Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(140 ratings)

By

Magazine subscription – 3 issues for £3

Cooking time

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

Skill level

Moderately easy

Servings

Makes a 20cm round cake

An easy-to-make alternative to traditional Christmas cakes which requires no beating

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freezable
Nutrition info

Nutrition

kcalories
-
protein
-
carbs
-
fat
-
saturates
-
fibre
-
sugar
-
salt
-

Ingredients

  • 175g butter, chopped
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 750g luxury mixed dried fruits (one that includes mixed peel and glacé cherries)
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz cherry brandy or brandy plus 4tbsp more
  • 85g macadamia nuts
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice

Buy Ingredients

Buy the ingredients for this recipe now via:

Want to know how this works? Read all about it here.

Method

  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2002

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments

Show comments
sallygee's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

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
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

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!!

risingcake's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Lovely and easy, haven't made a christmas cake for years, looks and smells great, gonna make the marzipan next.

clovelly1's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made this last night and it was so easy! It smelled fabulous in the oven and looks perfect. I used brandy in the cake mix and fed it afterwards with lovely sticky Cherry Brandy! I will feed it again. Can't wait to try it.

lizziebanks's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made two of these for the first time at the weekend - one each for mine and my boyfriend's family Christmases. I've never made a Christmas cake before, but it was so easy!

I made one as per the recipe, and one without any nuts to cater for different diets in our families.

I chose this recipe because of its fantastic reviews and the generous glug of cherry brandy, but also because I made a cherry simnel cake from Mary Cadogan's recipe last Easter and it was absolutely divine. If this Christmas cake tastes half as good as that simnel cake, I'll be a very happy bunny indeed!!

neilsmum's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I know I've left making my Cristmas cake a bit late, but it's in the oven now and smells devine. Got to b the easiest cake I'e ever made. I used walnuts instad of macadamias

LuluLolly's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Excellent!! I made it for the first time last year and it was a huge success. Super easy to make and so wonderfully moist. I've just made it again today and this time I added some sour cherries and dried cranberries. I can't wait to eat it in a few weeks!

toffeebonbon's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I made my first one 3 weeks ago and it went within a week. Fab recipe. I couldnt find all spice but used 2 tsp of mixed spice instead of that and the cinnamon. just making another one now

burnsidegoddess's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

This was the first Christmas cake I made and it's been a great success every year since first published. So simple to put together, although I always find it needs a lot longer in the oven than the recipe suggests - whether cooking by gas or electric.

karenlw's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I'd never made a Christmas cake before so I decided to try this recipe last year and it was fantastic, easy to make and went down a treat with everyone who had a piece. Shop bought Christmas cakes are now a thing of the past in our house!!!

montgomery01's picture

Really looking forward to making this for our family christmas cake this year. Please tell me the dimensions of a suitable tin to use. Thankyou

teresahall's picture

This recipe sounds lovely. I would like to use the mixture in a 2 lb loaf tin. Would anyone know what would be the best temp and cooking time to use? I havent a clue

hilscymru's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thankyou Mary for sharing this recipe.
I will never use another recipe again.
I took some cake into work and the comments I had were delicious amazing stunning. It really is moist the only variation I made to it was to soak the dried fruit in a little brandy and orange juice for a cpl of days prior to cooking it.
If anyone is stuck for a last minute christmas cake this wont fail you, I made a taster for us to try which we ate the next day and it was still beautiful although I would recommend leaving it to mature

mettamac's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Have been making this since it came out in 2002 along with the Mary's Xmas Pud recipe,
Fantastic, everyone loves it, a sure fire hit.
This is now our family recipe and I have passed it on to many friends.
Love it.

jose1946's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I used fkaked almonds instead of macademia nuts. Children prefer them.

I've made this cake every year for the past 8 years. Always moist and yummy.

mercedes13's picture

My cake tin is 23cm or 9inch round will it be ok to use this size of tin also do I have to replace the nuts with something else if I don't use them.

loustar14's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

This was my first attempt at a christmas cake and I will definately be making it again!! Easy to make and deliciously moist. I'm going to try making a large square cake, cut into four, ice them and give them away as the perfect christmas present.

maxcat's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

sorry forgot to rate it!

maxcat's picture
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

I have made this cake since '02 and would not make any other Christmas Cake!
I sometimes vary the fruit and nuts (and alcohol variety!) but this method is foolproof.
I have always let mine mature for at least a month

denneyb's picture

This is simply the most simple and delicious Christmas Cake ever!
This will be the 6th year in a row I have made this cake. Everyone who tastes the cake asks for the recipe.

Pages

Questions

Tips