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Tui Flower's Christmas Cake

  • 45 minutes
  • 5 hours
  • Makes 1x 22cm round cake
Tui Flower's Christmas Cake

I had a request off my facebook page for Tui Flower’s Christmas Cake recipe as the enquirer said it was "the best", so here it is. We use to make this at the Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen eons ago and it is ideal for all special occasions.


  • 3 cups currants
  • 3½ cups raisins
  • 1¼ cups sultanas
  • ½ cup dates, stoned and chopped
  • ½ cup each crystallised ginger, and crystallised cherries chopped
  • ½ cup crystallised peel
  • ¾ cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • ½ cup dark coloured seedless jam
  • ½ cup crushed pineapples including the juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ¼ teaspoon each almond essence and lemon essence
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
  • 250 grams butter, softened
  • 1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature and 3-4 tablespoons brandy


  1. Line the base and sides of a 22cm round or square cake tin with 2 layers of brown paper and one layer of baking paper on the inside. Preheat the oven to 120-130°C. Set the oven rack just below centre in the oven.
  2. Toss the currants, raisins, sultanas, dates, ginger, cherries, mixed peel and almonds with the orange juice, jam, pineapple, vanilla, almond and lemon essences. If wished cover and stand overnight.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg together twice to ensure the spices are well mixed into the flour. Mix 1 cup of the flour into fruit.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until light in colour and very fluffy and creamy in texture. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Gently mix the fruit and flour into the creamed mixture. Press firmly into the prepared tin, making sure you have the mixture well pushed into the corners so that the cooked cake has a good shape.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 hours or until cooked. Leave the cake to cool in the tin before removing. Brush the brandy over the cake and wrap the cake- and baking papers - in foil and store in an airtight container. Preferably store for 4-6 weeks before cutting to allow the flavours to mature and the cake to ‘set’ so that it cuts well and does not crumble.

Cooks Tips

- Read the recipe before beginning, as you may need to begin the day before preparing the fruit.

- Check that you have all the ingredients before starting.

- Prepare the cake tin before preparing the cake. The tin should be greased and lined preferably with two layers of brown paper and one of baking paper. If no brown paper is available use 3 layers of baking paper.

- The lining on the inside sides of the cake tin, should extend above the top of the cake tin by 2cm. The outside should be wrapped in 3-4 layers of newspaper and tied in place with heat-proof string. This will protect the outside of the cake from over-browning.

- Have the butter and eggs at room temperature, or the creamed mixture will separate when the eggs are being added.

- Old recipes call for the fruit to be washed and dried. This is not necessary today with the quality of dried fruit that we can purchase. However, it is still a good idea to wash glace cherries and dry well to remove excess syrup.

- A rich fruit cake is very heavy and the mixture is stiff. This is to support the weight of fruit and nuts in the cake.

- As it takes time to make and cook a fruit cake, you can prepare it one day, cover with a loose cloth and bake it the next day.

- I always make a shallow indent or hollow in the centre, which ensures the cake, rises to form a level top when cooked.

- Bake a heavy fruit cake in the mid-lower section of the oven.

- If the cake begins to brown too much on top, cover with brown paper or baking paper. It is best not to use foil.

- Allow the cake to cool thoroughly in the tin before removing. Wrap the cake securely in a double layer of greaseproof and then in foil, leaving the lining paper on the cake until ready to decorate.

- If pouring on brandy or other spirit, prick the cake with a fine skewer when cold. Slowly and evenly pour the brandy or spirit over the cake. You can un-wrap and pour brandy or spirit over the cake during storage.

- Rich fruit cakes are best made 2-3 months in advance of being cut. This will allow the flavours to mature and marry together and the cake will “set” firmly and cut far better.

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