Fruit cake has a bad reputation. When most people hear fruit cake they think of a cake with chunky pieces of dried fruit and a sticky exterior (click here to see what I mean). During the holidays the bakery section in my local supermarket is loaded with that kind of fruit cake. But that American fruit cake is not the fruit cake that I grew up eating. For me, Guyanese Style fruit cake is a mash-up between pound cake also called sponge cake in Guyana and black cake. It is light and fluffy in texture, with bits of macerated fruits but not the chunky fruits that we find in American fruit cake. It has the flavor of rum soaked fruits but typically doesn’t have added rum, until now. I poured orange liqueur over mine when it was done baking and it was so yummy.
The Fruits in the fruit cake
If you are making just Guyanese style fruit cake and want to make fruits for this cake separately you can try the method below for making fruits. However, if you already have fruits that you soaked for black cake you can use some fruits from that.
To make the fruits for my fruit cake I typically cook a combination of raisins, currants, prunes, maraschino (cocktail) cherries and mixed peel in 4 cups of red wine for about 30 minutes on medium heat. My house smells like a wine bar for quite a few hours after I am done cooking the fruits. Cooking the fruits in wine helps to soften the dried fruits, which makes it easy for blending. After 30 minutes I remove the fruits from the heat, cover the pot and let the fruits sit in the wine over night.
The next day, I dump all of it, the wine and the soaked fruits into the blender and blend it to a smooth but slightly chunky paste as shown above. Then I pour the fruits paste into a mason jar and let it sit for a few weeks. At least 3 days of soaking is what I recommend for fruit cake. Alternatively, if you already have fruits soaking that you blended for black cake, all you need is 1 1/2 cups of that fruit and 1/2 cup of blended/processed marschino cherries and candied peel for your Guyanese Style fruit cake (unless you added cherries and candied peel to your soaked fruits already, in that case just 2 cups of fruits will do).
Getting into the recipe
As with all of my cake recipes, I start with room temperature butter. Look at how smooth and fluffy this butter, sugar, egg mixture is! I let the butter and sugar cream on a low speed until all the sugar crystals dissolved and then added the eggs one at a time.
For this fruit cake, I used some of the fruits I had soaking for my black cake, because I was making black cake at the same time and couldn’t be bothered with making extra fruits. I added candied mix peel and maraschino cherries to the mixed fruits because I love the taste of that combination in fruit cake. It takes me right back to my childhood.
Adding Flavor to the batter
This is a spiced cake, so I added a combination of essence and ground spices and topped it off with some rum and orange liqueur. I had a bottle of orange liqueur that has been sitting in the back of my liquor cabinet for about 4 years. A few days ago I was baking a sweet bread and realized I didn’t have oranges for the orange zest that the bread called for and used this orange liqueur instead. It gave the bread such a rich flavor that I decided to add it to my fruit cake and I am glad I did.
Mixing the batter
It is always best to add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients a little at a time. This method offers you a bit more control in mixing the fruit cake batter together and ensures that there are no clumps in the finished batter. Before adding the dry ingredients I sieved everything together and mix it with a whisk. I also used a whisk to beat the batter for a few minutes before pouring it into a greased baking tin. Actually, I could have just used my stand or hand mixer for this step, but I didn’t think of it at the time.
Baking the fruit cake
Feel free to add your batter to a 8 inch round tin, a square or a loaf tin. For the loaf tin, I give it a good spray with my cooking spray then I line it with a sheet of parchment paper. I really love the precut sheets, it makes life a little easier. Leave some excess parchment paper overlapping the loaf tin, it makes it easy to lift loaf out of the tin when you are done baking.
Be careful not to overcrowd the baking pan with batter. Leave enough room to allow the fruit cake to rise a little. Honestly, I could have left a little more space in this tin but it turned out okay.
Adding the orange liqueur at the end
This step is totally unnecessary. I repeat it is totally unnecessary. YOU DON”T NEED TO DO IT. You don’t need to go out and buy orange liqueur for this but if you have some on hand and want to do it, do it! It will change fruit cake for you forever, in a good way. As a final step I poured some orange liqueur on the cake when it was piping hot out of the oven (I may have overdone it, but who’s complaining) and then brushed it across the top. Then I let the fruit cake cool completely before removing it from the loaf tin and slicing it up. This is definitely an adult friendly fruit cake.
The results were a moist, boozy fruit cake with all the flavors of the holidays and none of the chunky fruits everyone hates. See below for the light airy texture. This is not a pudding like cake like black cake and truly is a pound cake meets back cake and had a baby kind of cake. Hope you enjoy this recipe as I had so much fun making it.
Guyanese Style Fruit Cake Recipe:
- 1 cup of room temperature butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 1½ cups of mixed fruits
- ¼ cup of maraschino cherries (blended to a paste)
- ¼ cup of candied mixed peel (blended to a paste)
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- ¾ teaspoon almond essence
- ¼ cup of dark rum
- 1 tablespoon of orange liqueur (sub for a tablespoon of orange zest)
- An additional tablespoon of orange liqueur for the end (completely optional)
- Ingredients for the Soaked Fruits: This is enough fruits for two pans of fruit cake
- ½ cup of golden raisins
- 1 cup of prunes
- ½ cup of regular raisins
- ½ cup currants
- ½ cup of maraschino cherries
- ½ cup of candied mixed peel
- 4 cups of red wine (e.g. Port wine)
- Preheat oven to 300°F
- Cream butter and sugar together until all of the sugar crystals have dissolved
- Add eggs to the creamed butter and sugar one at a time, mixing well after adding each egg
- If using fruits you already have soaked, blend the maraschino cherries and candied mixed peel together, then mix with 1½ cups of soaked fruits.
- If making fruits specifically for this cake follow these instructions:
- First add fruits listed in the ingredients list to a pot with 4 cups of wine
- Then bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low
- Let cook for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit overnight or for at least 10 hours
- Blend cooked fruits with wine until a smooth but chunky paste forms
- Then add to an airtight container and allow to soak for a minimum of 3 days
- Add 2 cups of fruits (made specifically following the directions above) to the creamed butter, sugar, eggs mixture
- Add vanilla and almond essence, rum and orange liqueur (or orange zest) to the wet ingredient and mix well.
- For the dry ingredients, sieve together the flour, baking powder, ground clove, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, salt
- Next add the sieved dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix together until a smooth batter forms.
- Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper
- Pour batter into loaf pan, leaving enough room in the pan for the cake to rise
- Bake at 300°F for 1 hour and 10 minutes, checking the cake with a toothpick at the 1 hour mark. If the toothpick comes out clean, remove from the oven, if the toothpick has batter continue to bake, rechecking in 10 minute increments
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completed
- Alternatively you can brush the fruit cake with 1 tablespoon of orange liqueur, immediately after removing the cake from the oven and then allow the cake to cool completely before serving. This step is completely optional
If you make fruits specifically for this recipe please allow your fruits to soak for a minimum of 3 days for the best flavor
You only need 2 cups of fruits or fruits and maraschino cherries/candied peel mix. I mention this step twice in the recipe on purpose because one version is using fruits you already had made and another is using fruits you are making specifically for this recipe. Do not add more than 2 cups of fruits or you will end up with a very dense cake similar to black cake.