Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(156 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr - 1 hr, 15 mins Cook: 1 hr - 2 hrs, 30 mins (cooking time 2 hrs 30 if gas oven)

More effort

Makes a 20cm round cake
An easy-to-make alternative to traditional Christmas cakes which requires no beating

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • 175g butter, chopped



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 750g luxury mixed dried fruit (one that includes mixed peel and glacé cherries)
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 100ml/3½ fl oz cherry brandy or brandy plus 4tbsp more



    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • 85g macadamia nut
  • 3 large egg, lightly beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 85g ground almond


    arr-mund or al-mund

    Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • ¼ tsp ground allspice


  1. Put the butter, sugar, fruit, zests, juice and 100ml/3½fl oz brandy in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the butter has melted. Reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2/ fan 130C and line a 20cm round cake tin. Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them until evenly browned, or in the oven for 8-10 minutes - keep an eye on them as they burn easily. When they are cool, chop roughly. Stir the eggs, nuts and ground almonds into the fruit mixture and mix well. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into the pan. Stir in gently, until there are no traces of flour left.

  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down evenly - you will find this is easiest with the back of a metal spoon which has been dipped into boiling water.

  5. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C/gas 1/ fan120C and cook for a further 1-1¼ hours (about a further 1¾ hours if you have a gas oven) until the cake is dark golden in appearance and firm to the touch. Cover the top of the cake with foil if it starts to darken too much. To check the cake is done, insert a fine skewer into the centre - if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

  6. Make holes all over the warm cake with a fine skewer and spoon the extra 4tbsp brandy over the holes until it has all soaked in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. When it's cold, remove it from the tin, peel off the lining paper, then wrap first in baking parchment and then in foil. The cake will keep in a cupboard for up to three months or you can freeze it for six months.

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Comments (258)

cottagecook's picture

I made this cake for the first time this Christmas and it was a huge success. It was easy to make and fruit selection can be to taste. I went away for the holiday and came back to a tiny bit of the cake. This weekend I will make another one - I can't wait.

karengi's picture

This is the first Christmas cake that I have ever baked and it turned out fab. Will make again definitely.

I didn't put the alcohol in it and my 4 year old and 10 month old loved it too!

jogosden's picture

I made this cake and let it mature for some time, having just finished my last slice it was still moist and had a great flavour while not being too heavy would defiantly do this one again!

rebeccajim's picture

It's all been said already - this was my first ever Christmas Cake and it really is delicious. Made it in October and added lots of cranberries as well. It was so quick and easy to make. Will be making it again and again!! Highly recommended!

nangella's picture

My 8yr old daughter enjoyed helping me make this cake it was so easy and the rest of my family enjoyed eating it over christmas, "Delicious".

carolallen's picture

I made this cake this year for the first time and it is the best christmas cake I've ever made, I did however add a handfull of walnuts and pecans, absolutely delicious, nice and moist.

wendycadman's picture

Fabulous cake. Loved the simmer and stir method. highly recommend.

wendycadman's picture

Fabulous cake. Loved the simmer and stir method. Highly recommend.

jul34es's picture

i made this cake in september and decorated xmas week,it was so easy to make and i decorated it with tealights,like in the november 02 mag,but i did it a bit different,it was tasty though,i,d make it again.

lindad4a's picture

This was my first ever attempt at making a Christmas cake... and I am feeling extremely chuffed! I made the cake (with pecans rather than the suggested macademia nuts) and then covered it with marzipan and icing. The resulting cake was far better than I had ever hoped and 100% delicious! I've sampled a couple of other cakes this Christmas, but am smugly ashamed to admit that I much prefer mine! And it was an absolute doddle to make!

lovekins's picture

This cake is fantastic! I made two - a round one (with sweet pedro ximenez sherry) and a square one (with cherry brandy). I made both of these cakes in October and they were both lovely and moist (and boozy as I fed them a few times!!). I'll definitely be making this again (it's even better than Delia's christmas cake).

phildelahaye's picture

lovely - very easy and really moist.
I made it at the end of November and fed it a couple of times a week, it was still delicious after Christmas.
I will definitely make this again

jennifert's picture

This was awesomely easy to make, and was deliciously moist and tasty. It was a huge hit with the whole mob - from 3 years to 63! I definitely plan on making this one again. I topped it with the Easy Vanilla Marzipan which complemented it really well. A real winner!

lorna1972's picture

Oh my goodness, this went down an absolute treat. This is the first time I've ever made my own Christmas cake although I do bake the usual cakes, muffins and biscuits on a regular basis. Truly delicious, beautifully moist and the macademia nuts added a lovely bite to it. My mum who LOVES Christmas cake was thoroughly impressed. Much better than any shop bought cake I've ever tasted.

fatstrat's picture

Great recipe that works with adaptations as well. I've made this cake for Christmas day - so i'll see how it tastes straight off. This is the third time i've baked it this month, the other two got eaten!

dalphey's picture

Rating also based on the preparation as we have not tried it yet. Very easy to make, chosen as wanted a cake I could make together which was quick with my 2 yr old son. Looking forward to tasting it in a few days.

poisondwarf's picture

Rating based on the fact that this seems to have cooked perfectly which is a first for me with a fruit cake! Haven't tasted it yet as will be feeding and decorating for Christmas. Left out the nuts as they make my Dad sneeze!

mellucia's picture

This was the easiest and best tasting Christmas cake I have ever made!

sallygee's picture

Has anyone cooked this recipe in a flat tray? I've been asked to make cake in finger slices wondered how long to cook and what temp suggestions welcomed

andy26172's picture

Just made this cake for my Granny. The whole house smells divine. So easy and straightforward to do. My 3 year old did most of the work!!


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