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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dark Fruit cake- Heritage recipe

This recipe was given to me by my husband's aunts.  
This recipe was passed down to them and was made by the two sisters in early fall for Christmas. My husband remember the cake being given to his mom every Christmas in a large cookie tin. The recipe would have come from Ireland in 1846!

When I first made this cake, it brought back memories of my grandmother serving this dark black cake with white marzipan covering at Christmas.  As a little kid, I loved the little flowers made out of the almond half to decorate the cake.

I first made this cake as a young wife and I remember my husband telling me that his mom never made it and that it was until later that she learned that one has to dredge the fruit with flour so that the fruit doesn't sink to the bottom. 

Although the recipe doesn't tell you to wash the fruit, my mom always did and once you do you realize how disgusting the rinse water is. 

 I lost count of the number of times I washed the fruit but it certainly was more than five washing before it rinsed clean.. it also helps soften the raisins.  

I did use some of my husband's Appleton Estate Jamaican rum and let marinade overnight

Yesterday was a perfect day to steam the cakes for 8 hours. Cool, rainy all day!

I made up only half of the cake recipe and as I was mixing this cake up, I wondered how did my husband's aunts managed as I ended up using 3 large pots to steam the three cakes.  The first time I made half of the recipe and the yield was 9" springform pan and a large loaf pan, this time the yield was 9"springform  pan, 8"circular cake pan and 8" souffl√© dish.  I probably used a more accurate measure this time as I didn't have a scale the first time I made the cake.   

I also bought fresh spices for the cake and raisins at 11 dollars at Bulk Barn.
The cost of the mixed peel was 6 dollars.

The cost of this cake is still very reasonable around 9 to 10 dollars per cake. 

Dark Fruit Cake

  • 1lb butter
  • 1lb Brown sugar (2 2/3c )
  • 1 1/4 lb flour ( 5 5/8 c)
  • 14 eggs
  • 1 c Molasses
  • 1 c Strawberry preserve
  • 1/1/2 oz Vanilla Extract
  • 2 whole nutmeg grated
  • 1 tsp each of cloves, cinnamon,allspice, ginger
  • 4 lb seedless raisins 
  • 4 lb seeded raisins

I soaked the fruit in 2/3 cup of rum, something that was not done in the original recipe
I let the fruit marinade overnight, but this certainly can be done longer.

Dredge the fruit in some of the flour, just to coat.

Cream the butter, add in the sugar and mix well.
Add in the molasses, Mix.
Add the spices and beaten eggs and Mix
Add the preserve and vanilla , Mix

Fold in the fruit into prepared pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Cover the cakes with foil.  Place the cakes on a rack above the water to steam. 
Steam for 8 hours, checking the water level regularly.

Then put into oven for an hour at 225

Cool thoroughly, wrap in foil

I added rum to the top of the cake before wrapping. 

Here is the recipe that was sent to me which my husband and I first made in 1981 and again for my daughter wedding this fall.. My grandmother also made a similar recipe which I loved as it was so dark with this wonderful white icing or Marzipan.  I remember the cake which was so dark with this beautiful white icing.. As a Kid I loved the little flowers made from Almond half that  decorated the cake.  


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