3 sweet holiday desserts that can replace the traditional fruitcake

Sunrise Senior Living  |  December 12, 2016

Fruitcake doesn't have the best reputation.

Sure, there are a handful of folks who love the seasonal dessert, but many could do without it. For those of you seeking a different treat to bring to the holiday party, consider one of these sweet, fruit-filled desserts:

1. Vanilla Yogurt Berry Trifle
This simple recipe from Country Living magazine makes a light dessert after the Christmas feast:


  • 2 12-ounce packages strawberries
  • 1 12-ounce package raspberries
  • 1 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large containers of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 40 ladyfingers
  • 2 Tbsp. orange liqueur - optional
  • 1 12-ounce package frozen blueberries


Place a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the raspberries and strawberries, and then gradually mix in 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to heat until thickened - this should take about 2 minutes. 

Transfer mixture to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, whip the heavy cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the Greek yogurt and 2/3 cup sugar until blended. Gently fold in the whipped cream.

Break the ladyfingers in half so you have 80 pieces to work with, and then place 40 of them on the bottom of a 2-quart trifle dish. Drizzle with a tablespoon of orange liqueur, followed by a dollop of the yogurt mixture. Top with half of the berries, followed by a drizzle of the thickened juice. 

Add another layer of the yogurt mixture and top with the remaining ladyfingers. Drizzle with a tablespoon of liqueur and the last dollop of yogurt. Finish the dish by topping with remaining berries and a drizzle of the thickened juice. 

Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

2. Cranberry Orange Cake
Cranberry and orange flavors complement each other especially well in this recipe by food blog A Latte Food.

Sugar fresh cranberries to use as garnish.Sprinkle sugar over fresh cranberries to create a lovely garnish.


For the cake:

  • 4 eggs - separated 
  • 1/2 cup butter - softened 
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil 
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar 
  • 2 1/4 cups white flour
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 ts.p baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest 
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter - softened 
  • 4 ounces cream cheese - softened 
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 2-3 Tbsp. orange juice 
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar 
  • Salt to taste 

For the topping:

  • Sugared cranberries
  • Orange slices


First, heat your oven to 325 degrees and prepare 3 9-inch round cakes with non-stick cooking spray.

Then, separate the egg yolks from the whites and set aside to stand at room temperature.

In the meantime, beat the butter with a mixer until fluffy. Add oil and beat well. Gradually add sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well mixed. Add egg yolks, one at a team, and beat until fully combined.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the vanilla extract, milk, sour cream and orange zest.

Stir the dry and wet ingredients into the butter mixture, alternatively, until just combined.

Using the mixer, beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the cake batter.

To keep the cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the batter, toss them with flour. Then, fold them into the cake mixture.

Divide batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans and place in the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.

To make your frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes. Add the orange zest and vanilla extract and continue to beat until combined. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixed. Add orange juice, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the frosting reaches the perfect spreading consistency. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin.

To assemble the cake, place the first layer on a plate. Spread with 1/2 cup frosting, then repeat with the next layer. Top with the last layer and proceed to cover the cake with the remaining frosting. 

Decorate with sugared cranberries and orange slices if desired.

3. Dried Plum and Apple Loaf with Crumble Topping
Whether you make this recipe from Delish on Christmas morning or you save it for dessert after the big feast, your family members are going to insist you make it every year.


To make the quick bread dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter

To complete the loaf:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple - sliced
  • 3/4 cup pitted and chopped dried plums
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 3/4 cup granola
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour


Heat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

To make your quick dough, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. 

Pour melted butter and milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Combine the quick dough with 3/4 cup sugar, sliced apple, plums and cinnamon until just mixed. Pour into prepared loaf pan.

To make the crumbled topping, combine the granola, butter, flour and remaining sugar. Sprinkle evenly over dough.

Transfer to oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from pan, let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!