Dark Fruitcake

dark fruitcake
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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 20 mins

This fruitcake is a dark fruitcake with candied fruits, dates, nuts, and molasses. This is an excellent holiday fruitcake. Wrap the fruitcake in cheesecloth and then plastic wrap and store it for a few weeks to mellow; brush with brandy once a week. ​


  • 1 pound candied citron, orange and lemon peels (diced)
  • 2 pounds candied cherries (halved, red and green)
  • 2 pounds candied pineapple
  • 1 pound pitted dates (chopped)
  • 1 pound raisins
  • 1 can (16 ounces) pitted sour cherries (drained)
  • 1 pound pecans (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 7 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) apple jelly
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (22 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

Steps to Make It

  1. Prepare fruit mixture a day in advance. Combine fruits and nuts in a large bowl with brandy, vanilla, and molasses. Cover tightly and let stand overnight or up to 48 hours.

  2. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

  3. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  4. Add eggs, 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in apple jelly; blend well.

  5. Add the fruit and nut mixture alternately with the sifted dry ingredients, using a heavy wooden spoon and/or hands for stirring. Stir until well blended.

  6. Generously grease 2 tube cake pans (10-inch), then line with waxed paper or parchment and grease again.

  7. Fill pans about 3/4 full. Bake at 250 F for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

  8. After 3 hours, begin testing cakes with toothpick or cake tester. The pick should come out clean when inserted in center of cake.

  9. Cool in pans on racks then turn out of pans and carefully peel off paper.

  10. Wrap cakes in cheesecloth and sprinkle generously with more of the brandy.

  11. Seal cakes in food storage bags or plastic wrap.

  12. Brush cakes once a week with more brandy and reseal. These fruitcakes should be mellowed for at least 4 weeks and they can be frozen after that amount of time.


  • Fruitcake may be frozen for longer storage. Or wrap a well-soaked fruitcake in foil and bury it in a container of powdered sugar. Keep it in a cool place.