual nuns make these fruitcakes. The nuns of the New Skete Monasteries in Cambridge, New York, are famous for their New York cheesecake, but their fruitcakes aren't to be missed either. While maybe not as flashy as the other fruitcakes, the nuns' fruitcake is known for its exceptional moistness and traditional ingredients.
These classic fruitcakes are packed with raisins, pineapple, dates, Seville orange peels, cherries, currants, and walnuts. The cakes have also been baked with brandy for a little extra flavor without soaking the cake in raw alcohol.
Price at time of publish: $50
Sizes Available: 2-pound cake | Key Ingredients: Raisins (golden and dark), pineapple, dates, Seville orange peel, walnuts, cherries, currants, brandy, spices | Shipping Information: Fruitcakes are available for delivery Tuesday through Friday. Free shipping to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Eilenberger's Bakery Pecan Fruit Cake Cookies
Great for people who don't like cake
Still includes pecans, dates, cherries, and pineapple
Arrives in a gift box
Number of cookies vary by weight
Maybe a cake just isn't your thing. You can still enjoy the festive flavors of fruitcake in cookie form. These fruit cake cookies also hail from Texas like so many other popular fruitcakes. Just like the cakes, these cookies are made with cherries, dates, pineapple, and pecans. Each buttery cookie is baked until perfectly chewy and lightly golden brown. Much like fruitcakes, these cookies are sold by the pound.
Price at time of publish: $37 or $49
Size Available: 2 or 3-pound boxes | Key Ingredients: Pecans, dates, cherries, pineapple | Shipping Information: Cookies shipped directly from Eilenberger's Bakery. Orders arrive between Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Best Organic Fruit
Frog Hollow Farm Holiday Fruitcake
Baked with beautiful dried plums and peaches
Nicely wrapped in cheesecloth and a reusable tin
Expensive for small size
Frog Hollow Farms is beloved by chefs and fruit lovers alike for the incredible flavors and nearly perfect organic fruits it produces throughout the year. Frog Hollow Farms is known for the highest-quality organic fruits, from deeply-hued stone fruits in summer to vibrant citrus in winter.
You won't find any brightly-colored candied cherries here. This holiday fruitcake is filled with Frog Hollow Farm's own organic dried plums and peaches, candied orange peel, and walnuts. Finally, the cake is soaked in rum for an extra kick. Made almost entirely of organic ingredients, this 5.5-inch fruitcake comes at a premium but is well worth it for those who want the most naturally delicious fruitcake on the market.
Frog Hollow Farm also suggests aging your fruitcake for up to two years. If you decide to age it for next year's holiday season to deepen the flavor, it's suggested that you leave the fruitcake wrapped in the rum-soaked cheesecloth and tin that it's packaged in, and store it in a cool, dry place.
Price at time of publish: $65
Size Available: 1 pound 6.5-ounce cake | Key Ingredients: Plums, peaches, orange peel, walnuts, molasses, rum, spices | Shipping Information: Located in Brentwood, California, Frog Hollow Farm ships nationwide via UPS on Mondays and Tuesdays, and orders arrive within 1 to 2 business days. Orders may be placed on Wednesday for the same week if shipping is upgraded to Next Day Air. The cost of shipping is not included, and the price varies.
Best Gluten Free
Sunnyland Farms Gluten Free Fruitcake
Tastes like traditional fruitcake
Made with fresh Georgia pecans
Must buy two loaves
If you love fruitcakes but are looking for a gluten-free option, you might not find very many choices—but you don't have to go without. Sunnyland Farms' Fruitcake is highly rated by those who've tried it. Not only that but it's made with the very same Georgia pecans that the farm is known for growing. The texture of this fruitcake resembles traditional fruitcake so closely that some reviewers weren't even convinced that it's actually gluten-free (it is).
You can have the cakes delivered in regular cardboard packaging or a special gift box. Two 1-pound 7-ounce cake loaves come per box. You also have the option to create your own gift set of at least three items from Sunnyland Farms, choosing from 1-pound bags of nuts, spreads, fruitcakes, pralines, brittle, and dried fruits.
Price at time of publish: $57
Size Available:  1-pound 7-ounce cakes | Key Ingredients: Pecans, dates, raisins, pineapple, cherries, cinnamon, and cloves | Shipping Information: Sunnyland Farms ships year-round via UPS and offers free ground shipping. 2-Day Business and USPS Priority mail cost 30 percent of the total price of your order. You can schedule a delivery for any day of the week or select dates on or near major holidays.
