Condiments, Sauces & Marinades/ Jamaican/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake

September 25, 2022 (Last Updated: December 9, 2022)

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.

fruit for christmas cake in glass jar.

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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!

fruits soaking in glass jar.

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.

How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake Youtube Video

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.

overhead view of rum soaked fruit in glass jar.
Rum Soaked Fruit in Glass Jar

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
glass jar for soaking fruit.

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 flatlay for soaking fruit in alcohol.
Ingredients Flatlay

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

  1. Add All Fruit – in a large glass jar with lid, gradually add all the fruit until jar is filled (ensure an even mixture).
  2. Add Wine and Rum – pour the red label wine and the white rum over the fruit until fully submerged.
  3. Close and Refrigerate – tightly close the jar and place in refrigerator for at least 7 days up to one year.
  4. 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:

  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Prunes
  • Citron
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Mixed Peels
  • Cranberries

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 (BoilMethod 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):

  • Raisins
  • Cranberries
  • 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.

fruit for christmas cake in glass jar.

Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!

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fruit for christmas cake in glass jar.

How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake

Taneisha Morris
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.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Macerating Time 7 days
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Condiments, Sauces & Marinades, Jamaican & Caribbean, Snacks
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings 1 1.8l Glass Jar
Calories 5371 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 5371kcalCarbohydrates: 1034gProtein: 12gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 247mgPotassium: 3151mgFiber: 49gSugar: 725gVitamin A: 2903IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 247mgIron: 7mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a star rating and a comment below! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
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rum soaked fruit for christmas cake in sealed glass jar.

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Mildred Stephens
    November 19, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    5 stars
    Will be giving this a try!!!

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      November 19, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      Awesome!! You’ll love it, especially when you make the cake!!

  • Reply
    Mathew
    December 12, 2022 at 11:08 am

    5 stars
    What is blacking ?

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      December 12, 2022 at 6:44 pm

      Hey Mathew! I don’t see where I referenced “blacking” do you mind sharing where? Or maybe it was a typo – let me know and I’ll clarify!

  • Reply
    Robyn Crawford
    December 16, 2022 at 3:08 am

    You are amazing, Taneshia! Your recipes are bringing back great memories of my grandmother and mother! Any chance you have recipes for bulla? Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      July 14, 2023 at 9:26 pm

      Hey Robyn! Reading this warms my heart – sharing these recipes definitely unlock core childhood memories with my mom and grandmother as well so I can relate! & I certainly do – just search “bulla” in the search bar above!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lorna Murray
    January 4, 2023 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      January 4, 2023 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Lorna! You are so very welcome!!

  • Reply
    Miguel Roache
    January 21, 2023 at 3:34 am

    5 stars
    Great article, just what I was looking for Just open & start fruit.

    Fantastic post, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this.
    You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you’ve
    a great readers’ base already!

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      July 14, 2023 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Miguel! Thanks so much for such a lovely note – it’s so appreciated and my pleasure!!

  • Reply
    Graeme Woodhead
    May 29, 2023 at 2:37 pm

    5 stars
    This – in the Jamaican Black Cake – is stunning, thanks so much for sharing

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      June 2, 2023 at 8:26 am

      You are so welcome!

  • Reply
    Luanne Rayvals
    September 11, 2023 at 11:24 am

    5 stars
    I love Jamaican Black Cake but could not obtain a recipe as it is a closely guarded secret for those friends that make this cake. It’s amazing to see the recipe on the internet; plus the instructions for making the fruit soak. I am drying my own fruits this year to soak and candying peel as well and will be looking in the local LCBO for the Wray and Brothers rum. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      September 19, 2023 at 9:23 pm

      Yes! No gatekeeping over here, I tested the recipe so many times until it was perfect so I have to share so everyone else can also enjoy! Have a wonderful holiday, fruit soaking and baking season!!

  • Reply
    Aileen
    December 3, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    5 stars
    I am excited to try this recipe, but I have a question. how many cakes will I be able to make with these soaked fruits.

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      February 13, 2024 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Aileen! Hmm…I’m not quite sure, but from my recollection I believe you can make at least 3 cakes!

  • Reply
    Liz
    December 9, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    I cant wait to try this i just wanted to ask after ive soak them do i need to blend it before adding it to the cake mix?

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      February 13, 2024 at 12:17 pm

      That is what I would recommend for a smoother texture… however if you prefer whole fruit then you can also leave as is! Enjoy!

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