Italian Fruitcake with Marsala Sauce

Posted on : December 26th, 2019

Italian Fruitcake with Masala Sauce

Fruitcake? Everyone’s least favorite dessert? The object of ridicule derided as a brick every Christmas season? Apparently, you’ve never had the homemade alcohol-laced versions I grew up with! Today’s recipe, I will admit, is not the one I remember enjoying—that recipe is long gone. But today’s recipe, provided courtesy of the Almond Board of California, looks almost as delicious!

Did you know that fruitcake is one of the oldest known desserts? More than 2000 years ago, the ancient Romans made one made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins mixed into a barley mash. It was made into a ring-shaped dessert that was revered for its portability and long shelf-life (yes, we all know about that part). That means Italy is, most likely, the birthplace of holiday fruitcakes!

Today’s recipe features puréed apricots, almonds, semi-sweet chocolate and anise seeds along with the more common raisins and green and red candied cherries. Left to my own devices, I’d leave out the candied cherries and I’m sure this recipe would be delicious without them. But don’t mind me—for some people the cherries are their favorite part! The key to a memorable fruitcake, though, is to sprinkle it with rum or Marsala wine before you wrap it up in foil to cool. Of course, you’ll be serving this with a Marsala wine sauce, so feel free to skip that step—it’s up to you!

Italian Fruitcake with Marsala Sauce


  • 1 1/3 cups Maisie Jane’s honey (1-lb. jar)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 can (1 lb.) apricot halves, pureed in blender
  • 2 cups chopped Maisie Jane’s Natural Almonds
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. anise seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless raisins
  • 1 cup mixed green and red candied cherries

For the Marsala Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. grated orange rind


  1. Cream honey with butter; beat in eggs.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with pureed apricots.  
  3. Fold in almonds, chocolate, anise seeds, raisins and cherries.
  4. Turn the mixture into 2 well-greased and floured 5-cup molds (or any combination of molds with approximately 10 cups capacity).  Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (Smaller molds will require less time.) 
  5. Invert from molds. Wrap in foil immediately to cool. (This helps to keep cakes moist.) If you wish, sprinkle cakes with Marsala or rum before wrapping. 
  6. Store in refrigerator or very cool place until ready to serve.

Make the Marsala Sauce

  1. . Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in saucepan; add 1 cup Marsala wine and 1/4 cup orange juice. Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to boil. 
  2. Gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until syrupy. Stir in 1 teaspoon grated orange rind. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes 1 to 1 1/4 cups.

Ladle Marsala Sauce over slices of fruitcake to serve.

Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. At Maisie Jane’s we strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family owned and operated orchards. We use Organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. And we believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.