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Over the last several years, people suggested that I write a book of fruit desserts. I point out, helpfully, that I already have, but every year a few books of fruit desserts come out, mostly relating to pies or crisps and cobblers. So it was interesting to see one devoted solely to cakes, called (appropriately) Fruit Cake: Recipes for the Curious Baker.

But no need to worry that it’s a book of Christmas cakes with sticky green cherries in them. It’s by Jason Schreiber, a food stylist and recipe developer, who dreamed up with seventy-five cakes that feature fruit, everything from Key Lime Meringue Cake to a tropical fruit Panettone. There are also Pineapple Breakfast Cakes, his riff on the classic Sachertorte with chocolate and apricots, and a Jamaican Black Cake, that caught my eye for a number of reasons.

I’ve been intrigued by Jamaican Black Cake ever since I had a slice at a local restaurant. It was like a moist gingerbread, but loaded with bits and bites of dried and candied fruit, and yup, a good amount of rum. Since we’re all adults here (we’re using rum, right?) we can dismiss any notions or jokes about fruitcakes since Panforte and others fall into the “serious” category, and you won’t find any sticky green cherries in this one. (Unless you put them there.)

I did some scooting around looking at recipes for Jamaican Black Cake, and found a few examples in some of my cookbooks in my library, and some online. I made a few; some were soft and gooey, like a steamed pudding, others were more cake-like. Some were soaked in wine (through one blog post I learned about Red Label Wine), others used in cherry brandy, but most involved rum. Origins were traced to the British Caribbean, and its similarity to both steamed pudding and gingerbread does suggest that. A few of the recipes didn’t quite work, so I was interested in Jason’s version.

For its black color, “browning” or burnt sugar syrup is typically used. I found some recipes online, which were basically caramel, so I suspect the real deal is something more nuanced and special. Unfortunately the bottled ones sold online are out-of-reach (as in, three thousand miles away) so I went with blackstrap molasses as Jason suggested, which is stronger than the light molasses that’s normally used in baking. It’s darker and a lot more bitter.

Since it’s an adults-only cake, if you want to make it extra grown-up, after it’s baked and cooled, you can swaddle the cake in rum-soaked cheesecloth or étamine (muslin cloth), as I did, and let it mellow for a few weeks where it gets better and better. And better. I was hoping to save mine for the holidays but I’ve been lopping off slices every few days – okay, every day – so will give it another go. It’s worth returning to.

Black Fruitcake

Adapted from Fruit Cake: Recipes for the Curious Baker by Jason Schreiber
It's typical to find cakes like this that use burnt sugar syrup. You can buy it online at Kalustyan's and Amazon. I've seen recipes online, although most of them look like caramel, which I don't believe is quite the same thing. I used the molasses sold at the natural food stores in France, which I think is (or tastes close to) blackstrap molasses, which is often sold in the molasses aisle alongside the regular mild varieties of molasses. Black treacle can also be used.
Course Dessert
Servings 10 Servings

For the dried fruit

  • 1/2 cup (50g) dried unsweetened (sweet or sour) cherries
  • 1/3 cup (90g) prunes, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 cup (80g) raisins
  • 1/2 cup (90g) candied orange or lemon peel, diced
  • 1/4 cup (35g) dried currants
  • 4-5 tablespoons (60-75ml) dark rum

For the cake

  • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 ounces (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon aromatic bitters, (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) blackstrap molasses, (regular molasses can also be used)
  • 3/4 cup (80g) walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) dark rum, for aging the cake, plus more if desired
  • Mix the dried cherries, prunes, raisins, candied orange peel, and currants in a jar. Pour 4 tablespoons of rum over the fruit. If they aren't covered with rum, or if your fruits are on the dry side, add the additional tablespoon. Cover the jar, shake it and let the fruit sit for at least 24 hours or up to one week. (Although you can let it sit for longer.)
  • To make the cake, preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC.) Butter an 8 1/2- to 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan. For extra insurance, you can line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a large bowl using a spatula, beat the butter and brown sugar on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer after adding each egg to scrape down the sides.
  • Stir in the vanilla, aromatic bitters (if using) and molasses. The batter may appear a bit curdled. If so, beat it on high speed for a few minutes which will aerate it and bring it back together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the flour mixture by hand, mixing it only until the dry ingredients are abotu three-quarters combined. Fold in the rum-soaked fruits (they should have soaked up most or all of the rum; if there is a small amount of rum in the jar, like a tablespoon or less, add that to the batter, too) as well as the walnuts and stir just until combined but do not overmix.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. (The original recipe said 1 hour, 45 minutes, but mine was done sooner, which may be because my loaf pan is narrower and higher than a typical loaf pan.) Remove from the oven and use a toothpick to poke about 50 holes in the top. Pour the 1/3 cup of rum all over the cake. Let the cake cool completely.


You can "feed" the cake by wrapping it in cheesecloth or muslin that's been soaked in dark rum and putting the cake in an airtight container at room temperature. Check the cake every few days and tipple a tablespoon or two of rum over the cake if it dries out. Mine was wrapped in rum-soaked cloth for three weeks, kept in a plastic container, and it did just fine. (You can find some tips here which describes the process using parchment paper and tin.) There's a picture of the cake that I took a few weeks later after the recipe, and you can see how much it's changed after absorbing extra rum, with the ingredients in the cake melding nicely together.
Not sure how long you can continue to keep the cake that way (the USDA says traditional fruitcake can be kept 3 months in the refrigerator, up to a year in the freezer), but I can say for a fact that it will keep at least three weeks. If you keep it longer, let me know in the comments!



    • Tanya

    My mom started her fruits last week for her cake. I’ve never seen the cake made in a loaf pan, usually in rounds, but hey, why not? I used to dislike this cake — and still do — when the candied fruits are left in huge chunks. My mom’s compromise? Chop them down into tiny bits so they still impart their flavour but aren’t offensively present.
    I love warming slices of the cake and serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream… So good!

    • elena

    Thank you David for sharing :). I was wondering if it would work with gluten free flour. Thanks. Elena

    • Linda Hollander

    I kept looking for Laurie Colwin’s name as it was she who introduced me to the miracle that is Jamaican black cake in her memoirs, ever so many years ago. I made it twice and swore I would make it every year, but life intervened.
    Hers takes several week to make, and I wish I could tell you more, but I’ve just moved and God only know where, in about six boxes of cookbooks, that one resides! RIP, Laurie. I loved you, and I’m going to make black cake this year! What else do I have to do?

