Take that dreaded fruitcake under the tree and shove it: into melted chocolate. You'll be SO glad you did.

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Waddaya mean, you don’t like fruitcake?

OK, I won’t try to convince you otherwise. There are enough wretched fruitcakes out there that I can totally see your point.

Me, I love fruitcake – my own homemade fruitcake, filled with apricots and pineapple, tart cherries and toasted pecans and sweet golden raisins. No citron. No candied peel. (Though yes to the candied red cherries; can’t totally forsake tradition, you know!)

But the store-bought fruitcake that somehow landed under your tree? If I were you, unless it’s one of those very, very, VERY good (read: expensive) fruitcakes, I’d take a pass. I’m not keen on preservatives, artificial flavoring, and the aforementioned peel and citron (to say nothing of candied GREEN cherries – ick).

At my house, the really bad fruitcakes go right outside to the birds. They’ve told me they LOVE citron and green cherries! And, whether it’s birds or mice or nut-hungry squirrels, the cakes always seem to disappear, right down to the last crumb.

But the middle-of-the-road fruitcakes, the ones I can’t quite get myself to share with my animal friends (or, even worse, re-gift) – what do I do with those?

I eat them. But not before performing a little black magic on them – in the form of dark chocolate.

Remember Chunky candy bars? Their signature ’60s “Open Wide for Chunky” commercial proclaimed Chunky “the thickest nickel chocolate bar in the USA.” Back then, Chunky was a chewy cube of cashews, Brazil nuts, and raisins covered in milk chocolate; these days, those more exotic nuts have been replaced by peanuts. Still, the fruit-nut-chocolate combo embodied in Chunky then is reflected today in Chocolate-Dipped Fruitcake: chewy, fruity, nutty, chocolate-y.

It makes total sense to dip mediocre fruitcake in chocolate to make it fairly enjoyable; but it’s even better dipping top-quality fruitcake in dark chocolate. Trust me, this treatment raises fruitcake to new levels of decadence.

So, dig out that fruitcake; rustle up some chocolate. These two characters are about to make beautiful music together.

First, line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper, and spray the paper with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

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Cut your fruitcake into slices about 3/4″ thick. You don’t want to make them too thin, or they’ll crumble when you dip them in the chocolate.

BTW, this is my favorite fruitcake recipe: Fruitcake Even Fruitcake Non-Lovers Will Love.

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Cut each slice into two or three pieces; or just leave the slices whole, if your fruitcake is a mini.

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Soften 2 cups (12 ounces) chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips) with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, in a microwave (easiest) or in a saucepan set over low heat. Stir chocolate until it’s totally melted and the mixture is smooth.

This amount of chocolate will coat about nine 3/4″ slices of a 9″ x 5″ fruitcake (2/3 to 3/4 of the cake); adjust the amount of chips and oil accordingly, to match however much fruitcake you’d like to dip.

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Using a pair of tongs (least messy) or your fingers, gently grab a piece of fruitcake and dip it into the chocolate, coating it on all sides. Let any excess drip off (it’s pretty thick, and won’t drip much).

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Place the slices of cake on the prepared pan. Allow the dipped fruitcake to rest on the pan at room temperature until it sets enough for you to pick it up and transfer it to a rack, to set completely. It can take several hours for the chocolate to set; if you’re in a hurry, refrigerate for an hour or so.

So, why do these fruitcakes look like they’re coated with different types of chocolate?

They’re not; but I experimented with using ganache (four parts chocolate to one part cream, by weight) in place of the chocolate/oil mixture.

The result: a too-thick, more opaque, softer coating than I was looking for. Try ganache if you like; I’d suggest a higher percentage of cream, though then you start to deal with the issue of it not setting… I prefer the chocolate/vegetable oil combination, which yields a reliably shiny, “snappy” coating.

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Hey, that almost looks like a Chunky, doesn’t it? “Open wide…”

Please read, make, and review our recipe for Chocolate-Dipped Fruitcake.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Chris

    Looks tasty, but I still prefer my mom’s. And it’s not just that she uses brandy glaze instead of chocolate. I don’t know why people say fruitcake is so bad — obviously they’ve never tasted any of the real stuff like this?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Could be, Chris – I also think people don’t grow up with ingredients like citron and candied peel, and thus are put off by what can be unusual and/or strong flavors. That’s why I encourage people to use their own favorite dried fruits; minus the slight bitterness of the peel, they’re better able to appreciate the moist cake and spices. Thanks for your feedback here – PJH

  2. Dianne Conn

    Dear PJ Hamel; The fruitcake with chocolate looks great and I can’t wait to make some. How do you temper chocolate? I tried to coat some biscottis with chocolate and the product seized up so I had to paint the cookies – dipping just didn’t work. Thanks for sharing your fruitcake idea. Dianne

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      A very cautious way to melt chocolate for dipping is to melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Be sure not allow water to fall into the melted chocolate. The chocolate will seize. True tempering is a little more complicated. To temper chocolate, melt the chocolate over a simmering double boiler. Then let it cool to 80 degrees. Then bring the chocolate back up to between 86 and 91 degrees. This final temperature is dependent on the type of chocolate. For darker chocolate, use the higher temperature; for milk chocolate, use the lower temperature. ~Jaydl@KAF

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