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Taste of the Tropics Fruit Cake

in quick and easy whole grain dairy free gluten free overnight guaranteed classic

Author: PJ Hamel

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.

View step-by-step
directions on our blog

At a glance

2 large fruit cakes; or a variable number of smaller cakes


Choose your measure:

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


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