Taste of the Tropics Fruit Cake

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 2 large fruit cakes; or a variable number of smaller cakes

Recipe photo

If you're looking for a traditional fruit cake, one filled with citron, candied peel, and green cherries ? click away from this page right now. But if you love banana bread, and coconut, and the moist, dense, heavy texture of a classic fruitcake, you'll enjoy this "tropical" version of a holiday classic.

Read our blog about this cake, with additional photos, at Bakers' Banter.

Taste of the Tropics Fruit Cake

star rating (21) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time: Overnight,
Yield: 2 large fruit cakes; or a variable number of smaller cakes
Published: 01/01/2010


Rum-soaked pineapple

  • 3 cups finely diced dried pineapple
  • 3/4 cup rum, apple juice, or water


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam or orange marmalade
  • 1 ripe medium banana, peeled and mashed; about 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut flavor, optional
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk powder
  • 3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut, toasted in a 300°F oven for about 13 to 15 minutes, till light golden brown
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 22 to 30 candied red cherries, for garnish

Glaze (optional)

  • 1 cup sugar syrup or simple syrup
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons rum, brandy, or liqueur, optional


see this recipe's blog »

1) The night before, combine the pineapple and rum in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap, and heat till the liquid starts to form tiny bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave, and let rest overnight, covered.

2) Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease the loaf pans of your choice: two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans OR five 7" wooden bakers OR six 7" paper bake & give pans.

3) To prepare the cake: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, jam or marmalade, mashed banana, baking powder, salt, and coconut flavor.

4) Beat in the eggs one at time.

5) Whisk together the coconut milk powder and the flour. Stir the dry ingredients into the the wet ingredients alternately with the milk.

6) Add the undrained pineapple, toasted coconut, and the pecans.

7) Spoon the batter into the lightly greased baking pans, filling them three-quarters full. The small (7") paper pans will take about 430g batter (a generous 15 ounces). An 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" pan will take about 1290g (1 pound, 13 1/2 ounces).

8) Bake the small cakes for about 60 minutes, the larger cake for about 90 to 95 minutes. When done, the cakes will be a light golden brown all over, and a paring knife inserted into the center will come out clean. The temperature at the center will be about 200°F. The very center on top may still look a bit undone; that's OK.

9) To make the glaze: stir together the simple syrup (sugar syrup) and liquor of your choice. Note: To make your own simple syrup, bring 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a boil; simmer for 3 minutes, remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature.

10) Remove the cakes from the oven. While still warm, brush with the glaze.

11) When completely cooled, wrap well and let rest at least 24 hours before serving. Or store well-wrapped cake for up to a month, brushing with additional glaze weekly. Each time you brush the cakes, you'll use about half as much glaze as you did the first time.

Yield: 5 or 6 small, or 2 large cakes.


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  • star rating 11/26/2014
  • joecek from KAF Community
  • Everyone likes this. I have to make it at least twice before Christmas. I've given this recipe away at least a dozen times over the past few years. Only change I've made is to make it with macadamia nuts (raw unsalted pieces) and call it my Hawaiian fruitcake. I use apricot jam, spiced rum for soaking the pineapple and don't use the added cocoanut flavor.
  • star rating 11/15/2014
  • lettyann from virginia
  • star rating 12/14/2012
  • Alyse B from VA.
  • First, I used spiced apple cider. 300 seemed a low temp for cake. There is no mention of when to add the cherries-before or after. No mention of removing cakes from regular baking pans. Maybe my 8.5x4.5 pans are not as deep as yours, but I had enough left over after filling 2 of that size to fill another pan. there's so many ingrediants that are sweet, sugars, coconut, jam-I felt glaze was overkill-though really pretty!! I've always been told that a cake is finished when it pulls away from the sides of the pan. This didn't.
  • star rating 10/20/2011
  • bkrisner from KAF Community
  • I hate fruitcake. Nasty stuff! THIS fruitcake is fantastic! The only change I made was switch the milk to coconut milk as I did not have the powder and left off the cherries. I thought for a minute there I was not going to get to bake the cakes because I kept tasting the batter. It was really pretty easy to make. But like others, I couldn't even wait for it to be completely cooled and had a small piece while it was still warm and AFTER I brushed it with the glaze. Mmmmmm. Can't wait to see what it's like tomorrow!
  • star rating 12/04/2010
  • Tammybear1 from KAF Community
  • This is the first recipe I have made from the King Arthur website, in fact I just found this website 4 days ago. This fruitcake is in my oven right now and the smell is awesome! I am a new fan and plan on spending lots of time and money here....
  • star rating 03/15/2010
  • LaVerle from Sacramento, CA
  • This is really a great fruitcake and the only one I really like. Followed the recipe exactly and baked it in two 8-inch bread pans. I think the next ones will be baked in one 8-inch and one 9-inch pan for a better fit. I only basted it three times with a sugar/water, butter/rum flavoring mixture and soaked the pineapple in apple juice. I gave one loaf to a friend and she called the night I gave it to her to tell me how moist it was and what a great flavor it had. I heartily recommend this recipe to anyone who doesn't normally like fruitcake.
  • star rating 01/29/2010
  • Gaynelle C from Maryland
  • I had to make these 2 times before Christmas because we kept eating them! Wonderful blend of flavors!
  • star rating 01/06/2010
  • Julia L Rosato from West Chester, Ohio
  • Made three batches of cake recipe or six cakes ---baked in the brown paper ring pans- frozen them---for St. Nick presents----the cake is a great version of fruitcake without citus canded fruit which I personally do not care for--- for gift giving put the cakes in plastic bags tied with a big holiday bow --- great presentation --- got nothing , but good comments and the cake that I now am enjoying is the best----King Arthur product and suggestions for presentation are the best----if it's worth baking ---it's worth using King Arthur Products---your giving the very best !
  • star rating 01/05/2010
  • Ms Kevin Bowler from Boothbay Maine
  • My family loves old fashion fruitcake with dried fruits such as dates, figs, and apricots. This is a real winner. I have been asked to make many of these for next year.
  • star rating 01/03/2010
  • Michael from Orlando
  • Excellent! I followed the suggestion of substituting coconut milk for the milk/coconut milk powder, and used Mount Gay Barbados rum for both the pineapple and glaze. I opted for apricot jam over orange marmelade. I served it after only 24 hours, so the amount of glaze I used was very sparing, but the overall taste was, dare I say it, subtle. Considering this recipe is more like a glorified banana bread than a typical fruitcake, this really isn't so surprising. I definitely will be making this again next year.
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