      • Nancy McMahon-Cox

      It’s in Home Cooking, an excellent book. And an excellent recipe but I never remember to start it in time. I’m going to try this one. I can’t get the proper burnt sugar syrup now that I live in the sticks. Blackstrap molasses is easy to come by. Thanks David but do check out Laurie’s version

      • Lisa Barr

      I also immediately thought of Laurie Colwin when I saw Jamaican black cake. Her recipe appears in Home Cooking, although I’ve never made it. As much as I adore Laurie Colwin, her recipes can be a bit vague, so I’m going to try David’s version. Also, Laurie’s calls for a long aging.

      • Leu2500

      Another Laurie Colwin fan here

      Her recipe includes how to make the burnt syrup, which I’d say is not caramel

      • Carol

      Laurie Colwin’s recipe rocks! I have made it a couple of times; the first time the fruit macerated for many months. It makes ALOT of batter so I end up with a larger cake and several small ones for sharing. It is awesome and worth the wait and the effort!!

      • Grace from Vancouver

      YES !!!!!! Laurie Colwin. She wrote about it in Gourmet Magazine many years ago then included it in her compilation of recipes and anecdotes in a book. I have made her cake every year.

    • Jeansdaughter

    Thanks for this recipe David, I will enjoy trying it. Despite your somewhat disparaging views of English fruit cakes I have to say that this Jamaican version is very like the recipes I use – the main variation being in the chosen fruits and liquor. I made one today using nocino which I think will taste pretty good on Christmas Eve!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I didn’t say anything negative about English fruit cakes. (In fact, I like them, as well as most traditional British desserts.) Let me know what phrase gave that impression and I’ll update it as that wasn’t my intention.

        • Linda

        I made this soon after you posted the recipe. My husband and I liked it so much that I’m making another! Hope we can make it last At least three weeks this time!

    • Jeansdaughter

    I think it was the reference to sticky green cherries that immediately conjured up visions of overly sweet versions I have encountered from time to time! I overread to confirm my own prejudices. A great fruitcake is a joy for well, if not ever then a very long time. I believe slices of Queen Victoria’s wedding cake were served at the christenings and marriages of several generations. I vaguely remember reading that Princess Elizabeth was served a piece at her wedding. I don’t think it every dies so long as it is properly stored but it never gets a chance in my house!

    • Julie Hock

    Hello David, I was interested in this recipe, using molasses is a great idea. When I make Christmas cake, I start off with all the fruit and nuts in a bucket and generously douse this mix with brandy, sometimes a bit of sherry also. This is stirred daily for several weeks and really is decadent by the time I’m ready to bake. I just add the flour, a couple of eggs, and some melted butter, spices etc. Once baked, I paint the cake on a regular basis with more brandy and wrap it like a baby in swaddling clothes. By the time Christmas comes around it’s luscious. Lasts for ages. I also use an exotic collection of Glace fruits. the most luxe of cakes.

      • Laura Morland

      Wow, Julie — that sounds amazing! It also looks as if it’s already too late to -make a truly decadent cake in time for Christmas.

      Question: where do you get your “Glace fruits”? Are you in France?

        • Diane

        Hi David, if I can get hold of the burnt sugar syrup, is it a one to one replacement for the blackstrap molasses? Thank you!

          • Jane

          I made it yesterday with burnt sugar syrup I bought on Etsy and I replaced one to one. Worked perfectly!

          • Robyn Tillman

          Browning can be found in most Caribbean grocery stores. It’s time consuming to make and often doesn’t taste as good.

        • Julie Hock

        Most of the fruits are either Italian candied peel, or Australian dried mango, Papaya and pineapple. All very sweet but meld well. I am in Melbourne, Australia. Sri Lankan Love cake is another wonderful celebration cake – one recipe I read took 24 eggs. Made in enormous quantities!

    • Nanci Courtney

    My mother made a fruit cake much like this – though she was guilty of candied green cherries. She would make them in June and wrap them in cheesecloth. They got a once a week spray with rum and stayed on a shelf in the basement, wrapped in foil. She declared them ‘ripened’ just after Thanksgiving. They were delicious!!

    • Chris Foulkes

    This is pretty similar to an English rich fruit cake, but with more bitterness added, which is surely a good thing.
    Rich fruit cakes last forever, even when kept at room temperature.
    A common tradition is to make a tiered wedding cake using multiple fruit cakes and to keep the smallest cake under the bed, for the christening of the first child. We did this – and by the time of the party the cake was over two years old and delicious. I was living in Paris at the time, and my french wife’s family were suitably horrified, but that was their reaction to most English recipes so I just ignored them.

      • Joan

      I love this comment. Thanks for making me laugh out loud.
      I see no problem with holding a cake for two years…

      • Judy

      We were in Wales at Christmas time a few years ago, and we stopped at a bakery on a walk one day. They proudly displayed newspaper articles featuring a huge, tiered fruitcake they had made for Prince Charles & Diana’s wedding. They told us that many bakeries in England contributed cakes for the wedding, which are typically shared with wedding guests and the public alike. They also said their cake was the only one that the bride & groom ate.

    • Wesley

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I can’t wait to try it!

    • RVM

    David, decades ago, Laurie Colwin wrote a piece in Gourmet (back when the mag lived up to its name) on Black Cake. I have saved it since. Hers was a good story, as always, but you may also be interested in that recipe.

      • Victoria DiNardo

      I still have that recipe torn out from Gourmet and now in a plastic sleeve! It was in the late 80’s I think, and I made it that year and most years since. It’s a wonderful version and it wins over people who scoff at the idea of fruit cake.
      I tried following her instructions for making the “burnt”syrup by reducing dark brown sugar for many years and it was fine but tricky. I finally found burnt syrup in a Jamaican store and it does make a difference- and it’s so much easier! Now I order it from Amazon. And I don’t finish the cakes with Royal icing as she did, but use a layer of marzipan. It keeps as long as you can keep it around!
      David- love Drinking French! I bought the hard copy – and then I had to buy the Kindle version so it could travel!

        • David
        David Lebovitz

        Hi Victoria,
        Thanks so much and glad you’re enjoying the book (and have a copy for travel…too!)

          • Victoria DiNardo

          You never know when you might need to make a cocktail! Cheers!

        • Ann M Munson

        The black cake recipe is also in Laurie Colwin’s book Home Cooking on page 180.

