Christmas Fruit Cake Bars

Easy Christmas Fruit Cake Bars with molasses, cinnamon and cloves flavor. Buttermilk keeps the cake soft. Top with cream cheese frosting and pecans.

Some recipes just taste like Christmas. Gingerbread loaf, gingerbread cookies, molasses cookies…and these Christmas Fruit Cake Bars.

molasses fruit bars with cream cheese frosting

Christmas Fruit Cake Bars Recipe

I’m not crazy for traditional fruit cakes, but I 100% fell in love with these Christmas fruit cake bars. The cinnamon and cloves pair with the molasses in the cake to make your whole house smell like Christmas.

Cake Bars with Dried Fruit

These cake bars are baked in a large sheet cake pan, making it perfect for taking to potlucks and parties.

So what fruit did we add to these fruit cake bars? Candied orange peel, candied lemon peel and raisins. If you’re not used to candied fruit (I wasn’t either), you may think those things sound strange, but just trust me. All of the flavors come together beautiful to taste just like Christmas!

spiced frosting on molasses cake bars

Cake Bars with Buttermilk

Do you like to use buttermilk in baking? I do! The buttermilk reacts with the baking soda helping to give your baked goods a beautifully light texture.

If you don’t have store bought buttermilk simply mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 1/2 cup of milk. Stir the mixture and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. The milk will start to thicken and “curdle”. This works best with higher fat milk, but use any milk you have in a pinch.

molasses fruit cake bars with frosting

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

We took our pumpkin bar frosting recipe and added a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a lightly spiced flavor.

Cream cheese frosting is one of the easiest frostings to make. Make sure the butter and cream cheese are both softened, but not melted at all. This will give you the best texture.

If you have a stand mixer, pull it out for homemade frosting. It makes it so much easier! You can also use a hand mixer.

Christmas Fruit Cake Bars in sheet cake pan

How to Store Cake Bars

These cookies should be stored in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese frosting. Keep them in an airtight container. They also freezer really well and are delicious to eat cold from the freezer!


cream cheese frosted fruit cake bars

Christmas Fruit Cake Bars

Easy Christmas Fruit Cake Bars with molasses, cinnamon and cloves flavor. Buttermilk keeps the cake soft. Top with cream cheese frosting and pecans.

4 from 1 vote

Print Pin Rate

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas bars, fruit cake bars, molasses bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 268kcal
Author: Julie Clark


For the bars:

  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¼ cup candied orange peel
  • ¼ cup candied lemon peel
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

For the frosting:

  • 3 ounces softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Chopped pecans for topping


Make the bars:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar and molasses.
  • Add the eggs and beat well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, soda, cinnamon and cloves. Whisk together.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture alternately with the milk. Mix well after each addition.
  • Fold in the raisins, candied fruit and nuts.
  • Spread in a greased shallow baking pan that is 10×13”.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until the center is set.
  • Allow the bars to cool on a wire rack.

Make the Frosting:

  • In a bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the cream cheese and butter. 
  • Add the sugar, vanilla and milk. Mix until smooth.
  • Spread frosting over cooled bars.
  • Sprinkle with chopped pecans if desired.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remove the bars 2 hours before serving if you don’t want them cold.


The calories shown are based on the cake bars being cut into 25 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 frosted slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 6.3% | Vitamin C: 0.4% | Calcium: 3.6% | Iron: 6.9%
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Categories:   Baking Bread