Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(155 ratings)

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

Moderately easy

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

    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 (256)

kimsimm's picture

This is an excellent cake loved by all. I'd like to use the recipe to make my daughter's wedding cake. Can you give me advice on quantities and timings for a 14", 12" and 10" round cake if at all possible please? Many thanks

jglencross's picture

This is an absolutely fabulous cake. I have previously used Delia's Christmas cake recipe and always been very happy with it, but I stumbled upon this one and thought I'd try it. Moist and flavourful, it was really delicious and kept brilliantly - it's almost the end of January and we've only just finished it. I adapted the recipe a bit so I could include dried cranberries and pineapple as part of the dried fruit, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I iced it with bought marzipan and fondant and overall it had a fab flavour. Oh, and I only made it a week before Christmas, too - it didn't suffer from the lack of maturation. Highly recommended, I'll now make again.

sjebell39's picture

Made this for Christmas, was lovely! Really moist and easy to make. Even my gran liked it!

kazzles's picture

Where did I go wrong – I am quite an experienced baker and followed recipe carefully apart from leaving out nuts – made in plenty of time – fed with brandy – mine has a great taste but the consistency of clompy sawdust – oh dear - back to drawing board

edwards14's picture

Fantastic recipe! I've wanted to make a Christmas cake for years, this year I made this one, it was moist and so tasty. I used cherry brandy, lovely! It was so good, my Nan thought I'd got someone else to make it? It went within days and I've just made another one 😃

bean_mother's picture

This s definitely the easiest Christmas cake recipe I've ever tried. I made two. A smaller one which I left in-iced and then I double the ingredients for a square tin which I then covered in the traditional marzipan and royal icing. Really lovely and I'll definitely be doing it again next year.

ruthyjenks's picture

This is a brilliant recipe. I made it with my 13 year old son and we did it without getting blisters from stirring! It is the most moist delicous Christmas cake I have ever made. Thank you

lollywobbles's picture

This was the easiest Christmas cake I've ever made - normally beating all the ingredients is such a chore and this recipe left far less washing up than normal. I made a muffin test run which was delicious - and I'm sure the cake will taste even better with a few weeks maturing.

annusara's picture

Hi Mary , Can you tell me if there is any difference between allspices and mixed spice, i looked for the recipe and do not find much difference in both. I am waiting to start baking the cake for christmas. Would appreciate your help.

marylucia's picture

Allspice is a single spice which is also called jamaica pepper. Mixed spice is a blend of spices specially used for spicy cakes, mincemeat, christmas pud etc. Sorry to be so slow at replying! Happy baking, Mary

livingstone21's picture

First time I have made this cake and it looks and smells delicious. I changed it slightly, I don't like glace cherries or peel so I added sultanas, raisins chopped apricots and dates and divided the weight between these. I also used amaretto instead of brandy. Although I haven't tasted it yet I can tell it is going to be fab. Its smells almost like a christmas pud. I will keep you posted.

deeley_bop's picture

A wonderful Christmas cake. it's the first time I have made this cake and friends and family all love it, in fact it is so popular the one I made in November has gone and so I will be baking another for this years Christmas visitors in the next couple of days.

mrsdrjones's picture

VERY moist cake but my fruit was well soaked.(I only used sultanas,raisins and glace cherries).Needed quite a bit longer baking not sure if this is because it was on the bottom shelf, think I will go for the middle of the oven next time.

raven's picture

I make this every year. It is moist and delicious and I haven't found a better recipe.

jester362's picture

Used this recipe for 3 yrs now ! It never fails ,will take longer to cook in a smaller deeper tin ! But I always use some brown paper folded several times around the outside of the cake tin and tied with string as this will stop it drying out and burning on the edges and cover the top with some foil after about an hour in the oven as this will stop the top from burning . It's a beautiful cake and you will not be disappointed .eveyone will comment .

dodiani's picture

Delicious moist and really easy to make. I never bake any other Christmas cake and I even bake it for birthdays and other events. I add more brandy over a period of 7-10 days.

dodiani's picture

This is a wonderful recipe. Easy to make and very tasty. I add more brandy over a week after I baked the cake. I give this cake 5+ stars!

mercology's picture

I couldn't wait a full two weeks to tell you my progress! Daily feeding a for only 2 days and I have a lovely moist cake. I can cut through my 4inch now (instead of saw). Had a slice for breakfast, it was moist without being crumbly. Yummy too! I will still feed lightly for a few more days and leave a week without feeding before icing.
If you had a dry cake, don't be discouraged! Feed. Feed. Feed. It does work!

mercology's picture

So, I made this cake yesterday for a friend who wanted a fruit cake in 2 weeks time. This sounded like the perfect recipe. Made a deep 6inch and a 4inch to use as a taster. It smelled beautiful and was an easy fuss free recipe. With all the great reviews, i ignored that only one person found the recipe dry. Unfortunately my little taster cake came out so dry I had to almost saw through to cut it. ( yes I should have taken this one out earlier). But my 6 inch doesn't look that promising either as the top is very hard. Also, my two cakes cracked at the top within the first 30 min of cooking. I am now feeding both cakes daily with brandy for a week. Hoping to moisten them this way. I will post results in 2 weeks.

nancy0412's picture

this is my first ever attempt at a Christmas Cake and found this recipe straight forward. Need advice though! I opted for the version with no alcohol having young children so used fresh orange juice. please could you tell me if the cake should still be fed with liquid now that it's out of the oven?


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