This easy guide on How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake is a simple recipe that shows how to prepare the rum soaked fruit in alcohol for Jamaican black rum cake or fruit cake. It combines dried fruit such as prunes, raisins, cranberries, cherries and mixed peel with J. Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum and Red Label Wine.
Here’s the perfect Jamaican Rum Cake recipe to use these rum soaked fruit in. And, if you’re interested in more Christmas and holiday inspired recipes, check out my Soft and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies, and my How to Make Soft Cinnamon Rolls (Easy Recipe) for more sweet treats!
Soaking Fruit for Jamaican Christmas Black Cake
When the cooler weather started to roll around and the holiday season was in close proximity, it meant only one thing. Jamaican Christmas Cake or as others may refer to it as Rum Cake, Black Cake or Fruit Cake season was in full effect!
But before we get to the christmas cake, we have to acknowledge the work that goes on months before in preparation. Months, up to a year ahead of time my mom would start prepping the fruits for christmas cake by adding dried fruit to a glass jar, and filling the jar with wine and rum.
She would then place the jar of soaked fruit in the back of the fridge, and there it would remain until Christmas time rolled around. There are many different methods of soaking fruit for cake, however this is the Jamaican way of doing it specifically for Jamaican Christmas Cake.
What is Macerating Fruit
This is a very simple process of soaking fruit in liquid such as alcohol, juices, syrup and even vinegar. It’s a way to soften fresh fruit and draw out its natural juices, very similar to a marinating process.
Soaking dried fruit in alcohol for christmas cake is a method of macerating fruit.
Here’s Why You Need to Soak Your Fruit for Cake:
- Rehydrates the Fruit – this keeps the fruits moist and juicy before baking, leading to a moist and tasty cake.
- Enhances Flavour – it’s one of the simplest ways to bring out the natural flavours of the fruit.
- Adds Richness and Texture – it boosts the richness and texture of Jamaican Christmas cake, and is an essential step.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions!
What Do You Use Rum Soaked Fruits For?
- Use in Jamaican Christmas Cake (Black Cake, Fruit Cake or Rum Cake)
- Serve with Ice-Cream
- Use in Jamaican Spice Bun, especially around Easter
When Should I Soak my Fruit?
You can start to soak your fruit in real Jamaican rum for months, even years prior to when you will be ready to use them. However, at a minimum you should soak your fruit for at least 7 days prior to using in jamaican black cake.
The longer the soaking time, the better as this allows enough time for it to “ripen” or mature for the yuletide season.
What is Yuletide Season?
Yuletide can be used as another word for Christmas time or the Christmas season.
What is Jamaican Christmas Cake?
This is a very rich and moist fruit cake, in which the dried fruit are soaked in rum for months up to a year. It is a staple dessert recipe throughout the Caribbean and is enjoyed year round but particularly during Christmas, weddings, and holiday celebrations.
What are the Other Names for Jamaican Christmas Cake?
- Black Cake
- Rum Cake
- Christmas Cake
- Wedding Cake
What You Need to Soak Fruit in Alcohol
A sealable glass jar. This is the only equipment you need for this recipe; simply, a jar that seals to hold all the fruit and alcohol.
Best Jars for Preserving Freshness of Fruit
For optimal freshness, here are some features you should look for in a jar for soaking fruit:
- Glass – durable, food-safe and reusable.
- Air-Tight Seal – to all for maximum freshness.
- Flip Lid Design – makes opening and closing the jars easier.
- Wide Mouth Opening – allows for easy filling, removing, and cleaning of jar.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- Prunes – use dried and pitted prunes, then halve them to a smaller size.
- Raisins – use dried and seedless raisins.
- Cranberries – once again, you want to used dried cranberries for this recipe.
- Red Glacé Cherries – these can be a combination of whole and broken cherries.
- Green Glacé Cherries – this can be a combination of whole and broken cherries.
- Mixed Fruit – this can be found at the bulk foods store (i.e. bulk barn), and is a mixture of papaya, orange peel, lemon peel and cherries that has been finely diced.
- Mixed Peel – this is a combination of orange peel, lemon peel and citron peel.
- J. Wray and Nephew Red Label Wine – alternatively you can use a sweet red dessert wine. This has notes of candied berries, marzipan, raisins and nutmeg and even hints of dark chocolate.
- Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum – this is an extremely strong rum, but a Jamaican staple and classic.
How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake
- Add All Fruit – in a large glass jar with lid, gradually add all the fruit until jar is filled (ensure an even mixture).
- Add Wine and Rum – pour the red label wine and the white rum over the fruit until fully submerged.
- Close and Refrigerate – tightly close the jar and place in refrigerator for at least 7 days up to one year.
- Periodically Check – from time to time, check on the fruit in soak and add more rum and wine to the jar as needed to keep the fruit completely submerged in liquid.
Substitutions and Variations
Use any combination of the following dried fruit as substitutes or variations to this recipe:
- Mixed Peels
What’s the Best Rum for Soaking Fruit?
The best rum for soaking fruit for christmas cake or black/fruit cake is dark or white rum in combination with sweet fruit or dessert wine.
Traditionally, Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum and Red Label Wine are used for Jamaican christmas cake.
Quick Soak (Boil) Method for Soaking Fruit
If you don’t have time to soak the fruit for Christmas cake, you can use the quick soak method on the stove. Here’s how you do it:
To a stockpot add 6 cups water. When it has come to a rapid boil, add one cup each of the following ingredients (ensure water covers all the fruit):
- Mixed Peel
- Deluxe Fruit Mix
- Prunes, halved
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for approximately an hour to an hour and a half. When the fruit are plump and rehydrated, and the liquid has significantly reduced remove from heat. Let cool then add equal parts rum and wine (or as desired – just ensure fruits are completely covers in the alcohol). Allow fruits to soak for 24hrs, then proceed with making the cake.
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jamaican Escovitch Fish
- Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Jamaican Rice and Peas
- Jamaican Fried Dumpling
- Jamaican Curry Shrimp (Seafood)
- Vegan Jamaican Bulgur Wheat & Peas (Rice & Peas Remix)
- Jamaican Rasta Pasta
- Quick & Easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken
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How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake
- 1 1/2 cup Prunes dried, halved, pitted
- 2 cups Raisins dried, seedless
- 2 cups Cranberries dried
- 1 1/2 cups Red Glacé Cherries
- 1 1/2 cups Green Glacé Cherries
- 1 cup Mixed Fruit
- 1 cup Mixed Peel orange, lemon, citron
- 3 cups J. Wray and Nephew Red Label Wine or sweet red dessert wine
- 1 cup Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum
- In a large glass jar with lid, gradually add all the fruit until jar is filled (ensure an even mixture).
- Pour the red label wine and the white rum over the fruit until fully submerged. Then, tightly close the jar and place in refrigerator for at least 7 days up to one year.
- From time to time, check on the fruit in soak and add more rum and wine to the jar as needed to keep the fruit completely submerged in liquid.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.