10 November 2020

Moist Dark Fruit Cake

Posted by the Cake Shop

Here at the Cake Shop every month is a cake month, but November is the month when Christmas cakes come to fruition.

Terry says:

“Every year around this time I feel the need to give a shout out to the London Caribbean community for changing forever the way me (and my mum) make a boiled fruitcake.

In fact, I would say that London in general has fundamentally changed the way I bake – but that’s a longer story.

While I was studying baking at London Southbank University, my fellow students were mostly women, and mostly from African and Caribbean backgrounds – so much so that the larger canteen always served incredible African meals. Lord, how I loved those lunches. It was at lunch that we would collaborate, discuss and exchange baking tips – a cross-cultural pollination that would, appropriately, always take place over brimming trays of food.

My education in the nature of the Caribbean Black Cake was imparted to me by the other students on one of these afternoon breaks. Everyone seemed to have a family recipe or a closely guarded secret. To my surprise, the source of pride wasn’t a cake recipe per se – it was the recipe for the boozy fruit brew. Those using Caribbean-rooted recipes tended to soak their fruits in black sherry or rum, while a friend from Sierra Leone said she used black tea as a soak. The cakes made with these soaked fruits have an incredibly moist texture, almost like fudge, or a brownie: heavy and melt-in-your-mouth.

I remember how these ideas swirled in my mind that afternoon. In the years since they’ve taken root, giving me my own take on the technique. Now I have a cake with much more flavour, and I’m soaking fruit all year round. My personal brew varies depending on where I’ve travelled recently, what I’ve been reading, a desire to use up a particular fruit glut or a fascination with a new spice blend.

This year’s flavour profile is based on English apples, brandy and prunes, with little nods to my love of anise, orange and black tea. Now that the cakes are made, I’ve been dressing them with booze in my kitchen over the last few months while listening to the audio book of It Takes Blood and Guts by Skin, front-woman of Skunk Anansie – she is an original kickass trail blazer, activist and artist. The book is brilliant, by the way: the perfect accompaniment to dressing your fruitcake, or eating one of mine.”


Terry will be doing fruitcake delivery on her bike to addresses within a 3-mile radius of the Cake Shop. Cakes cost £25 for a small 400g cake, or £36 for a medium (650g). Get in touch by email or phone us to place your order – or walk up and knock on the Cake Shop hatch: we’ll be there for you from 9 until 4Tuesday to Saturday, during lockdown. We’ll also have our dark chocolatealmondanise and raisin Christmas cookies available to order for personal delivery, and bottles of our homemade plum wine liqueur.