      • Mani

      Hey david I came across your recipe while browsing the pinterest. I use Rose’s version of fruit cake and we love it. I have tried many version in the last many decades and have chosen to stay with Rose’s recipe. It is tooo good. I bake Christmas rum cake till valentine’s and after that as a family tradition we chop the raisins, cherries , figs and dates soak them in rum to be used in December . It’s become our family tradition now and I love it.

      • Teresa Segadelli

      Hello RVM…I have been searching for that Black Cake Gourmert article for a long time!! I was in the catering business back in the 80’s so I knew it appeared during that decade
      I would LOVE to find it if you know the month/year Gourmet I can probably find it. Thanks!! Teresa

        • Victoria DiNardo

        I just looked at the recipe from the magazine- November 1988 issue of Gourmet. Good luck!

        • Victoria DiNardo

        Also, the piece is also in a compilation of her writing – I think it was “Home Cooking”. You might look for that.

    • Genie

    I had a friend who gave me a delicious very dense homemade fruitcake every year. I would immediate poke holes in it and pour about 3/4c rum over the top. Wrap it back up in the wax paper and foil it came in and place it in the fridge. At which time I would take the previous year’s cake out and enjoy for the current Christmas season.

    • Annabelle Lenderink

    This is the celebratory cake “Bolo Pretu” of my native island Curacao!
    Christenings, weddings and Xmas,
    If a wedding then the top tier of the (iced) cake would be saved for the christening of the first baby, usually the next year.
    Thank you David as this is the best looking recipe I have seen so far.

    • Becky

    Ditto to everyone’s remarks above about the keeping qualities of alcohol laced fruitcake. My mother made them every year the first of October, soaked them until Christmas in a variety of alcohols, and then we ate on them until they were gone. I think the oldest fruitcake I have eaten (kept at room temp) was about 6 months old. It was delicious! Thank you, David, for this recipe. I need to try this!

      • Iva Wilcox

      I too have made Laurie Colwin’s recipe from Gourmet magazine, with the icing and all. It is delicious but takes a long time to process. Since I haven’t started any cakes this year, your recipe has inspired me to make your version It will be done well before Christmas and have extra time to soak up all that booze. I love seeing your blog notice in my email inbox with your yummy recipes. Thank you!

    • Ally Davis

    That looks delicious and I am going to make it this week. Looks like the flavors are deep and rich!

      • Sara

      Hi there, the recipe is almost spot on for a Jamaican black cake but we tend to use Jamaican white overproof rum both in the mixture and to also ‘feed the cake’ as well as red label wine which you have mentioned, we also tend to blend the fruits after soaking and we like our cakes just a bit darker and I am aware that your recipe has been adapted but I just wanted to mention the use of white rum especially, as it makes the cake so delicious, almond extract also gives a great flavour, really hope that people will try your recipe as for us it’s not the holidays without a lovely slice of black fruit cake, Happy Holidays!

        • Robyn Tillman

        Yes and most Jamaicans don’t put nuts in their cakes.

    • Anne

    OHMYGOD <3

    It looks so good :) I will try it. Merci :)

    • Shellie

    We baked 160 dark fruitcakes for a fundraiser at our church. It’s somewhat similar but no alcohol unless the buyer adds it at a later date. They are very popular and always baked in a loaf pan, maybe that’s a Canadian thing?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I did a quick image search on Google for “fruitcake” and the first 6-8 results were for rectangular cakes baked in loaf pans. I do know some are baked in ring molds as well but I suspect they vary based on country, culture, and/or what’s available.

    • Clair Beckmann

    Have used a version where you soak the fruit in wine/rum mix for a month then make the cake with brown sugar/water reduction, this is way easier. I kept mine for six months unrefrigerated just fine-it was previously ‘fed’ with loads of rum brushed and dribbled on…ALWAYS love your recipes.

    • gail

    First your ice cream, now Drinking French: I’m a fan! A few years ago my English friend shared her nana’s charmingly handwritten recipe and after having Loved it, although I am a serious cook who Never bakes, I decided to make several for Christmas. So when the batter seemed dry and I was left staring at lots of unused milk, I just shrugged. Oops, she had forgotten to mention that the handwriting omitted the second milk addition…and all the loaves despite many additions of booze were never edible. Today, however, I will tackle Yours…..wish me luck!

    • Michele Garrigan

    David, I’ve got a Grenadian Black Cake mellowing (and being fed) now. The recipes I looked at all had you grind the macerated fruits with their soaking liquor to a thick puree. Which I did. Was one of your earlier efforts done that way and rejected? I’m hoping I haven’t wasted a kilo of fruit etc!

    • Linda

    Thank you for this recipe. When I was a kid, my dear aunt used to make a similar fruitcake and always gave one to us. She was a church lady, so it wasn’t laced with rum, but it was delicious nonetheless. I looked forward to this gift from her every year. I will definitely try the recipe a try and attempt to relive my childhood, only my dark fruitcake will have the rum!

      • Faye Lavrakas

      Could I use orange juice in place of the rum?

        • Suzanne Forbes

        I’m wondering the same thing! I love all things that go in fruitcake, like candied fruit and dark sugars, but I’m clean and sober 31 years, so I won’t be making any cakes with rum, even though I’m an adult. I have wondered for decades – what happens if you make a fruit cake but don’t “feed” it? So you just let it sit wrapped airtight for a couple days to let the spice meld, then eat it. Is it dry? Is the fruit inside hard? Is it good? I wouldn’t feed it orange juice, that would definitely be a food safety issue. But could you feed it – sugar syrup? Inquiring minds want to know.

          • David
          David Lebovitz

          You can make it and skip the alcohol. The dried fruits can be plumped in either apple juice or perhaps try one of the new non-alcoholic “spirits” on the market, and that same spirit can be used for soaking. It’s not vital to feed the cake and the alcohol (I believe) is necessary to preserve the cake for a longer period.

    • Aideen

    Milk in a fruit cake sounds very odd to me! I always bake my mother’s traditional fruit cake for Christmas – no milk at all. I then cover it with thick homemade marzipan and royal icing and decorate with the family collection of little Santas and reindeer. Naff but delicious! Always gone by jan 6th.

      • Stephan

      Thank you for the mention of marzipan. When I was a teenager, a neighbor, who was from Canada, gifted us with a fruitcake that had a half-inch layer of marzipan across the top. It was delicious. The combination of that and the fruitcake complemented each other perfectly. When I asked her about it, she simply said, “That’s how we do it in Canada.” To this day, it was still the best fruitcake I’ve ever had.

