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Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake

This is not an overly rich fruit cake, though by cooking it with dark muscovado sugar you achieve a wonderful warm mellow flavour. This recipe is a very old family favourite and my mum still makes it using pound weights. I have only converted everything to metrics. It is best to make this cake, as soon as possible, as the longer it is prepared in advance of Christmas Day, the better the flavour will be.


  • 500g raisins
  • 500g sultanas
  • 125g chopped dried dates
  • 150g glace cherries, diced
  • 150g mixed peel
  • 150g sliced or flaked almonds
  • 2 tsp ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (see Cook’s Tips)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon or cloves
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • grated rind 2 oranges
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 500g butter, at room temperature
  • 500g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 10 eggs, at room temperature
  • 125g self-rising flour
  • 500g flour
  • about 1 cup extra Brandy (optional)


  1. Prepare the cake tin. Grease and line a deep-sided 25cm square cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Make sure the paper has no creases and the corners are as sharp as possible to ensure square edges on the cake, not round.
  2. . In a large bowl put the raisins, sultanas, dates, cherries, mixed peel, almonds, mace, mixed spice, cinnamon or cloves, white pepper, salt, orange rind and brandy and toss together well. Cover and leave to macerate overnight.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until it is very light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating very well after each addition
  4. Sift the flour on top for the creamed mixture and then add the fruit and mix gently. I find it much easier to mix every thing together with my hands. It is easier and gentler on the fruit cake mixture.
  5. Pack the mixture firmly into the prepared cake tin and level off the top evenly.
  6. Wrap the outside of the tin in about 6-8 layers of newspapers, folding where necessary to make them look tidy. Secure with string.
  7. Bake in the lower section of the oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 3 ½-4 hours. If the cake begins to brown too much, cover with a sheet of baking paper and a thick covering of newspaper.
  8. . Remove the cake and place on a board. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave the cake in the tin to cool overnight.
  9. Sprinkle about ¼ cup Brandy over the top of the cake and wrap the cake in foil. Leave the cake in the baking paper until you are ready to ice it. Over the next month, continue to pour on the Brandy in 1/4cup lots and re-wrap well after each time. Ice with Butter Icing (see recipe) if wished.

Cooks Tips

Mixed spice varies from brand to brand. Make sure it is fresh, not older than 3-6 months, for best flavour.

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