Grandmom Schumacher's Dark Fruit Cake

Susan Bryan


This was our Grandmom's [secret] fruitcake that we loved growing up. Even though many folks don't enjoy fruitcake - this is worth giving a try - because you can follow along this basic recipe & add fruit or nuts [or leave out some] as you desire. BUT keep in mind - this recipe 'as is' was the family original and it took forever to convince Grandmom to share it with the outside world. It goes together quickly by hand [you've been warned - it's a stiff cake and will burn out a hand mixer quickly] & has enough batter [only] to hold the fruit and nuts together! I hope you smile at the taste!

★★★★★ 2 votes
30 Min
2 Hr


1/2 lb
brown sugar, firmly packed
2 c
butter [(may be 1/2 shortening)]
1 lb
dark raisins
1 lb
golden raisins
1 lb
1 lb
pecans (or walnuts)
1 c
molasses [[for light color cake sub 1 c honey]]
1 c
very strong black coffee [[for light color cake sub 1 c orange juice]]
1 tsp
1/2 tsp
cloves [ground]
1 tsp
1/2 tsp
2 Tbsp
baking soda
1 - 1 1/2 c
flour, enough to stiffen
2-3 Tbsp


12 oz
candied cherries
12 oz
candied pineapple
6 oz
candied citron
6 oz
candied orange peel

How to Make Grandmom Schumacher's Dark Fruit Cake


  • 1Chop all of the candied fruits and toss with 2-3 tbsp flour, set aside.
  • 2Cream sugar and shortening; add eggs.
  • 3Sift flour, soda and spices together until well blended.
  • 4Combine sugar/butter/egg mixture and flour mixture alternately with molasses and coffee. [can sub orange juice and honey here for a lighter color cake] ***
  • 5*** Batter should be VERY stiff!! Fold in fruit and nuts (don’t try to use a hand mixer – My sister and I broke each of ours until learning to do it by hand with a good wooden spoon)
  • 6Line 2 bread pans with oiled dark brown paper from grocery bag [or oiled parchment paper] and oil the sides of the pans as well. [you could sub loaf cake liners if you wish instead of oiling and papering the pans]
    Pour batter into pans - can add cherries or nuts on top to 'decorate'
  • 7Bake SLOWLY at 275 DEGREES FOR ABOUT 2 HOURS. Check with a toothpick - if it comes out clean, they're done.
  • 8After cakes are completely cooled, they can be wrapped in plastic and tin foil and stored up to 6 weeks.
  • 9I've done these in muffin pans and round cake pans. The baking temp stays the same - just adjust the time as needed. It's "tradition" to slice this thinly to serve. "I" love fruitcake, I'll have a good slice please!

Printable Recipe Card

About Grandmom Schumacher's Dark Fruit Cake