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Modern Fruit Cake

Modern Fruit Cake

This cake is a show stopper. 

A very modern, simple sponge cake is split and topped with wine (or grape juice) soaked fruit. 

Gorgeous for the holidays and any special occasion. I kept the sides unfrosted for a chic, modern look (and because I wanted to show off the fruit). I also kept the fruit whole and intact for a organic feel to this elegant dessert.

Notes: This is a classic sponge cake (also called Chiffon Sponge or Genoise). The cake can be baked on a sheet, filled and rolled like a Swiss cake or baked into cake layers which are split to create any number of elegant desserts including wedding cakes (for all you DIYers out there) and this dessert.

The cake layer can be made up to 3 days ahead of serving, or frozen for up to 3 months. 

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8-12Servings


Sponge Cake

  • ⅔ cup sifted all-purpose flour (sift the flour, then measure it) 
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt 
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 3 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks 
  • ½ cup sugar 

Wine Soaked Fruit

  • 4 cups mixed dried Mediterranean fruit (figs, pitted dates, apricots, raisins) 
  • 1 bottle dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir) or Concord Grape juice 
  • Zest of 1 orange 

Whipped Ganache

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao content), chopped finely 
  • 2⅔ cups full fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 


Sponge Cake

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 

2. Grease and line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. 

3. Choose a pot that will accommodate both the mixing bowl of a stand mixer over it and a small amount of water, without allowing the bottom of the bowl to touch the surface of the water. Add an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer.

4. Whisk flour and salt and set aside.

5. Mix oil and vanilla in a small cup and set aside.

6. Place eggs, yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and warm the mixture, whisking constantly, over the prepared pot of simmering water until the mixture feels slightly warm, about 3-5 minutes. (Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not in the water or the eggs will cook!)

7. Remove the stand mixer bowl from the pot and with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg mixture at high speed, until it is pale yellow and holds a ribbon (the beater can lift up some mixture and the mix will form and hold a ribbon for a few minutes). Be patient and keep whisking for about 7 minutes.

8. Gently fold in flour and salt mixture, and then oil and vanilla. Transfer batter into cake pan and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

9. Cool on a rack before running a knife around the edge and inverting.

10. Slice cake in half horizontally with a long bread knife to create 2 (1½ -inch) layers 

Wine Soaked Fruit

1. Place fruit in bowl. Pour wine over fruit. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours.

2. Strain wine out of fruit (reserve wine for brushing cake layers) and toss fruit with orange zest.

Whipped Ganache 

1. Place chocolate in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Bring coconut milk to a simmer and pour over chocolate. Do not stir for 15 minutes...really!

3. With a spatula, stir from the bottom up and fold milk into softened chocolate. Add oil and vanilla. Chill ganache, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. Transfer to a mixing bowl for a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and whip at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. (The ganache goes from perfect to a broken mess, quickly so watch it carefully. The color will lighten to a soft light brown and ganache will be creamy.)Garnishes: shaved chocolate, edible flowers or petals, pistachios or favorite nuts, powdered sugar


1. Place top of cake layer on a serving plate (this is now the bottom). 

2. Brush with reserved wine to moisten cake.

3. Pipe a generous band of whipped ganache around edge of cake, about 2 inches thick. Lightly spread ganache to cover layer. Pile ½ of fruit on top of ganache.

4. Top with remaining piece of cake. Brush cake with reserved wine. Pipe remaining ganache on edge of cake and gently spread to cover. Top with remaining fruit. Garnish as desired.


1. Make the wine-soaked dried fruit and whipped ganache, but use good quality, store-bought sponge cake in place of making your own. Serve sliced sponge with fruit and ganache. 

2. Don't bother layering and assembling the cake. Simply slice cake, drizzle with chocolate ganache and serve with wine-soaked dried fruit.