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Dark Fruit Cake Recipe & Video

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This Dark Fruit Cake is loaded with candied and dried fruits as well as chopped nuts. It is flavored with ground spices and a little molasses which colors the batter a beautiful golden brown. Once baked it is repeatedly brushed with alcohol, over a few weeks, which imparts a lovely flavor and makes the cake wonderfully moist. The added bonus is that the alcohol acts as a preservative so the cake can be stored for ages and ages.


For this Fruit Cake I used a combination of candied mixed peel and candied cherries (can use either red and/or green). Candied fruit is preserved fruit that has been dipped several times in a concentrated sugar syrup. This process preserves the fruit's original color and shape, while giving it a smooth and shiny coating, a very sweet taste, with a firm and slightly chewy texture. There is also dried fruit in the cake and while I use either dark or golden raisins, you could use dried cranberries or cherries, dates, figs, etc. And for the chopped nuts you can use walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, or brazil nuts.

A few things about this recipe are worth mentioning. You could adjust the amounts of candied fruit and dried fruit. By that I mean, if you would prefer more dried fruit, reduce the amount of candied fruit. Once the cake is baked and cool, brush it with a few tablespoons of alcohol (brandy, sherry, rum, whiskey, etc.). Or if you want it alcohol free, you could brush it will fruit juice, although the cake will not keep as long because alcohol acts as a preservative.

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Dark Fruit Cake: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 inch (21.5 x 11.5 x 7.5 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, and then butter or spray the parchment paper with a non stick vegetable spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground spices. Stir in the candied and dried fruits, and chopped nuts.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Next, whisk in the melted butter, brown sugar, milk (or juice), and molasses (or honey). Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula.

Bake for about 70 - 85 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (If you find the cake is browning too much during baking, cover with a piece of foil.) Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, with a toothpick or skewer, poke holes into the top surface of the cake and brush with 2-3 tablespoons of alcohol (brandy, Grand Marnier, sherry, rum, whiskey, etc). Let the cake cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in a cake tin or plastic bag. Store in a cool dry place. (If you live in a warm climate I find it best to store the cake in the refrigerator.) Brush the cake periodically (once or twice a week for about two to three weeks) with alcohol. This cake will keep weeks or it can be frozen.

Makes one loaf.

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Dark Fruit Cake:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup (120 grams) candied mixed peel

1/2 cup (100 grams) candied red and/or green cherries (cut into quarters)

1/2 cup (60 grams) dark or golden raisins

1/2 cup (50 grams) chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazil nuts, and/or hazelnuts)

2 large eggs (100 grams out of shell), at room temperature

1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) milk or fruit juice, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (30 grams) molasses (or honey)

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