Dark Fruitcake Recipe

Fruit Cake at Christmas
Lauri Patterson / Getty Images
  • 4 hrs 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 4 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: 40 servings
Ratings (21)

This recipe is over 100 years old. It takes 2 days to make, and 3 weeks to ripen, but well worth the time investment. If properly stored, the cake can be made as much as two months before Christmas.

"The New Doubleday Cookbook" by Jean Anderson, Elaine Hanna (Doubleday)

What You'll Need

  • For the Fruit Mixture:
  • 1 pound candied fruit (mixed, chopped, see note)
  • 2 ounces candied ginger (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 pound raisins (seedless)
  • 1/2 pound golden raisins (seedless)
  • 1/2 pound dried currants
  • 1/4 pound candied cherries (coarsely chopped, save 4 whole cherries for decoration, if you like)
  • 1/4 pound walnuts (or pecans, shelled, finely chopped, save 8 halves for decoration, if you like)
  • 2 lemons (rind only, finely grated)
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy (or orange juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the Cake Mixture:
  • 2 cups flour (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs

How to Make It

Place candied fruit, ginger, raisins, currants, cherries, walnuts or , lemon rind, orange marmalade, lemon juice, brandy or orange juice, , and almond extract in a large bowl, toss well, cover, and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Grease, then line the bottom of a 10-inch tube pan with wax paper. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Sift together twice the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, allspice, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

Cream butter until light, add sugar gradually, and continue creaming until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add to dry ingredients, about 1 cup at a time, beating just to blend. (Note: Unless you have an extra-large mixing bowl, you will have to transfer batter to a large kettle at this point.) Mix in the fruit mixture. Spoon batter into pan and, if you wish, decorate the top with halved candied cherries and walnuts. Place on center oven rack; half fill a roasting pan with water and place on the rack below. Bake, uncovered, 4-1/4 hours until cake shrinks slightly from sides of pan and a metal skewer inserted midway between the edge and the central tube comes out clean.

Cool cake upright in pan on wire rack 1 hour. Carefully turn out, peel off wax paper, turn right-side-up, and cool thoroughly. Wrap in brandy- or rum-soaked cheesecloth, then in foil, and store in an airtight container about 3 weeks to ripen. If you wish to store the longer, sprinkle cheesecloth wrapping with 2 to 3 tablespoons brandy or rum at 3-week intervals.


In place of the 1 pound of mixed fruit, you may use the following mixture:
1/2 pound candied citron, chopped fine
1/4 pound candied orange peel, chopped fine
1/4 pound candied lemon peel, chopped fine

Recipe Source: by Jean Anderson, Elaine Hanna (Doubleday)
Reprinted with permission.