    • Kelly

    My husband loves fruitcake, the cheap kind you can buy in a tin here in the States, which I’ve always found a bit odd and have teased him about through the years. If I make him this recipe I bet he’ll forgive me for all the teasing. He’ll be especially impressed by the extensive process of preparing the fruits beforehand. This will be a great Christmas gift! And if he doesn’t like it, I’ll just eat it all myself. Thanks David.

    • Vinita Thapa

    Can I keep the cake at room temperature for days if am living in a tropical weather conditions all the year round ? Or do I keep it in the fridge wrapped in a rum soaked muslin cloth…

      • Robyn Tillman

      I’m from Jamaica and we leave ours in a tin in a closet for months as long as it’s in a tin or air tight container and has plenty of alcohol in the cake it will be alright.

    • Julie Yax

    Hi David. I’m assuming I could use either brandy, cognac or whisky. I just have any rum. What do you think is a good substitute?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Sure, it just depends on what flavor you prefer. I personally would probably go with cognac of the three you mentioned.

      • Vicki Goldstein

      My Mom used bourbon.

    • Judy

    James Beard included several fruitcake recipes in ‘Delights and Prejudices’. As a novice baker back in the early 70’s I made one (no cherries at all) which I soaked in cognac for several months. The only fan was my father who loved fruitcake and used to detour to Claxton, Georgia on his way from NYC to FL to buy their famous fruitcake. Beard also included a white fruitcake recipe from Let, his mother’s cook.

    • Suchi

    This is what I am making on weekend. Soaking fruits today. Growing up I ate plum cake in India but it was actually a fruit cake.

      • Andrew Buchanan

      Your comment brought back memories of Swamey’s wonderful fruitcake from his shop in Camp, Belgaum!

    • Vicki Goldstein

    My mother made hers in August. WE ate it at Christmas and nobody died! She kept it in a 5 gallon tin can ( 6 cakes in bread pans) in a closet off the kitchen…I can remember going down town with her to buy the fruit(green cherries, red, candied pineapple) in old building with a wooden floor in Akron Ohio. Everything now gone, my mom, the building, the making of the cake. Oddly enough, the recipe she used was swedish, but rich and tart and mostly fruit.. She coated the fruit in flour before baking for 3 hours at 300degrees. …Instructions say “Do not use wine. It will mold”. This recipe sounds like a modern upgrade and sounds delicious. Maybe it doesn’t need 6 months to “cure”.

      • Serena

      I inherited the fruitcake baking responsibilities when my grandfather died. I tried many different recipes and techniques but ended up back on his recipe (from a very old Sunset magazine I think) I have changed it a bit over the years and it is mostly dried fruits and nuts held together with barely any eggs/flour/sugar then soaked in alcohol. We always hold a couple loaves over for the following Christmas (if they are hidden well in the back of the fridge) and eat the new year’s loaf alongside the last years. The aged loaf is always way better And since I am the keeper of the fruit cakes I can gift them or use them as bribes throughout the year – the aged loaves are very prized by friends and family

    • Jen Kalb

    I made the Laurie Colwin recipe as well as a version for caribbean black cake printed in the NY Times in the 70s and finally Maida Heatter’s fine recipe for Pearl’s Southamption Fruitcake for many years. Usually the recipes produced 4 large cakes and were refrigerated or frozen after making. Well soaked in alcohol (the last mentioned is soaked in brandy and Grand Marnier or Cointreau) and carefully wrapped these cakes will last frozen for years, literally.

    • aurore chrétien

    Je fais des gateaux 2 fois durant l année. J utilise différents alcool .
    Triple sec . Brandy . Rhum . Finalement ce que j ai a la maison . Un seul choix d alcool par recette . Les fruits macerent 2 semaines . Puis je rajoute 1 cuillère d alcool chaque semaine . Lorsque je prépare les gateaux près de Noel je conserve au frigo seulement ensuite je congèle . Pour résister a la tentation d en manger tout les jours
    J utilise ananas . Ecorce d orange et de citron . Gingembre et noix de brésil .

    • Sarah McCandliss

    My mother, born and raised in Los Angeles with a Welch mom and German papa, made a wonderful fruitcake that she baked in October, swathed in strips of old cotton bed sheets, and regularly fed with brandy until Christmas. The thing that no one else has mentioned is that it was always served with a delicious “hard sauce.” David, do you have a recipe for Hard Sauce?

      • Jane

      We used to have hard sauce with mince pies, or apple pie. Very simple: 1/3 C room temp butter creamed thoroughly, then gradually beat in 1 C confectioner’s sugar until as light as whipped cream, then 1/2 tsp vanilla drop by drop. Small amt of bourbon very nice. (Fanny Farmer 11th ed. 1965)

        • Jan

        I grew up with brown sugar hard sauce. I’m sure the recipe is in most traditional cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer Boston cookbook.

        We had it on a very dark persimmon cake that was served warm. It was baked in an 8 x 8 pan and was about an inch and a quarter “tall”. Have never been able to find a persimmon cake recipe like that one; I lost my mother’s When my brother and I inherited her recipes.

        When I went to college and lived in an apartment, I made a recipe of brown sugar hard sauce, Left it in the refrigerator and ate a spoonful now and then. I didn’t bother with the persimmon cake!

          • Jan

          Please excuse inappropriate capitals: the result of pausing when dictating a post.

      • Constance

      hi Sarah, hard sauce (brandy butter) is most often eaten w/christmas pudding or mince pies but every family has their traditions, it makes the world interesting :)
      150 gr (2/3 c) unsalted butter
      150 gr (1.5 c) icing (powdered) sugar
      2 TBSP brandy or rum OR
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      beat butter for a minute or so w/electric mixer, add sugar, beat til light and pale then add brandy a little at a time so it doesn’t curdle. Don’t panic if it does, beat in a small amount of icing sugar & it will come together again. Keep in fridge, can be frozen.

      • Grace from Vancouver

      Look up hard sauce on Delia Smith’s web site. I made her christmas pudding ( which is ripening at present) and plan to serve it with Hard Sauce.

    • Robert Kilmer

    David, do you think this cake could be mad in a decorative bundt pan, if I spray with olive oil and then spray baking flour? Thanks for this recipe. sounds delicious.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Perhaps but some of those bundt pans that haven intricate designs have sharp creases and crevasses and batter can get stuck in them. In his book Jason recommends and has a recipe for something called “pan goo” which is a non-stick coating for cake pans, which might help, although since I was just using a loaf pan, I didn’t make it.

