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Old English Fruitcake

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.

Close up square cropped picture of uncut cake for featured photo

Old English Fruitcake

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.

Old English Fruitcake baked in a loaf pan

Old English Fruitcake. The recipe will make 2 loaf sized cakes if you like.

Old English Fruitcake

Old English Fruitcake, 2017 photo.

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!

Ground almonds in a clear glass measuring cup

Ground almonds, pecans or walnuts are easily substituted.

 

Pecan pieces in a clear glass measuring cup

I like to toast the nuts and keep them in chunks to add to the batter.

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.

Fruit mixture after it has been boiled

Fruit mixture after it has been boiled

Finished batter for the Old Englishg Fruitcake oin a large stainless steel bowl

Finished batter for the Old English Fruitcake in a large stainless steel bowl

Overhead photo of the fruitcake in a spring form pan ready for the oven

All ready for the oven.

Overhead shot of a loaf sized old english fruitcake ready for the oven

Make it as 2 loaf cakes and decorate the top to your own liking.

overhead photo of Old English Fruitcake on a white plate

A very festive looking Christmas centrepiece.

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.

wide shot photo of whole uncut cake surrounded by christmas decorations on a Newfoundland tartan table runner

Need more Christmas dessert ideas?

Click on the photo to follow the link below to our Best Christmas Cake Recipes.

Best Newfoundland Christmas Cake Recipes

Like this Old English Fruitcake recipe?

You can find plenty of other ideas in our Christmas Recipes Category and be sure to browse over 200 cookies for Christmas baking in on our Cookie Pages.

Old English Fruitcake photo of uncut cake with title text added for Pinterest

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Old English Fruitcake slice image with title text

Old English Fruitcake

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Old English fruitcake overhead photo of baked loaf cake on a rectangular white platter with title text added for Pinterest.

Originally published on November 7, 2007. Updated November 2017 to include Pin-able photos for Pinterest and to provide metric measurement conversions if preferred.

Close up square cropped picture of uncut cake for featured photo
Yield: 40 This is a large cake meant to be served in small pieces. There are easily 40 portions or more.

Old English Dark Fruit Cake

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Old English Fruitcake - A dark, rich, well spiced old fashioned English style fruitcake that can be made weeks in advance of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and very slowly simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes.
  4. When cool stir in the beaten eggs.
  5. Sift together, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition Information

Yield

40

Serving Size

g

Amount Per Serving Calories 231Saturated Fat 2gCholesterol 21mgSodium 62mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 2gSugar 24gProtein 2g

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Gail

Monday 22nd of November 2021

I love this fruitcake. I’ve made it for the past 3 years and this year I doubled the batch. Even friends who claim that they don’t care for fruitcake will take a second slice. Thank you for this! I cut back a little on the molasses and add a bit of maple syrup.

Anna Joudrey

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Made this today. The smell was fabulous throughout the house. My sister swears by your recipes. And I really wanted to try this. Lost my Grandmother Barlows recipe, so fingers crossed it looks very much like hers.

Lillian Gear

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Made the Old English Dark Fruit cake and it turned out great. I want to make another but would like to know if I can use Cake and Pastry Flour in place of AP flour? I need to use up the C&P flour I have on hand.

Lillian Gear

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Can I use cake and pastry flour instead of AP flour in making the Old English dark fruit cake?

Santhana Michael

Friday 19th of November 2021

Last year this recipe was a wonderful success!! Thank you for that.

This year I have got requests for more. So I am planning to bake them in 6 * 2 inch round cake pans. How long do you think they will take?

Also does it matter if I put 4 - 6 inch round cake pans inside the oven at the same time?

Santhana

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