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A traditional fruitcake is a must-have Christmas cake. Loaded with delicious moist fruits such as raisins, sultanas, cherries, and currants soaked in brandy overnight. This is a simple and easy dark fruitcake recipe that does not need much preparation.

Sliced fruitcake on a plate.
Fruit Cake – Rich Dark Recipe

The fruits used below are quite traditional but can be substituted for other dried fruits such as dates, cranberries, and more fruit peels. The alcohol used is again traditional but can be substituted with orange or cranberry juice for a non-alcoholic fruitcake recipe.

Apart from Christmas, a fruitcake is perfect for wedding cakes, christening cakes, and communion cakes during the year. Traditionally, a fruitcake would be iced with marzipan and royal icing. The modern approach these days is to ice it with marzipan and then cover it with fondant instead of royal icing.

A fruitcake makes perfect gifts to family and friends during Christmas and festive celebrations. As well as edible favors for weddings and other celebrations such as christening and communion.  Instead of baking it in a 9-inch round pan bake them in these mini loaf pans. The baking time will be reduced considerably so check them at about 20 minutes.

Ingredients and substitues

  • Flour – I use only plain, all-purpose flour (maida). But, you substitute ½ cup flour with either semolina/rawa.
  • Butter – I like to use unsalted butter but you can use salted butter and omit salt in the recipe
  • Sugar – today, I am using white sugar but light brown sugar does add a wonderful caramel flavor from the molasses
  • Fruits -dried rainsins, sultanas, currents, glace cherries and fruits are most commonly used but I love the additon of dried figs, apricots, dates, and cranberries
  • Nuts – a combination of almonds and cashews are very common but walnuts, hazelnuts and macadamia are very delicious too
  • Treacle – Treacle is what makes this a dark fruitcake. If you do not have treacle you can omit it but the fruitcake will not be dark brown. More plain ivory. You can use 1 tbsp cocoa powder for color but do note that you may end up with a slight chocolate taste. Some love it very much. Personally, I like to keep it traditional and leave the cocoa powder out.
Slight fruitcake on a plate.
Fruit Cake – Rich Dark Recipe

Sliced fruitcake on a plate.

Dark Fruitcake Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Calories: 263kcal
Adjust Servings Here: 25 slices


A traditional fruitcake is a must-have Christmas cake. Loaded with delicious moist fruits such as raisins, sultanas, cherries, and currants soaked in brandy overnight. This is a simple and easy dark fruitcake recipe that does not need much preparation



  • 400 grams (14 oz) Raisins
  • 400 grams (14 oz) Sultanas
  • 400 grams (14 oz) Currents
  • 200 grams (7 oz) Candied peel / mixed peel
  • 200 grams (7 oz) Cherries
  • 300 ml (1.25 cups) Brandy

Cake Batter

  • 4 large Eggs
  • 170 grams (6 oz) Butter unsalted
  • 250 grams (2 cups) All-purpose Flour
  • 200 grams (¾ cups) Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon zest
  • 1/2 tbsp Treacle
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Alcohol for feeding

  • 240 ml (1 cups) Brandy


Soak Fruits (preferably overnight)

  • In a large bowl, combine the fruits and alcohol. Mix well.
    Pro tip – Use a glass mason jar or stainless steel bowl. Do not use aluminum or copper as it will react with the alcohol.
  • Soak the fruits on the counter for an hour up to overnight or in the fridge for up to six months.
    Pro tip – I highly recommend giving it at least an hour to soften the fruits. The resulting cake will be very moist.
  • When ready to use drain the fruit from alcohol. The remaining brandy can be used for feeding the cake after it has been baked. 
    Pro tip – the fruits will be very very soft so handle them carefully.

Fruit cake batter

  • Preheat the oven at 320°F/ 165°C/ Gas mark 3. And line a 9-inch round or 7-inch square cake pan with parchment paper twice.
    Pro tip – Line the pan once – spay it and line it again. This will prevent the outside of the cake from drying while the center cooks slowly. 
  • Dry ingredients – Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. 
  • Wet ingredients – Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add treacle, orange zest, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, followed by the eggs one at a time
  • Dry to wet – Add the flour mixture followed by the drained fruits. Combine well but do not overmix.
    Pro tip – we do not want the fruits to sink to the bottom and the best way to do that is to prevent overmixing.
  • Bake – Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 60 o 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean.
  • Cool – When baked cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert on a cooling rack to cool completely. 
    Pro tip – if you do not plan to feed the cake some of the remaining brandy can be poured onto the cake as soon as the cake is out of the oven.

Feeding the fruitcake (optional)

  • Remove parchment baking paper around the cake.  Gently poke holes in the cake with clean toothpicks or skewers.
  • Pour the 4 tbsp brandy all over the cake. Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. Store it in a cool dry place. Feed the cake with 4 tbsp brandy once every 10 days for up to 3 months.
    Pro tip – You can also feed the cake once every month if you do not want to make it too boozy.

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Nutrition Information
Nutrition Facts
Dark Fruitcake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 263 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 32mg1%
Potassium 443mg13%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 50IU1%
Vitamin C 2.8mg3%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

Keywords – Cake, Christmas, Desserts, Fruit, Pudding
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  1. This looks like a great recipe, but there’s no amount for the butter, salt or sugar in the ingredients list. Can you supply this? I’d like to try out the recipe.
    Thanks. Christine

    1. Sorry, Christine. Not sure why this comment went to spam. There is 170 grams of butter in this recipe. Thanks

  2. Hello Veena Azmanov,
    I am 73 years old and I have never made a cake before until just over 3 years, when I made a fruit cake for a friends birthday and the feedback from people had been excellent, and requests for more cake came along then more and more,, I would like to change my fruitcake but keep the sizes more or less the same size just a change in some ingredients, hence here I am asking you as a professional cake maker if there could be any tweaking I could possibly do to enhance my fruit cakes, the cakes I have made so far have been pool tables, Guitar, 20 kg square 2ft x 2ft anniversary cake with a separate heart cake on top, not to mention all those Christmas cakes, my question is.
    Can I substitute the Brown sugar for ordinary White sugar to make it a white cake, yet keeping all the other ingredients the same and my method of mixing the same, I do not put treacle in my fruit cakes unless they are for Christmas, I have looked at your white fruit cake, and it looks delicious, but I was hoping I could maintain my same methods as I am trying to do white fruit cakes for birthdays.
    Would that be possible or would it not work.
    Thank you for your time.

    1. Hey Michael. I am so sorry that you comment went to the spam folder. I just saw it. It’s probably late to reply but I will in any case.
      You can change brown sugar to while but the cake texture will be less soft
      You can omit treacle but the cake won’t have that black color. So it might be what you want – white fruit cake.
      I hope this helps

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