Eilenberger's Bakery World Famous Fruitcake is going to strike a nice balance for those looking for a tasty traditional fruitcake but don't necessarily want too many flavors fighting for your attention. Want something to really wow? The Harry & David Generous Gourmet Hamper is sure to impress anyone you'd like to treat with a complete culinary experience, from savory to sweet, including the fruitcake.
What to Look for When Buying a Fruitcake
Bakers and Distributors
Most of the bakeries we’ve chosen for this round-up have been baking fruitcakes for decades, and many of them have become famous for a particular style of fruitcake they make. When buying fruitcakes online, we think it’s best to buy from a reputable baker instead of an industrially-produced fruitcake of unknown origins. Food items distributed through major companies, such as Harry & David, were chosen because of their high standards when sourcing, storing, and shipping food items.
Size and Servings
Since fruitcakes are typically a gift you give to a household, you want to make sure you’re ordering an appropriate size for everyone to have a taste. Most bakeries will give you an estimate for how many servings you can expect from their specific cake. Fruitcakes are also typically sold by the pound, although they may occasionally be sold by the round-cake size. Since fruitcakes are denser than many other cakes, you can assume that a 1-pound fruitcake is relatively small, not much larger than a pound of butter. The serving sizes are usually smaller slices. General guidelines for serving sizes are as follows:
1-pound loaf serves up to four people
1.5-pound loaf serves four to six people
2-pound loaf serves eight to ten people
3-pound loaf or cake serves ten to 12 people
4-pound cake serves at least 12 to 16 people
Traditional fruitcakes are made with candied dried fruits and nuts, although the combination of fruits and nuts is almost entirely up to the baker. There are a few fruitcake essentials that you can expect, though. You can reasonably expect to find candied cherries and pecans in your fruitcake. Occasionally the pecans are replaced with walnuts, and in some cases, you can find nut-free fruitcakes. The rest of the candied and dried fruits change from cake to cake but often include raisins, pineapple, and citrus. More adventurous inclusions are dates, currants, plums, peaches, and even papaya.
Additionally, some fruitcakes include fruits that have been soaked in alcohol — classically rum, brandy, or sherry. Soaking the fruit in alcohol helps to keep the cake moist and preserve the fruits for even longer. It also tastes great and makes your holiday cheer a little livelier. Of course, if you’re giving the fruitcake as a gift, you’ll want to consider the alcohol content depending on your audience.
Shipping and Delivery Dates
Keep in mind when ordering a fruitcake that shipping and delivery dates will vary with each supplier. Most of the fruitcakes in this round-up are shipped nationwide, several days a week, although some bakeries have cutoff times for weekly shipments. Some of the larger operations ship every day during the business week and offer several different shipping speed options. It’s best to plan your delivery well in advance of when you think you’ll need it to ensure it’ll arrive on time. You can take comfort in knowing that most fruitcakes will hold for an extended time.
How long does fruitcake last?
Most fruitcakes have a shelf life of about a month. With that said, most bakers will indicate how long each fruitcake can be stored for the best experience. If you know in advance that you’ll be enjoying the fruitcake over an extended period, it might be a good idea to portion it, wrap the fruitcake tightly, and freeze or refrigerate a portion to prolong the shelf life.
What is citron in fruitcake?
Citron is a type of citrus that closely resembles a lemon but is considered more fragrant and bitter before candying. The additional bitterness, low juice content, and thicker citrus peel make it much less popular for regular use, but citron is ideal for preserving and candying. The acidic nature of the citron is a great balance with the sweeter ingredients in the cake and helps brighten the flavors of the other fruits.
What alcohol is fruitcake typically soaked in?
Rum is the most popular liquor for soaking a fruitcake and can also be used for soaking the dried fruits that stud the cakes. The most common kind of rum used is dark and unspiced. But fruitcakes are also known to be soaked with brandy or sherry and even bourbon occasionally. If you buy a fruitcake that hasn’t been pre-soaked, you can easily soak it yourself by drizzling the fruitcake with your liquor of choice and letting it soak in for a few hours to a few days. The longer a fruitcake rests with the liquor, the more the flavors will meld together—although the potency will remain the same. You can also heat the liquor of your choice to boiling to cook off the alcohol and soak the fruitcake with it for a less potent but equally flavorful cake.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Jenny Kellerhals has been a professional pastry chef for over a decade in New York City and loves tasting every type of dessert she can lay her hands on—and dissecting how they're made. Based in Queens, she spends most of her time thinking about what she just ate and what she’s going to eat next, with a generous serving of cheese in between.
Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.
Food and Drug Administration. Gluten-free labeling of foods.