Traditional Christmas Loaf With Fruit

Recipe Print Pin
1 hour 5 minutes
24 servings, 12 servings per loaf

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure policy.

I have a bit of a weakness for glacé cherries.

I can’t resist their old school grandeur and they look positively festive in this traditional Christmas Loaf.

Baked in very small loaf pans, Christmas Loaf is a quick and easy baked gift to give.

Out of all my seasonal bread recipes, baking this delicious holiday bread is the one that resolves my Christmas spirit.

I talk often about my Mom’s mom, my Grandmother Anna. She is mentioned here on Not Entirely Average many times.

But I almost never mention my Dad’s mom, my Grandmother Helen.

Both women are heroes of mine.

Both have since passed and not a day goes by that I am not missing them both for teaching me about life.

My Dad’s mom, Grandma Helen, was not too much of a cook. That is to say, she cooked, just not fancy. Nothing ostentatious.

Christmas Loaf nutmeat and fruit bread

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

Do You Have What’s Needed To Make Traditional Christmas Loaf With Fruit? Check The List!

  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • All purpose flour
  • Candied cherries, red or green or both
  • Pecans

How This Recipe Came About…

I always liked eating meals at Grandma’s because she let me have anything I wanted.

Bacon, chocolate milk, Pepsi…everything I wasn’t allowed to eat freely at home, Grandma always managed to have on hand for my visits.

And, her food was just a good hearty sort.

The one thing she did do that was special around Christmastime was with my grandfather, they baked.

They were a two person baking operation with tremendous results.

Funny enough, they only baked one thing – Stollen Loaf, otherwise known as Christmas Loaf or Yuletide Bread.

The cakes really couldn’t be easier to make – all the ingredients are mixed in one bowl so it takes only a matter of minutes to put together.

Perfect for this time of year when we are all so busy!

Christmas Loaf nutmeat and fruit bread

Does Anyone Actually Eat Fruitcake?

Every year, it’s like playing hot potato with the proverbial Christmas fruit loaf.

It could well be a 100 year old relic because it’s been passed so many times, and it appears to get heavier in weight and denser by the day.

And yes, this is absolutely a fruit cake…of sorts. But, it’s a soft sweet crumbly crumb, and mainly a nutmeat and fruit cake.

It is my grandparents recipe for Christmas Loaf.

My Grandfather baked up MANY for the holidays.

Some he would soak in Brandy for a couple of months until they were dense and fragrant. Others he would bake up in smallish loaf pans and gift to neighbors.

Our house always received two unsoaked loaves. My Mom basically taught me how to enjoy this cake.

I watched her spread soft salted sweet cream butter atop a fresh slice. Then, she’d start the kettle…

Is It Still Okay To Give Fruit Cake As A Gift?

I enjoy both baking and eating so many seasonal varieties of holiday breads and cakes.

Banana Bread, Zucchini Bread, and Pound Cake…many of these I offer, as my Grandparents did, as a Christmas gift.

Christmas Loaf is not only a make-ahead gift, but also one of my Christmas day recipes.

I place a loaf into the oven in the morning right after I start a pot of coffee brewing.

Christmas Loaf nutmeat and fruit bread

Can I Make French Toast Or Bread Pudding Using Christmas Loaf?

Once the bread is baked and out of the oven, I allow it to cool slightly.

I slice it thick like Texas toast and submerge the slices in well beaten eggs and cream and begin a Christmas morning French toast using the Christmas Loaf as my bread.

Wanna talk EXCELLENT?

My recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding is easily followed substituting the Panettone or Challah with Christmas Loaf.

In fact, aside from enjoying this bread with a cup of hot tea or coffee, the bread pudding is my favorite way to enjoy.

Christmas Loaf nutmeat and fruit bread

Christmas Loaf

Jenny DeRemer
I can’t resist the retro charm of the sweet glacé cherries looking so suitably festive in this traditional Christmas Loaf.
4.36 from 17 votes
Servings: 24 servings, 12 servings per loaf
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Bread, Dessert
Cuisine Southern
Servings 24 servings, 12 servings per loaf
Calories 377 kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 pound candied cherries
  • 1 pound pecans rough chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour two loaf pans and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Measure the flour unsifted. Reserve 1/2 cup flour to mix with the cherries and the nuts. Sift the remaining flour into the butter sugar mixture and beat very well. Add the floured nutmeats and candied fruits and stir to combine.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, however, and because ovens vary widely, begin testing for doneness at 35 minutes by inserting a toothpick and pulling it out clean.
  • Once the loaves are baked, turn out onto wire cooling racks to cool completely.
  • Serve with softened sweet cream butter and hot coffee or tea.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 377kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 5gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 19mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 2gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 314IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg
Keyword christmas bread, christmas cake, fruitcake bread, old fashioned fruitcake recipe
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

If You Like This Recipe…

…you might also like:

a fudgy pecan bourbon balls
Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

What Is The Story Behind Fruitcake?

Fruitcake, Yule Bread, and Christmas bread have a long history.

The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into a barley mash.

In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.

Fruitcakes soon proliferated all over Europe.

Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast.

Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the Stollen fruitcakes.

Christmas Loaf nutmeat and fruit bread

A Christmas Loaf with a cup of piping hot tea will be a warming treat after a brisk walk down to the docks in the chilly December air.

