Reader recipe Dark Christmas Cake (nut-free)
NOTE: This recipe has not been checked or tested by The Canadian Living Test Kitchen.

Dark Christmas Cake (nut-free)

This recipe is an adaptation of the Canadian Living Dark Christmas Cake from their 2004 Holiday Cookbook. Due to allergies in my husband's family, I had to remove the nuts from the original recipe, and substituted the dates instead. As well, I am not a fan of a lot of candied fruit, so substituted dried fruit for a lot of the candied stuff. It took three tries to come up with the recipe below (which is simply Dark Christmas Cake, 2006 recipe in my cookbook), but my family, in-laws, and coworkers certainly like this one. Hope you do too.

By Rita Taylor

Source: Rita Taylor

  • rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star
  • Prep time 30 minutes, plus 24 hours soaking time
  • Cook time 1-3/4 to 2 hours
  • Portion size 6 small cakes, 14 slices each


  • 2 cups 2cupscurrantcurrants
  • 1/2 cup 1/2cupmixed candied peel
  • 3/4 cups 3/4cupsdried appledried apples, chopped
  • 3/4 cup 3/4cupdried apricotdried apricots, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2cupscandied pineapple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup 1/2cupcandied cherrycandied cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup 1/2cupdried cherries
  • 1/2 cup 1/2cupdried cranberrydried cranberries
  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2cupsraisinraisins
  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2cupschopped datedates
  • 1-1/4 cups 1-1/4cupsrum or brandy, divided
  • 2 cups 2cupsall-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp 2tspbaking powder
  • 1/2 tsp 1/2tspbaking soda
  • 1/4 tsp 1/4tspeach ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 pinch 1pinchsalt
  • 3/4 cup 3/4cupbutter, softened
  • 1 cup 1cuppacked brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup 1/3cupstrawberry jam
  • 2 tbsp 2tbspmolasses
  • 5 5eggeggs
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1. In large bowl , place all fruit. Add 1 cup of brandy or rum. Cover and let stand 24 hours, stirring occasionally. (Or put all fruit in large resealable bag, add rum, seal, and turn over occasionally for 24 hours. I find this easiest.)

2. Line base and sides of 13 by 9 inch metal cake pan with double thickness of parchment paper. Set aside.

3. In bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Remove 1/2 of flour mixture and toss with fruit mixture. (This can be done right in the resealable bag.)

4. In separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, jam, and molasses until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in remaining flour mixture all at once until just combined. Add fruit mixture, stir to combine. Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing top.

5. Set shallow pan on bottom rack of 300 F oven. Pour in enough water to come halfway up sides of pan. Bake cake on centre rack for 1 hour. Lay foil loosely over cake. Bake until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean but a little sticky, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack.

6. Soak double thickness of cheesecloth in remaining brandy or rum. Remove cake from pan, peel off parchment paper. Wrap cheesecloth around cake. Wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. Refrigerate for 1 month (and up to 3 months). Cut crosswise into 6 bars.

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