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Holiday Fruit Cake (Torta Negra) slice on cake stand

Holiday Fruit Cake (Torta Negra)

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  • Author: Rosana
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices


This Venezuelan take on the Holiday Fruit Cake (Torta Negra) is made with macerated fruits and nuts, and layered with a brown butter frosting. It’s a must have dessert during the holidays!


For the batter

  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg

For the fruit mixture

  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 1 cup rum

For the browned butter frosting

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 58 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Make the Fruit Mixture:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chopped blanched almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, golden raisins, raisins, and candied ginger.
  2. Pour the rum over the fruit mixture and toss to coat evenly. Cover the bowl and set aside to soak for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

Make the batter

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC)  and grease two 8-inch round pans.
  2. In a large bowl, using beaters or a stand-mixer, cream together the butter and salt until light and fluffy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating until well combined.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift and whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Stir in the applesauce, strained fruit mixture, and walnuts until evenly distributed. Discard the rum. 
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto wire racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until light brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Sift in powdered sugar and whisk. Add vanilla extract and milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. I used about 8 tbsp.

Assemble the Cake:

  1. Once the cakes are completely cooled, place one layer on a cake stand or serving plate.
  2. Spread a generous amount of frosting over the top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting.
  3. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  4. Decorate the cake with fresh fruits and chopped nuts, if desired.
  1. Fill and frost cake layers with the brown butter frosting.
  2. Decorate with fresh fruits (I used gooseberries) and chopped walnuts (or preferred nuts).


  • To store an un-frosted cake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Store it at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • To store a frosted cake, place it in an airtight container. Store it at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing Instructions: Let the cake cool completely before freezing. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months.
  • Thawing Instructions: remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight. Once the cake is thawed, let it come to room temperature before frosting or serving.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Soak Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Hispanic, Venezuelan