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)

chompfest's picture

hi abby1991 - how long did you feed/store it? I think the longer it keeps the less likely it is to crumble - that said I made mine in early October last year ad cut it at Christmas having fed it every week with cherry brandy and that still crumbled - no one cared!

abby1991's picture

Great cake, and tasted lovely too, everyone loved it! but can anyone give me tips on how to stop it crumbling?

jmc123's picture

Lovely moist cake, nice balance of fruit and spices, not as bitter or dense as a traditional Christmas cake, this one is a keeper for all year round.

rf2690's picture

never made a xmas cake before,this was so simple to do.passed the recipe on to friend's and they all loved it.didn't change anything with it being my first time don't think i will either.

standupjuno's picture

I'm a complete novice when it comes to baking so spotted this just before Christmas and decided to give it a go. The cake was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. My family loved it, and were pleasantly surprised that I had made it, knowing how nervous I am about baking!

mrsted's picture

Gorgeous cake, first time I have ever made a christmas cake and this was so eay to make, lovely and moist.
Did not add the nuts and made 5 small cakes with the first attempt which I iced and gave away as Christmas presents and then one big cake for the day itself which did not last long. I added a bit more brandy before icing but there was not alot of time before making and then icing and then it was Christmas.
I shall be making this again and again and next time I am thinking of using a loaf tin and cutting it into slabs.
Many thanks for another brilliant recipe, I love the praise I get on the results!

krisvenlou's picture

I've done this cake for about 3 years now and can't find a better and easier cake. Can't go wrong when you do it. Anyone who tastes this cake want the recipe and I'll be happy to hear that they did it also.

feesmith's picture

Fabulous recipe, works perfectly everytime! I used sherry instead of brandy and sometimes add prunes and dates to the fruit mix. Brilliant!

dishymummy's picture

I was a Christmas cake virgin until last year and so pleased that I chose this recipe! Easy to make and tastes superb. My husband says its the best fruit cake he has ever tasted and my Mother has asked for the recipe, which is a huge compliment coming from her! Will definitely be making this again for Christmas 2012 if not before.

queenfi's picture

If I could give this recipe 6 + stars I would!
This is simpy the best fruit cake recipe I have ever made and more so tasted, not only me but my very experienced baker Mum too. Coming from an Irish family with old classic Christmas cake recipes and recipe books galore nothing will beat this.
I am very critical of all cakes and couln't fault this one, it is so moist and has a delicious flavour...opted for whiskey this time around but will try brandy next...thank you, thank you, thank you!

a1katcrow's picture

This was the recipe I chose to make my first christmas cake & I can tell you that it is amazing, everyone loved it. I found it easy to make, you can add more booze if you like & it still tatses great. I will only use this recipe now.

jacquiec's picture

I made this cake for the fiorst time and it deserves at least five stars. I changed some of the fruits, but stuck to the basic recipe. I usually make the Delia Smith cake, but sometimes it turns out dry so thought I would have a change and I will make this one in future.

alisonpg's picture

Easy to make and we all enjoyed the results. My husband loves fruit cake and he gave it a big thumbs up, so it must be good! Didn't make any modifications to the recipe, followed it exactly as it said.

dawncopland's picture

Made this a month before Christmas and fed it twice. Also made the orange marzipan (also on this site), which went really well with it. A great cake and easy to make.

rozwhite's picture

Great recipe! Really moist cake. Definitely better than Delia's!

jjlawlor's picture

The best Christmas cake I've ever made - not too dark or dry - just right.

hideouscreatures's picture

My first christmas cake and it went down very well, will be using the same recipe next year.

ardleigh's picture

A great recipe. Always turns out perfectly. I often have trouble getting the macadamia nuts so use mixed chopped nuts or chopped almonds instead.

shialy1's picture

Great, easy recipe. I make cakes all the time and this year have made 14 Christmas cakes using this recipe. However, only thing I would recommend is to increase the amount of baking powder to 1 tsp instead of 1/2. You may not realise it and be happy with the size it is, but the cake will rise more. (The reason I did the sample test of increasing the baking powder was that as I often made fruit cake, I thought initially this one was alot flatter than norm). Now that I have changed the quantity of the bp, I will continue to use this recipe forever! Thank you!

theglutenfreegirly's picture

I am a 13 year old, who loves to cook. I am also a coeliac. I made this recipe Gluten free by using "Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour Blend".
This cake came out SUPERB, and I mean superb. Much better than store bought, and you can't tell I made it Gluten Free.
I did not leave this cake to mature, and just took it out of the tin, cooled it, then iced and ate! I iced this cake with marzipan and royal icing.
I 100% reccommend this cake recipe...Its so easy, AND yummy! My fave combination!


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