Traditionally served at weddings and holidays on the island, Jamaican fruit cake resembles its Christmas counterpart commonly found in the United States, but may have a drier and crumblier texture since it's not soaked in liqueur. Without soaking the cake in liqueur, a Jamaican fruit cake can still come out moist when using the proper recipe and baking techniques.
Moist Jamaican Fruit Cake
Soak dried fruit pieces, such as apricots, pineapple, cherries, cranberries and raisins in dry red wine for at least 3 weeks prior to baking the cake. Soaking the fruit plumps it and infuses it with both the flavor of the wine as well as the moisture. Keep the soaking fruit in the refrigerator to prevent mold growth. Drain the fruit before using.
Set your butter out to allow it to come to room temperature at least 30 to 45 minutes before mixing the cake batter. Bringing the butter to room temperature allows it to cream with the sugar easily and blend with the dry ingredients fully to disperse the fat throughout.
Cream together butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Beat in molasses, extracts, citrus juice and rum. Using the juice from a lime or lemon makes the cake more tart, but orange juice sweetens the cake slightly, cutting back on the need for sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well combined.
Sift together the dry ingredients into a separate large bowl. Stir in the wet ingredient mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.
Fold the plumped fruits, citrus zest and chopped mixed nuts into the batter. Do not over stir. Folding in the pieces helps keep the cake tender. Pour into two greased round cake pans.
Bake the fruit cake in a preheated 300 F oven for 80 to 90 minutes. Baking the cake at a low temperature for a long period of time helps hold in the moisture. Cool the cake at room temperature before frosting.
Though the alcohol in the wine and rum cook off when baked in a Jamaican fruit cake, you can substitute grape juice for wine to soak the fruit and rum extract for the rum in the batter if you don't want to buy alcoholic beverages.
Refrigerate a moist Jamaican fruit cake immediately and consume it within 48 hours for best results, or freeze for longer storage. Because of the high moisture content, do not store the fruit cake at room temperature because of the risk of harmful microorganism growth.