Quebecois Candied Fruit Cake

Québecois cuisine may not be the world’s best known, but there definitely exists a distinct own cooking tradition associated with Canada’s famously independent-spirited province. I remember having had more than one incredibly delicious meal in Québec, where good food is taken seriously and enjoyed. And whereas poutine may be considered debatable, Québecois dishes are uniquely diverse, rich in flavor and, most of all, tasty.

So this recipe features what I would personally call typical for Québecois cuisine – whereas I would describe baking techniques as North-American, a distinct European twist to the ingredients remains – mainly through the use of the candied fruit and lemon zest – that infuses with the woody flavors I associate with Canada – earthy walnuts, tangy buttermilk and rich apple sauce.

Before proceeding to the recipe, let me drop one remark on ingredients: I strongly recommend you do yourself the favor of buying „real“ candied fruit while skipping the undefinable stuff that is sold in the baking sections of the supermarkets.  You will be rewarded by the incredible taste of this fragrant and caramelly cake and its multiple layers of flavor.



Ingredients (for a Ø 20 cm baking pan):

  • 260 grams of flour
  • 120 grams of caster sugar
  • 65 grams of ground walnuts
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 package (1 heaped teaspoon) of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 240 grams of buttermilk
  • 30 grams of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of apple sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 shot of dark rum
  • 225 grams of mixed candied fruit (e.g. citrus, melon, cherries, tangerine, pear…), cut into small dices
  • For decoration: icing sugar


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (fan oven).
  2. Pass the flour through a fine mesh into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Sift with the sugar, the ground walnuts, the lemon zest, the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the melted butter, apple sauce, egg and rum.
  5. Pout the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix gently using a baking spatula or an electric mixer on low speed.
  6. When smooth, gently mix in the candied fruit.
  7. Pour the batter into a round or rectangular baking pan greased with butter. Bake for approximately 65 to 75 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Check here and there that the cake does not turn too brown, reduce the temperature if this should happen.
  8. Let cool down completely before serving. Dust with some icing sugar and enjoy pure, with whipped cream, clotted cream or crème fraîche, or with a teaspoon or two of cranberry compote (see Cranberry Compote).


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