I believe my Grandfather to have adopted this method from his mom.

Her name was Lizzie Sandt, my Great Grandmother.

She was of German decent, her mother’s maiden name of Dreisbach dating back in the America since well before the Revolutionary War.

My Great Grandmother Lizzie grew up in Sandt Pennsylvania.

Yes, they were the Sandt’s living in the village of Sandt, a place founded by the family a hundred years before.

I had heard stories growing up that my Great Grandmother and her mom spoke only German to one another.

Heritage, family, tradition, and keen palettes….

I imagine that this Stollen fruitcake or method for candied fruit bread was theirs. And even though I have no real way of knowing, somehow, I just do.

I have eaten it my entire adult life, not caring for it much as a kid, but it was ALWAYS there.

I never did quite understand all of the fruitcake jokes.

A recipe for Christmas bread is clearly a very traditional thing.

C’mon guys, the Middle Ages?

Yeah, it’s old, it’s traditional…for me though, it’s just Grandma and Grandpa’s Christmas Bread Loaf.

Pinterest pin image for Christmas Loaf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


    1. Good morning Dorothy, and YES, these loaves do freeze well. I have done it myself and this is what I learned; wrap TIGHTLY in plastic film first, then double wrap TIGHTLY in aluminum foil. The plastic film is key to the bread being as perfect as the day it was baked after being thawed.

  1. Good morning, I am that person that likes fruit cake! I will definitely make your recipe, thank you for sharing. Pecans and cherries are my favorite combination.
    Have a Merry Christmas!
    Liz5 stars

    1. Oh Liz, you’ve made my day! This cake has a crumbly crumb to it versus being moist, so if you prefer moist, turn the cake over on its top in a shallow baking dish lined with parchment. Use a kebab skewer to pole lots of holes just about halfway into the cake. Going only halfway keeps the top pretty for when you turn it over to serve it. I brush 3 to 5 tablespoons of a quality spiced rum over the holes and allow the liquor to distribute for 24 hours before up-righting the cake and cutting into it. Use plastic film to cover while it sits on your counter macerating. If on the other hand you enjoy a crumbly crumb as I do, soften some salted butter to spread atop and enjoy with the cake. I am so entirely PLEASED to know somebody aside from me likes fruit cake!! x – Jenny

      1. What size loaf pan? Can I use the non stick loaf pan. I’ve tried to make my mothers recipe for this and never cooks all the way through. Her recipe which calls for solid shorting instead of butter.

        1. Linda, absolutely go ahead and use that non-stick. I use a standard loaf pan which measures 9 x 5 but you can also go as small as 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 and still get good results.

          The density of a dough such as this requires you knowing your oven and having patience. If your oven has a sweet spot, rotate half way through the bake to promote even baking. You will prevail!

          Remember, this is dense but this is why we love it so much! Let me know how you enjoy it Linda! Merry Christmas! x – Jenny

    1. Chad oh no! NO, NO, NO! As you can see from my photos, this bread is ANYTHING but gooey, so something sounds off. I would like to troubleshoot it with your wife if she’s willing. It almost sounds like it just wasn’t baked through all of the way, so my questions would be what size loaf pans at what temp and for how long? I am going to reach out to you via email here shortly to see if we can’t sort it. It really is such a delicious recipe and I want you to experience how tasty it is, too! Jenny

    2. The recipe states that it takes 45 minutes in the oven.
      However, as stated in Jenny’s recipe, ovens can vary. For us, this took a little over an hour to bake through, but it got done.
      It’s now cooling. Can’t wait to try it! It smells delicious!
      We’re planning to add pieces to our cookie trays we’ll be handing out tomorrow.
      Thanks for the recipe Jenny!5 stars

      1. Steve! This message from you couldn’t make me happier! Did you sneak a slice? What’d you think? I think I love this recipe because it reminds me SO MUCH of the Stollen my great gran baked when I was small. I hope you try a slice warm with salted butter 🙂 Merry Christmas, Steve! x – Jenny

        1. Hi Jenny!
          Yes, I snuck a slice. It was delicious! I really appreciate the recipe. My ancestors are German, so this is great!
          I’ll definitely keep this recipe handy! It’s difficult giving this out as part of the cookie plate. haha!
          Merry Christmas to you!5 stars

          1. YES!!! My gran who baked Stollen was a Driesbach, so who knows, maybe we’re related. At least we know we both have excellent taste in Christmassy baked goods!

            Merry Christmas, Steve!

  2. I am baking this recipe for the third time and will keep the loaves I bake today. I have gifted these this season to acclaim and feel I must have some for the coming week for myself! I am also going to try as you suggested, to make a bread pudding using a loaf. I am grateful for you sharing this! I will NEVER lose this recipe.5 stars

    1. Miss Clara, I appreciate this kind comment! I encourage you to make bread pudding from one of the loaves. Just keep in mind that because of the density, you will likely require additional eggs and additional milk. I would also recommend a cinnamon syrup – review my recipe for a cinnamon syrup here and let me know how you enjoy your pudding! Merry Christmas – Jenny

    1. Good morning Dr. Ariyanayagam, and thank you for reaching out. I am concerned that you are looking at the recipe card and not seeing the flour. It is 2 cups. I just emailed you, so do look to read from me; I am also happy to send the recipe by email if there is an issue with the recipe card populating for you. Let me know. Jenny