    • Jane

    Just ordered burnt sugar from Etsy. Made in Jamaica. Said it is for making Black cake! Fingers crossed I’ll have a black cake on Christmas Day. Though that might be rushing it.

    • Anne Reevely

    How many eggs? This recipe sounds wonderful. I’ll try it for next Christmas because we all lo-o-ve fruitcake.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      2 large eggs

        • Anne Reevely

        Thanks for your prompt response and for making that correction to the recipe. I love reading your blog and your recipes always turn out successfully. I’ve enjoyed all your books as well because of your entertaining and personal commentary about the recipes. Happy Holidays!

          • David
          David Lebovitz

          They were in the ingredient list : ) I checked & they were in there.. Glad you are enjoying the recipe and hope you have good holiday(s) too!

    • Fede

    Can you please comment on aluminum-free baking powder?
    something totally new to me

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Most brands of baking powder have aluminum added, which gives them a tinny taste, at least to me. So I always use aluminum-free and recommend it. I linked to a blog post I wrote about it if you’d like to know more.

    • Susan

    I have a friend from Trinidad who makes a black fruitcake. She grinds up the dried fruit and incorporates it into the batter. She gives me a generous chunk of her fruitcake every year and it is AMAZING! Maybe that’s the rum talking :)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes I’ve seen recipes that have you grind up the dried fruit partially. I would imagine they’re rather dense…but delicious!

        • Maureen

        This article started me down a Google and YouTube rabbit hole, first for purchasing burnt sugar syrup, next for how to make it, and then being pulled into watching many, many videos of black cake preparation. I made one of the recipes that seemed most representative of the traditional Caribbean black cake – with the partially ground fruit. It has the most amazing light and springy texture – not at all dense. I’ve never had a fruitcake like it.

    • Stevie

    Possible to divide into several small loaf pans? Wan to to try this!

      • David
      David Lebovitz


    • Cooking in Mexico

    I have made the black fruitcake before, but my favorite remains a traditional fruitcake, albeit with dried fruit, not candied. However, your recipe prompted me to prepare the dried fruit and marinate in brandy, something I don’t usually do. Because of this step, I expect to have a Christmas fruitcake more flavorful than years past. Thanks for the inspiration. ~ Kathleen

    • Daisy Rodriguez Gavala

    Delicious recipe! Over the years, I developed a fruitcake recipe for my husband that will last him until Easter. He has a little piece with a nightcap occasionally, so it must last a long time. It’s usually baked mid-November, liquor added when baked, wrapped in liquor soaked cheesecloth and placed in a tin. We re-soak every week for 4 weeks and let it “cure”. It is ready to eat about about a month later, when it has lost the “raw” liquor taste and is just aromatic. In 30 years, we have had no problems with it until the last crumbs are consumed in Spring!

    • Gregg K.

    Several years ago, The New York Times ran an article and recipe for black cake from Julia Moskin’s cookbook “Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook.” I found it on-line; it might be worth a look just for comparison.

      • Shelley

      That’s a true recipe for black cake! Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

        • Robyn Tillman

        Yes! It is!

    • Vera Badertscher

    For another twist on black cake, try Emily Dickinson. I played Emily in the one-woman show, Belle of Amherst, and started making the cake after learning it through reciting it in every performance. I made it on Thanksgiving weekend and soaked it in brandy until Christmas.
    It can be intimidating to make the entire thing–19 eggs, 5 pounds of raisins…..
    Later, I saw the Laurie Colwin Jamaican black cake that is so similar, and wondered it the Dickinson family might have had a cook in the kitchen who came from Jamaica.

    • AnnieD in Ohio

    Linda Hollander: YES, LAURIE COLWIN!!
    Her book introduced me to Jamaican Black Cake decades ago! What a great food writer. In fact, the appeal of her writing is a lot like David’s, now that I think of her again.
    Trying to make the extra-dark caramels she describes it —bitter but not too burnt—was daunting. But Colwin’s incredibly vivid description of the extraordinary flavor and texture of this cake made it necessary to attempt it.

    • Joan

    I love this comment. Thanks for making me laugh out loud.
    I see no problem with holding a cake for two years…

    • Vicki Goldstein

    I was remembering hard sauce but though it might be gilding the lily…we always had it on plum pudding….(the best part of the plum pudding as I recall)

      • Kim

      I am a tee-totaler, so I soaked my fruit in boiled apple cider (King Arthur online), and ZOWIE! It is bursting with flavor!

    • Querino de Freitas

    This is just up my alley ..I was brought up in Trinidad we are all from Portugal …Our cook was from Dominica and she would mince all the the dried fruit, then soak it in a pottery jar with rum, then after about a month in goes the local cherry-brandy ,,,and 6 weeks before Christmas the cakes are baked then rum is poured over them..and thats that..Querino

    • Jan

    I always requested Burnt Sugar Ice Cream for my birthday when I was a kid. I remember my mother stirring the sugar in a large skillet.

    • Jill in Atlanta

    Many years ago I married my oatmeal cookie recipe with Alton Brown’s fruitcake. The result was fabulous. Picture your cake as a bite sized treat.

    • Louise Yenovkian

    Baking this beauty this weekend! Fabulous, moist, boozy… Nothing screams holidays better than dried fruit, bitters & booze, cake. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Annie in Ohio

    To those who mentioned Laurie Colwin – YES!!

    She introduced me to Jamaican black cake decades ago, in her book HOME COOKING. Her second food memoir, MORE HOME COOKING, is equally wonderful.

    Colwin’s incredibly vivid description of the extraordinary flavor of this cake convinced me to attempt it. I admit that getting the burnt-sugar syrup correct — slightly bitter but not wholly burnt — was a challenge.

    Now that I think of Laurie Colwin again, I realize that her writing is (was) so much like David’s. Both such superb cooks and marvelous, lovable raconteurs.

    • Janev

    And what, pray, is wrong with candied green cherries????? . They featured strongly in an old New Zealand Christmas slice called ‘White Christmas’ (along with violently red dyed red cherries). Needless to say it was sickly sweet.

      • shelley

      This cake is made in nearly every English speaking Caribbean county, so calling it Jamaican is something of a disservice. That said, I’m glad to see a version of this holiday and wedding treat here.

