Jamaican-Style Fruit Cake – Recipe

Once slice of this cake and I swear you're already over the legal drink driving limit.

Bling bling. Wait, does anyone even say "bling" any more? Probably not. (I was on the bus the other day and these kids behind me were using so much new slang I could barely understand what they were saying. You know you're getting old when...)

I was inspired by Jamaican black cake/ rum cake to make this beauty for Christmas. Because you know something's going to be good when it's been marinating in hard liquor for weeks. In fact, I cheated a little- I only soaked the dried fruits for a week and let the cooked cake mature only for a further week. Most cakes like this are best when the fruit has been soaked for MONTHS, and again when the cake has been maturing with even more booze for another month or so. Rum, brandy, armagnac- pick your poison.

Fruits before soaking

Day 1

Day 7
The 500g of dried fruits I used were about 170g prunes, 150g mixed sultanas and raisins, 100g mixed dried berries and 80g glacé cherries. Use whatever quantity of whatever you want (although I'd recommend not to use any more than 100g glacé cherries, or it'd be nastily sweet). Personally I rather like prunes- they have a bit of an unwarranted bad reputation for being laxatives for the elderly. But a) prunes are for everyone and b) actually studies have shown that they may actually have little to no laxative effect, at least no better compared to other fruits. So there you go. In any case, the resulting cake is rich and pudding-y: a far cry from the dry old things found in supermarkets.

To decorate this cake, I used homemade marzipan (the same I used for my stollen) to cover just the top, and since I'm not so keen on fondant icing, I just dusted the top with icing sugar. I also added a little sparkle with this stuff:

It's holographic!!

I also painted some almonds gold with a mix of gold lustre dust and vanilla extract, and made flowers with these and some glacé cherry halves. I also scattered some edible jelly diamonds around, just for a bit of extra glam. A red ribbon around the side for a neater finish and *boom*, Christmas cake.

Just a heads-up: if you're using powdered sugar and jelly decorations like me, decorate on the day of serving, because once the moisture gets to the powdered sugar, this will happen after a while:

(Not a major problem, but I'm guessing you'll want to present a perfect finish after all of your hard work.)

Remember, a cake is for life, not just for Christmas- make this cake any time you like!


-500g dried fruit soaked in 400ml port and 70ml dark rum for a week
-80g blanched almonds
-230g unsalted butter
-175g dark brown (muscavado) sugar, sifted
-4 large eggs
-225g self raising flour
-2tsp vanilla extract
-1tsp almond extract
-2tbsp black treacle (molasses)
-1tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-Pinch of salt


1) Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C, line the bottom of a 24cm/ 9.5" tin round springform pan and grease well with butter

2) Cream the butter and sugar together, whisk the eggs in and add the flour, salt, treacle and spices

3) Blend half of the soaked fruits into a pulp and stir that, the rest of the fruits (no need to drain) and the almonds into the cake batter

(Blend more, less or not at all if you prefer)

4) Bake for 1.5-2 hours until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean (you may need to cover the top of the cake with some extra baking paper halfway through to stop the top from burning)

5) Let cool complete overnight

6) Turn the cake out of the pan, drizzle a little of your chosen liquor over the top (I chose a mixture of straight dark rum and Tia Maria)

7) When this has been absorbed, wrap the cake up in muslins soaked in rum (I used the same mix as above), then in foil, and finally in clingfilm to seal it up

8) Leave for at least a week

9) Unwrap, decorate and enjoy!

Tip: To get the right sized circle of marzipan, use the base of the baking tin you used to bake the cake to cut out a circle once you've rolled the marzipan out:

Of course, if you like fondant and aren't so keen on marzipan, you could use ready to roll (or ready rolled) fondant instead. Now all you have to do is get creative with the decorations- the best part, IMHO.

"Do you expect me to talk?"

"No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die."


Popular Posts