Dark Fruitcake


Yes, it’s time. I decided that Tuesday night was as good as any to take on a large baking project – and particularly one that required me to strongarm copious quantities of batter from bowls to pans, and plenty of chopping.


My family has been making this dark fruitcake for years; it’s a low-maintenance fruitcake, not requiring aging or brushing with liquor, loaded with dried fruit and nuts – apricots, figs, cherries, dates, citron – not a green glacé candied cherry in sight. Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, the 1997 edition – the edition is important, as there are completely different dark fruitcakes in different editions. (And no, it doesn’t call for eggs.)


We don’t brush it with booze, as my mom doesn’t like things boozy – nor did we as kids, when we used Welch’s grape juice in the batter. But feel free to brush it with brandy or rum and wrap it in cheesecloth, then seal in plastic or a cake tin – whatever you like to do with your fruitcakes.

Dark Fruitcake


November 10, 2016


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup dark molasses

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

3/4 cup brandy, rum, red wine, or grape or orange juice

2 1/2 cups mixed dried or candied fruit of your choice (cranberries, cherries, dates, figs, dark raisins, apricots, candied orange peel)

2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts and/or pecans

1 1/2 cup dates

1 1/2 cup currants

1 1/2 cup golden raisins


1Preheat the oven to 300°F, and grease a Bundt or tube pan or a few loaf pans really well; coat with flour and tap out the excess.

2In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until light and creamy. Beat in the molasses and orange and lemon zest and juice.

3Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the brandy, rum or juice in 2 parts. Stir in the fruits and nuts and scrape into the pan.

4Bake for 3 1/2 hours. Joy instructs: “The cake may appear done at 2 1/2 hours; simply ignore this.” If the cake is darkening too quickly on top, cover it loosely with foil for the last 30-60 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then invert onto a plate. Store well wrapped at room temperature.


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5 comments on “Dark Fruitcake

  1. Leslie Creech
    November 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Julie, are the measurements for the dried fruit correct? A total of 7 cups of dried fruit seems like a lot.

  2. Krishna
    April 30, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Hi.Greetings from Singapore…Julie i saw your dark fruit cake it looks so delicious…im staying Singapore..is it possible for to buy a 2 pounder fruit cake..hope i csn…rgds apoi…

  3. acklema persaud
    November 6, 2018 at 7:47 am

    No eggs?

  4. Robert Beauchamp
    December 28, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Followed the recipe diligently did every step exactly as described , had to throw it in garbage it was as hard as rock, never again maybe they forgot the eggs.

    • Julie
      December 30, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Oh no, sorry to hear it! The recipe actually doesn’t contain eggs.

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