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Fruit Cake vs. Christmas Pudding: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 4, 2023
Fruit cake is a cake made with candied or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, often soaked in spirits; Christmas pudding is a steamed or boiled dense, moist dessert made with similar ingredients plus suet, served traditionally at Christmas.

Key Differences

Fruit cake is a baked confectionery containing dried or candied fruits, nuts, and spices, often soaked in alcohol for flavor and preservation. Christmas pudding, a traditional British dessert, is a steamed or boiled mixture of dried fruits, suet, treacle or molasses, and spices.
The texture of fruit cake is dense and rich, suitable for slicing and serving as a typical cake. In contrast, Christmas pudding has a more moist, dense texture that often requires a spoon for serving.
Fruit cakes are often aged for several months, allowing the flavors to meld and the alcohol to preserve the cake. Christmas puddings are also aged but traditionally steamed for hours before serving, which contributes to their distinct texture.
The preparation of fruit cake involves traditional cake-baking methods, whereas Christmas pudding is steamed or boiled in a pudding basin, giving it a unique preparation method.
While fruit cake is popular in various forms around the world, Christmas pudding is specifically associated with British Christmas traditions and often served with brandy butter or cream.

Comparison Chart

Preparation Method

Steamed or boiled


Dense, suitable for slicing
Very moist and dense


Dried/candied fruits, nuts, spices, sometimes alcohol
Dried fruits, suet, spices, treacle/molasses

Serving Tradition

Can be served anytime
Traditionally served at Christmas


Often aged and soaked in alcohol
Aged and steamed before serving

Fruit Cake and Christmas Pudding Definitions

Fruit Cake

A cake made with candied or dried fruits, nuts, and spices.
She made a delicious fruit cake for the holiday party.

Christmas Pudding

Symbolic of Christmas festivity and tradition.
Making the Christmas pudding is a cherished family tradition.

Fruit Cake

A traditional holiday treat in many cultures.
Fruit cake is a staple at our family's Christmas celebrations.

Christmas Pudding

A steamed or boiled dessert made with dried fruits, suet, and spices.
Grandma's Christmas pudding is the highlight of our holiday meal.

Fruit Cake

Often soaked in spirits for flavor and preservation.
The fruit cake was soaked in brandy for three months.

Christmas Pudding

Traditionally served at Christmas in the UK.
Christmas pudding is a must-have on our holiday table.

Fruit Cake

Known for its dense, rich texture and long shelf life.
The fruit cake remained moist and flavorful even after weeks.

Christmas Pudding

Often flamed with brandy for a dramatic presentation.
He flamboyantly lit the Christmas pudding, delighting everyone.

Fruit Cake

Can be served as a dessert or a snack.
They enjoyed slices of fruit cake with their afternoon tea.

Christmas Pudding

Served with accompaniments like brandy butter or cream.
The Christmas pudding was perfect with a dollop of brandy butter.

Fruit Cake

Alternative form of fruitcake


What is fruit cake?

A cake made with dried or candied fruit, nuts, and spices.

Can fruit cake be eaten immediately after baking?

Yes, but aging it can improve its flavor.

How long does Christmas pudding last?

It can last several months due to its high sugar and alcohol content.

What is Christmas pudding?

A dense, moist dessert made with dried fruits, suet, and spices.

Is Christmas pudding always steamed?

Traditionally, yes, it's either steamed or boiled.

What alcohol is used in fruit cake?

Commonly brandy, rum, or whiskey.

Is fruit cake suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, unless made with animal-derived ingredients.

Is fruit cake only for Christmas?

No, it's enjoyed year-round in many cultures.

How is fruit cake preserved?

Often with alcohol, which also enhances its flavor.

What does Christmas pudding taste like?

It's rich, fruity, and spiced, with a unique texture.

Why is Christmas pudding flamed?

For dramatic effect and to enhance flavor.

What's the origin of fruit cake?

It has ancient origins, popularized in Europe.

What's the history of Christmas pudding?

It originated in medieval England as a Christmas tradition.

Can I make Christmas pudding without suet?

Yes, there are vegetarian versions using butter or vegetable suet.

Can fruit cake be frozen?

Yes, it freezes well.

Are there different types of Christmas pudding?

Yes, recipes vary regionally and by family tradition.

How do you serve Christmas pudding?

Warm, often with brandy butter, cream, or custard.

Is Christmas pudding a cake?

No, it's more of a steamed pudding than a cake.

Does fruit cake contain nuts?

Typically, yes, but recipes can be adapted for allergies.

Can fruit cake be made gluten-free?

Yes, with gluten-free flour substitutes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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