      If you can make caramel, you can make your own browning. Which is critical for taste as well as color. And it’s traditional to grind the fruit before incorporating into the batter for better flavor and consistency. The browning and ground fruit is what makes this cake a “black cake”.

      Shelley, a Trinidadian (Trini) baker

    • Susan

    Used to make a Jamaican black fruitcake every year and it was fabulous, a BIG one. This would be better in this size. Love these.

    • Tom L

    When I lived in Washington, D.C. in the mid 80s, the Washington Post published a recipe for a chocolate fruitcake, so we made it. Amazing. But takes about 2 months to steep fruit and prepare it. But worthwhile!

    • Susan Hill

    I just received chocolates from Maison du Chocolat per your recommendations in a previous Blog and OMG are they good!!

    • Margaret

    I never cared for fruitcake growing up as we always received a few (in tins) as presents during the holidays. They seemed to be the gift to give but no one seemed to like them. Thankfully that trend ended. However later on my Mom started making holiday fruit cake cookies (with rum) and they were my favorite of all her cookies. Your cake sounds every bit as good.

    • Mark Ramdeen Garner

    It is perhaps better named Caribbean Black Cake.
    Perhaps better research is needed before publication.
    Culinary history is cultural history. It is all too typical and pervasive to Euro/Amero-centrically lump everything Caribbean into your vague familiarity with Jamaica.
    Being a Caribbean Islander we take decided offense to Americans and Europeans thinking that EVERYTHING Caribbean IS JAMAICAN.
    I’m from Trinidad and Tobago, and BLACK CAKE is something we all grew up with. I’m in my mid fifties and my mother (half Afro-Trinidadian and half East Indian-Trinidadian) learned this from her mother, who learned it from her mother; back in the 1800’s (we live long out here).
    So it is doubtful that you can deny the Afro-Caribbeanness of the culinary history and attribute a recipe that shows up over an entire region (yes we are a REGION) to one member of a community that generally has historically allowed; without protest or correction; outsiders to mistakenly give credit where the entire Caribbean has an intricately interwoven and deeply shared history. Including Culinary History.

      • Shelley

      Here, here!

    • Mark Ramdeen Garner

    Longevity :
    With respect to this; because of the copious use of Trinidad Rum (the flavors are unique and decidedly distinct and very different in each Caribbean country). My mother and her friends have had these cakes for over a year or more in cake tins.
    I guess this minimized the access to ants or pests, excessive oxygen and evaporation of alcohol, and light.
    There is a wedding tradition here that when couples are married there are two cakes (one for eating at the wedding) and the other a BLACK CAKE that would be cut for the guests and gift wrapped carefully and given as gifts to the guests to take home to enjoy in the future.
    It is not uncommon to have these reside in refrigerators for months after the wedding. Some outlast the marriage :). As long as it is kept out of the air and in the dark with copious Trinidad Rum in it, it seems to last. Not forever of course. But the taste is a more richer, fuller, sweet umami flavour. As the Rum penetrates over and over the consistency gets more like a consistent black mass as opposed to the sort of Dundee or Fruit Cake crumb that you may be accustomed to. Think how separate meat pieces become one with Gyro meats, this is jus to illustrate the indescribable texture without crumb.
    B-U-T I-T I-S H-E-A-V-E N !!!!!

    • Lauri

    Sold! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Allison

    My mother made a beautiful rich dark fruit cake similar to this one. The recipes includes lots of raisins, sultanas, currants and glacé fruit cut up very small. The browning ingredient was Parisien Essence a commercial caramel that can also be used in gravies and sauces. You can’t buy it in the supermarket anymore but i was able to get it in a specialty deli. She wasn’t a drinker but used rum in the mix and drizzled lots more on top as it aged so its beautifully moist. Even in our Australian climate it would keep until the next Christmas no problem. I’ve made it myself this year for the first time and it’s smelling divine!

    • Lindsey Back

    I make an annual regular Christmas cake which I feed with brandy. It definitely keeps in a regular tin wrapped in parchment and foil for a year. I regularly feed it when I remember. We are empty nesters so a cake lasts a while!! We’ve just finished last years and I’m set to make this years this weekend however it’s supposed to be 37 deg on Sunday so it might have to wait!! ( I live in Brisbane Australia).

      • Julie Hock

      Hello Lindsay – good to read your comment. For the first year I am not making a cake, instead I am making a Stollen! My daughter makes a Plum PUdding every year which we enjoy through until June! I used to make Christmas cake when i lived in Germany, and unknown entity there. Greetings from Melbourne.

    • Michelle Madden

    When I woke up to this post the other morning it made my day. I have had another dark fruitcake recipe pinned to my bulletin board, but something about it didn’t seem quite right. I believe this is the one! I am so excited to start on it this weekend. You seem to have an innate sense of what I am wanting to bake (or drink) at any given time. Thank you for bringing so much joy to everyone!

      • Celina Adams

      Thank you David. You’ve given me a chance to make the perfect gift. I’m working surreptitiously on this for my husband’s Christmas present. He has warm memories of the fruitcakes his mom would make for his field seasons in the Arctic and Himalaya…where eating high calorie foods matter. Since he had to pack the treat in his gear and ski it in to base camp the density was welcomed. He describes a time at the end of long days in cold weather, in his tent, carving a small slice from the cake- as the ultimate in comfort and joy!

      His parents also lived in Jamaica for a time and so this recipe will hit multiple pleasure centers! I may even like it… though it will be all his to share or not, as he wishes.

      As always, thank you for your work. Be well and Happy Holidays!

    • Janine Chiasson

    This recipe was a little revelation. My mom’s Delicious Dark Fruitcake recipe is clearly a version of Caribbean Black Cake. Our Acadian family is from Cape Breton — my three times great Grandfather was captain of a clipper ship that sailed to the Caribbean. It makes perfect sense that this cake was popular in Nova Scotia. Dried figs but no cherries, of course molasses!, and strong coffee. It’s a big recipe and makes 6-8 loaves — a real oven filler — because that’s what you need for consuming, saving, and gifting to the very few who deserve to be on the list. I’m almost embarrassed to reveal that these cakes, liberally libated, have survived deliciously for at least two years, wrapped in rummy cheesecloth and popped into a sturdy ziploc bag. I wasn’t planning to make them this year but now I can’t resist.

    • Tracey

    I have found a fruit cake a made at least a year earlier. It was well wrapped and stored in a cool place (that’s why I forgot it was there). I unwrapped it and there was absolutely no sign of spoilage so I ate it. It was even more delicious than when new.

