Old English Fruitcake. Dark and moist with plenty of spices and packed with plenty of sweet glacé fruit. It’s been a Christmas tradition in my family for decades.
Updated 2020 to provide new featured photos.
It’s still weeks away, I know, but I’ve got a head start on a dark old English fruitcake for Spouse. It’s a real old English style, dense, dark fruitcake.
I think this one weighs in at between 7 and 8 pounds. It’s her absolute favourite. Tomorrow she goes to the rum spa for a soak and a wrap. The cake, that is, not Spouse!
Inspired by my Newfoundland upbringing, this dark English fruitcake with roots in the UK is one of my favourite things to look forward to at Christmas. This is a large cake meant to be served in small pieces.
There are easily 40 portions or more which means there’s plenty to share with friends and family whenever they pop by during the Holidays.
Need more Christmas dessert ideas?
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Originally published on November 7, 2007. Updated November 2017 to include Pin-able photos for Pinterest and to provide metric measurement conversions if preferred.
Old English Fruitcake - A dark, rich, well spiced old fashioned English style fruitcake that can be made weeks in advance of Christmas.
- 1 1/4 cups chopped dried prunes (6 oz), chopped
- 1 1/4 cups chopped dates (6 oz), chopped
- 1 1/2 cups dark raisins (8 oz)
- 1 1/4 cups golden raisins (6 oz)
- 1 1/4 cups currants (6 oz)
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup molasses
- ½ cup coffee liqueur, or ½ cup strong black coffee
- Zest and juice of 2 oranges
- 1 cup chopped glace cherries
- 1 cup candied citrus peel
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (7 oz), roughly chopped
- 2 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup ground hazelnuts or almonds
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add the raisins, dates, prunes, currents, brown sugar, molasses, spices, coffee liqueur (or coffee) and the orange zest and juice.
- Bring to a gentle boil and very slowly simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes.
- When cool stir in the beaten eggs.
- Sift together, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda.
- Add the ground nuts and fold through the boiled mixture. Fold in cherries, citrus peel and pecans. Pour into prepared baking pan. You can decorate the top with additional pecan halves, cherries etc., if you like.
- Bake at 300 degrees F for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending upon the size of your pan. Mine took the full two hours in a 10 inch spring form pan.The cake should feel firm to the touch at the center and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. The cake should be cooled completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing.
- At this point you can poke small holes in the top and bottom of the cake with a fork and pour on 4 ounces of dark rum or your favorite whiskey, half on the top, wait ten minutes, then flip it over and pour the remaining half on the bottom.
- Soak several layers of cheesecloth in additional rum if you like and wrap completely around the cake, then cover with several layers of plastic wrap and store in a COOL place.
- When serving, you can add a layer of marzipan or if you have decorated the top with fruit and nuts, brush with a simple glaze of equal parts water and sugar boiled together for about 10-15 minutes.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.
Amount Per Serving Calories 231Saturated Fat 2gCholesterol 21mgSodium 62mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 2gSugar 24gProtein 2g