1987 Rich Dark Fruit Cake

30 years later, this recipe from a 1987 issue of Western Living still holds up. It’s made for baking in bulk, but it can easily be sized down for smaller batches. Find the full post about it here.

  • By Eileen Dwillies
  • December 7, 2016
  • Yield: 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small cake


Fruit mixture (recipe follows)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose white flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. allspice

4 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cloves

2 cups butter

2 cups sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

12 eggs, separated

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup grape juice



For the fruit mixture

2 lbs sultana raisins

51 lb currants

2 lbs Thompson seedless raisins

1 lb mixed peel

51 lb candied cherries

1 cup brandy or rum


The day before baking the cake, combine all the fruit. Pour on half the brandy and stir well. Let stand for several hours. Pour on the remainder of the brandy and stir again. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until baking time.

Grase and line cake tins. A popular method is to use two or three layers of brown paper bags, cut to fit and well greased with butter. We like to use two layers of heavy aluminum foil.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Remove 1 cup of this mixture and combine with the fruit. Mix until the fruit is well coated.

Cream the sugar and butter together until light. Stir in the vanilla. Beat the egg yolks enough to mix them well and blend in the molasses. Stir into the butter mixture. Add the grape juice.

Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold into the mixture. Pour over the fruit and stir in, blending until the fruit is well coated. Fill the prepared pans two-thirds full, smoothing the top evenly. Add any garnish if needed.

Bake at 275 F until a skewer inserted just slightly off centre comes out clean – small cakes 2 1/2 hours, medium 3 1/2 hours, large 4 hours. Allow to stand 10 minutes in the tin; remove and cool. When cold, remove baking foil and wrap in clean foil for storage.

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