    • Joan Burns

    I just put the dried fruits into a 1 quart Mason jar. I’ve added 7 Tablespoons of dark rum and it only covers about half of the fruit. Should I keep going with the rum or stop and just shake it from time to time?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Just shake or stir it from time to time although if it’s really sucking up the rum you could add a splash – around a tablespoon or so – more.

        • Paul

        Had the same issue and ended up putting the fruit in a ziplock bag and squeezing the air out. Will see how it does in 24 hrs.

        • jane

        I ended up just covering the fruit with rum, but it seems to have turned out fine. I used the rum I poured off the fruit for the first dousing with rum when it came out of the oven so it’s not gone to waste. (like I’d let rum go to waste.:)

    • Y

    Timely reminder as I’ve been meaning to make black cake! Looking forward to trying this recipe, once I’ve stocked up on rum :)

    • Steve K.

    I have been making your Tu BiShvat cake since you published it in 2012. It is a much simpler form of fruitcake (in fact, one of the easiest cake recipes I know). It did not call for alcohol, but I will amp it up by soaking the dried fruit in some dark rum for a few days. I commend that recipe to anyone who wants to make a fruit cake, but finds this recipe a bit daunting.
    I get the “tropical fruit mix” at Sahadi’s, in Brooklyn. That dried fruit mix is perfect for the job, and, I expect, should take well to the rum.

    • Kathie Leno

    How do I know when David is live on Instagram? The IGTV videos always show up for me after the live events.
    Also, where is shows to swipe up, nothing happens. David, your videos are very informative, so enjoyable.

    • Carrie McClain-Rodriguez

    Cannot thank you enough, David! Following along with you is so lovely… Would you consider curating a collection of holiday cookie recommendations for home bakers to create Holiday Cookie Boxes to ship to loved ones during this socially distanced holiday season? Admire your work, knowledge, and experience!

    • Jan

    Perhaps readers could send in ONE favorite holiday cookie. Unless, of course, this would be a nightmare for you, David. They would be listed as untested by you.

    I find that plain, popped corn is the best cushion when shipping cookies. Of course we did this be wrap before bubble wrap.

    • Jackie

    Hi David, I just picked up a bottle of rum and am starting this recipe today. With that much dried fruit, 5 tablespoons of rum only comes up 1/3 of the way, not covering the fruits at all. Am I doing something wrong?

      • Jackie

      Never mind, I see your reply to an earlier similar comment. Looking forward to see how it turns out. May be the longest delayed gratification baking recipe I’ve ever tried. :)

    • Penny Dodd

    The 1984 edition of The Fannie Farmer Baking Book has a dark fruit cake recipe that is nearly identical (with some variation in the types of fruit), and includes a small amount of stem ginger. It also uses bandy and orange liqueur instead of rum. I have been making that cake for decades; it keeps very well. I made the Jamaican Black Cake cake last week, and have now eaten some of it. Rum is better than brandy! There won’t be any cake left to require long storage. I did put in some stem ginger and the zest of an orange. Excellent. Thanks David.

      • Jan in Santa Cruz, CA

      I have collected 3 Fannie Farmer cookbooks: 1914, 1942, and 1967. It’s in all 3 with no changes. I love this conversation about a cake. I will be maing it soon. If I can find citron (Buddha’s hand) I will candy some again–first did it several years ago.
      Thanks, David for starting this.

        • David
        David Lebovitz

        I took a look at the Fannie Farmer fruitcake recipe which does have a similar list of ingredients (which most fruitcakes do) but in this one, the amounts of leavenings, brown sugar, spices, eggs, milk (this one has no milk whereas the Fannie Farmer recipe does), differ, and this one more candied/dried fruits which are soaked in rum; the Fannie Farmer recipe doesn’t soak them.

        When I was looking at traditional Black Cake recipes there were similar similarities in the recipes, but some had considerable differences. It was interesting to see how they all differed – some used red wine, others rum. A few were very (very) wet and others were similar to traditional cakes. One recipe I tried had a very, very long baking time and it appeared done at the halfway mark, so I took it out. I wrote to the author, who I know, asking if there was a goof and he said no, that the cake should be baked for the total amount of time indicated. That was interesting, too!

        • Jane

        For fun, I pulled out my Fannie Farmer, which I’m pretty sure is the 1928 version (that page is missing, but looking at copies on-line, I think that’s mine) and how fun it was to find the Dark Fruit cake listed there. My book is in such poor condition (found in an antique shop years ago) that I don’t look through it often. There are lots of cakes listed. Just noticed a mocha walnut cake. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I’m with you, cake conversation is great. I cut out a Julia Child quote recently and pasted to my journal, “A Party without a cake is just a meeting.” Cheers! BTW, making the Black Fruit cake this afternoon. I actually found the burnt sugar syrup on Etsy and its from Jamaica. My fruit has been soaking a week waiting for the syrup to arrive. ;)

    • Kameela

    Take s a me right back to my childhood in Guyana. It’s a Jamaican black cake but each country in the Caribbean block has their own take on this luscious cross between a steamed pudding and a cake. Our fruit was soaked in dark local dark rum for several weeks. My Mother always added some dark molasses as well as the burnt syrup. The black cake was always served with home made ginger beer and that typified Xmas for me. I make an amended version every year to give as gifts to my French friends. They love it. Happy Christmas

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      That local dark rum sounds amazing (!) as does the homemade ginger beer : )

        • Kameela

        It is .I urge you to try the rum Eldorado 15 year old special reserve. Pure gold.7 times winner of awards. Great for sipping. There is also 21 year old special reserve and a 12 year old old gold. Every country says that its rum is the best!. I am biased. You can find these on Amazon.

    • Dawn

    I made this this morning and it’s just incredible! Added some locally grown and dried apples and substituted whisky for the rum. Made 6 mini loaf pans which baked in about 45-50 minutes (convection oven, double recipe). Going to give 4 and keep 2…will try not to eat my cakes all today. Thanks for another stellar recipe.
    Now on to the chocolate cherry fruit cake ❤️❤️❤️

    • Mary

    Black cake is not made as a “quickie ashamed to say rum” kinda cake. It is a process with love and pride paying tribute to the many hardworking displaced Africans who watched the fruits of their labour sail away to countries unknown to is made in all West Indian countries and in South America where slavery took place…a genuine BC takes a year for preparation and tons of work with lots of rum..not the tiney bit you described and it is not a grown-up is served to children…yes I delighted in going house to house in Trinidad for a is not a fruit cake..big chunks showing means the mixture was not left to soak long enough before the baking process. thanks

    • Robyn Tillman

    My father who is Trinidadian puts a tray of water underneath his cake bottom rake to keep it moist and steam it.

