Save on Pinterest

Grandma’s Molasses Fruitcake

This dense, dark, moist fruitcake was my grandmother's recipe. The flavor just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge, so be sure to make it ahead! —Debbie Harmon, Lavina, Montana
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 1-1/4 hours + cooling
  • Makes
    3 loaves (16 slices each)


  • 3-1/4 cups dried currants
  • 2-2/3 cups raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup chopped candied citron or candied lemon peel
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee


  • Preheat oven to 300°. Grease and flour three 9x5-in. loaf pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease and flour the paper. Combine currants, raisins, walnuts, candied citron and 1/4 cup flour. Toss to coat; set aside.
  • Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses. In another bowl, whisk baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and remaining flour; add to creamed mixture alternately with coffee. Stir into currant mixture and mix well.
  • Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 days to blend flavors. Slice and bring to room temperature before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Test Kitchen Tip
  • To soak fruitcakes in alcohol: Using a toothpick, poke holes on all sides of fruitcakes until well perforated. Pour about 1 cup of desired alcohol such as brandy, rum or whiskey into a bowl. Brush some of the alcohol over all sides of fruitcakes. Cut three 36x17-in. pieces of cheesecloth. Let each piece soak in the bowl of alcohol; gently squeezing out some of the excess. Place each fruitcake on a piece of cheesecloth and tightly wrap cheesecloth around fruitcake. Wrap each loaf tightly in foil and place in the refrigerator. Remove foil and brush each cheesecloth-covered loaf with an additional 2-3 tablespoons of alcohol once a week for up to one month.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 slice: 210 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 26mg cholesterol, 79mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.

    Recommended Video


    Click stars to rate
    Average Rating:
    • Willer5
      Dec 18, 2020

      I am so thrilled to get this recipe. My grandfather used to make it, every year, at Christmas time. I was too young to think about getting the recipe. After his passing, I really missed his Christmas cake. I when I had my family, I wanted to pass on Grandpa's tradition. I asked many family members if anyone might have the recipe. No one did. I basically recalled most of the ingredients, but still couldn't remember all. This recipe is so close to it, with the exception, Grandpa would put in large gumdrops, before baking. It was so yummy. Thank you, so much, for sharing this recipe.

    • Pauline
      Dec 6, 2020

      What a surprise when I read the recipe. I am 78 years old and I live in Gatineau Quebec in Canada . The recipe is identical but one ingredient. My mother used milk instead of coffee. I made this cake for many years and still enjoy it. It is very sweet but good for this special occasion. Food brings people together.

    • Rich
      Nov 30, 2020

      My mother was a WWII war bride and immigrated to the U.S. after the war...she used to make this fruit cake WITHOUT EGGS AND THOSE COLORFUL FRUIT THINGS. During the war basic things like rags and whatnot were hard to come by. Her recipe was simple, raisins, flour, molasses, and nuts. This recipe was lost for many years, then one Christmas a friend of ours invited us over for Christmas dinner and after dinner brought out this fruit cake my mom used to make, she even gave us the ORIGINAL recipe my mom gave her with her picture for this fruit cake...this was back in 2007. My brother the following year made this recipe, it makes 3 cakes, and takes an hour and a half to bake at 325 deg. This recipe is very popular with our family, and some relatives want to change the name from fruitcake to raisin cake...I gave the above cake one star because of those colorful fruit thingies.

    • LindaS_WI
      Nov 21, 2017

      Fantastic recipe, or at least I think it is. I made the three loaves and immediately tried one when it cooled. The other two are aging in some port wine and brandy. I can't wait to unwrap these at Christmas.

    • Betsy
      Nov 8, 2017

      Thank you so very much for posting this recipe. This is as close as I have found to my Mum's recipe for fruitcake. Making it was a 12 hour ordeal ! She would make 6 loaves at a time. She did use more fruit and candied cherries,which I picked out! I can't wait to make this and have a nice thick slice spread with butter. It's been far too long. Thank you again.