    • Eleanor

    Divine aroma so had to try a little piece prior to “aging” – delicious. I used Grand Marinier because we seem to have a lot of it and not big fans of rum, but everything else as in the recipe (no bitters). Baked in a standard U.S. 9″ loaf pan for l hour 20 min. Next time will make my own candied orange, the stuff from the grocery store tastes like slightly orange flavored wax! Will make Brandied Oranges from the interior of the oranges or Laurie Colwin’s Orange Ambrosia which is even easier. Will definitely make this cake again, maybe next week because this one won’t last long! Thank you for the recipe.

    • Louise Yenovkian

    I baked this beauty this past weekend. It is fabulous! Thank you David for posting. This recipe will now become a staple.

    • Alex

    Looks amazing. Will try to cook it.

    • Isabel

    Just made my second loaf! Since you mentioned burnt sugar as an alternative to the blackstrap molasses, I pulled out a jar of cider caramel sauce that got a little overcooked so it’s got a bite. Oh dear me! SO good!

    New to the blog but very much enjoying it!

      • andre

      baked yesterday, tasted this morning, planning to start on another batch later today. so good.
      i pulled it out of the oven at 93C (200F) internal temperature after about 1h30

    • Victoria Karen Davenport

    Thanks, David, for posting this recipe and the link to the book by Jason Schreiber. I had not made fruit cake for decades since at one point I started making Panforte then stopped that too, although I love fruit cakes. I made this last Sunday. I bought dark rum, the Astor Liquor brand, but didn’t like the flavor much (I have never liked rum cakes in general), so I soaked it only for an hour in the rum then drained it and soaked it overnight in apple juice which it absorbed all of. I had everything except the candied orange peel so included good plain dried orange peel and fresh organic lemon peel. It turned out really well! I now want to try it without molasses, as much as I love molasses, and make my own candied orange peel and maybe use some brandy this time. from NYC to Pari— enjoy the end of year celebrations!! I love your blog and books so much.(big fan of your cranberry upside down cake & other things)

    • Victoria Karen Davenport

    Forgot to say that I followed your recommendation to bake a shorter time and it was perfect! more would have been burnt. Also when I make it again without molasses I am going to use Lyle’s Golden. Also meant to say in my comment that I soaked the fruit, not the whole fruitcake.

    • Alyce Morgan

    Just out of the oven (better late…) and smelling like Christmas heaven — many thanks!! I had to come back here and look at the photos to get an understanding of whether the cake is poked and rummed while warm and in the pan or later. So pour the rum over the hot cake in the pan, let it cool — completely? — then take out and wrap in cheesecloth, etc.? What have I missed? I’ve got Laurie’s book, too, so will check that out later. Good to know about it. Joyeux Noël to you and all you love. Blessings on a well-earned rest coming up!!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Here’s the last step of the recipe: “Remove from the oven and use a toothpick to poke about 50 holes in the top. Pour the 1/3 cup of rum all over the cake. Let the cake cool completely.” Yes, the cake is hot when you pour the rum over it and it gets cooled completely before removing it from the pan. Although not in the original recipe, I added that after, you can wrap it in cheesecloth and “feed” it with rum.

      Happy baking!

      • Alyce Morgan

      Thanks for your reply. I ended up removing it from the pan while it was still a tad warm, but it was so well-buttered (parchment, too) that there was no problem. I was afraid if I let it cool completely that it would be stuck in there. I’ll know better next year! This morning, it seems tres moist, smelling oh-so-lovely, and not needing more rum. It’s all wrapped up and waiting for Christmas Eve. Thx again. Be well; be well!

    • Alyce Morgan

    Thanks for your reply. I ended up removing it from the pan while it was still a tad warm, but it was so well-buttered (parchment, too) that there was no problem. I was afraid if I let it cool completely that it would be stuck in there. I’ll know better next year! This morning, it seems tres moist, smelling oh-so-lovely, and not needing more rum. It’s all wrapped up and waiting for Christmas Eve. Thx again. Be well; be well!

    • Andrea S.

    The ladies in my family have been making fruitcake for a few decades. The recipe we use is from Redbook magazine circa 1967. We make them in late October/early November and feed them for 4-6 weeks with bourbon and enjoy through New Years, only storing them in an airtight container. If we have any left after that we freeze to enjoy when a craving hits.

    • Viola B.

    This is nothing like a true Jamaican Black cake. Very dry looking cake that actually looks more like a bun that anything else.

    A Jamaican cake is normally quite moist and dense with rich macerated fruits that have been soaked for ages. I’m actually a bit insulted that people are comparing it to English fruit cake because it is certainly not the same thing when made correctly.

    • Alyce Morgan

    Just cut two slices to give to our German neighbor for Christmas and had to try it ourselves. My Lord. This is a stunning cake and quite DELICIOUS! I made it only a week before Christmas and poured the rum over that day. Wrapped it in cheesecloth, stored it in a tight plastic container, and gave it a quick drink of 1 tablespoon rum only twice again. Quite dense, very moist—slice carefully! Thank you, David. Hope you know you rock XXOO

    • Mike

    Can you help me troubleshoot an issue? Seems to sink a lot in the middle. Hints for how to correct? Thanks!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Please check the video that I linked to in the headnote before the recipe that shows how I made it, step-by-step. As mentioned, the cake does sink a bit in the middle and I advised that can happen. Hope that helps!

    • Karura

    Thanks for the recipe – made it for my partner’s birthday (with a couple of tweaks to account for what I had in my cupboard). Took 1hr35 in my oven with a standard loaf pan. Anyway, he was delighted with it and I thought it was pretty great too!

    • Karen Victoria Davenport

    Update—I did make a light version of this cake in January (w/out the molasses or dark brown sugar). I didn’t want to use candied orange peel if I didn’t make it myself, so I used a good orange marmalade instead of the molasses and used the zest of one lemon, + I used turbinado sugar instead of dk brown sugar. Used prunes, raisins and currants. It turned out so well!!! Wish I could give everyone a piece. It was so much fun for me to make these 2 cakes since I had not made fruit cake for a very long time. I will use this recipe again and again Thank you again, David, you’re an awesome peach!


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