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)

cheeseman2's picture

i made this cake last week, came out great. If i dont want to add the alcohol do i still need to make up for the liquid content? Also can i use self raising flour instead?

julie5573's picture

Superb cake for every occasion. Super moist and so nice.

muse_chicken's picture

Best Christmas cake I have ever made!

poundsandounces's picture

Made this lovely easy cake a few weeks ago and it is so easy to make. We tried it this morning, OH is now on second slice. Love it. Lovely and moist and so flavorfull. Have had requests to make again and again.

epicurist's picture

Hi Wurood, your fruit mix sounds great! Hope the bake went well.

pikacle's picture

Just made this recipe - the only alteration was changing the cinnamon to nutmeg - personal preference. If the cake comes out tasting as good as the cake mix, we are in for a treat!
I also made the old Delia recipe a few weeks ago so it will be interesting to see how traditional v's this recipe compare.

wurood's picture

Hi Epicurist, thanks for replying. I'm going to give it a go tomorrow. Going to try sultanas, raisins, dates and chopped apricots and of course mixed peel and glade cherries. Thanks again

epicurist's picture

Hi Wurood, the basic components of a packet of mixed dried fruit are raisins, sultanas and currants. As the recipe says, a luxury version will usually also contain mixed peel - crystallised peel of oranges, lemons and limes - glacé cherries and a number of other dried fruits. I used a basic mix of raisins, sultanas and currants, to which I added chopped apricots and soured cherries. I replaced macadamia nuts with hazelnuts and added extra nutmeg. It turned out great and has already been eaten!

wurood's picture

I live abroad and can't find ready dried mixed fruit - could anybody help and give ingredients for the mixed fruit. Pls I'm stuck - I promised my daughter that I will make her one

lesley-holmes's picture

I am not a fan of traditional Christmas cake but I made this a couple of years ago to have a cake for family coming round at Christmas and it was delicious. Everyone really loved it and it has become a Christmas essential now each year. Really moist and full of flavour - cannot recommend enough!!

halifaxlady's picture

Really easy to make best xmas cake I have ever made, so moist yummy. Will definately use this receipe again.

kbsylvester's picture

The easiest and most successful Christmas cake I have made (not tasted yet as it's maturing for Christmas). Highly recommend.

londongirl11's picture

Hi have just seen this recipe as I am about to make Delias cake!
Has anyone reduced the sugar successfully please? Thanks

londongirl11's picture

Hi have just seen this recipe as I am about to make Delias cake!
Has anyone reduced the sugar successfully please? Thanks

denisel03's picture

so i have just made this cake and house smells fab , just put it in the oven - wish me luck

kazza111181's picture

Made this at the wekend. It's the first chritmas cake i've ever made and it was sooooo easy. Tastes great. As I was worried about maybe it tasting too rich, i didn't feed the cake with the extra brandy after baking, but it wasn't, although you could still get away with serving it that way. But next time I make it I will give it the extra glug!!

cakequeen75's picture

All week I've been busy getting the kitchen in order, sorting my baking tins and buying ingredients for the start of my festive cooking/preparation which begins tomorrow on Stir Up Sunday and Im going to make two of these after reading all the comments, one to keep for christmas and one to devour as soon as its ready!

bikerbell's picture

I've made this cake for the last couple of years for Christmas and it has never failed. I do vary the alcohol a bit and use whatever is in the cupboard. I also leave out the mixed peel and use extra cherries instead.
Going to nip down to the shops now to get the ingredients so that I can soak the fruit overnight in the brandy ! and make it tomorrow.

shimmers's picture

So easy to make. Even a baking idiot like myself can manage it. Tastes delicious. This is my third year of making it for Crimble. Kids love it too which is good. I usually put marizpan and then royal icing on top. First year I put sprigs of holly on top. Second year I put my Christmas cake decorations on e.g. santa, kids icing skating etcc etc. Not sure what I will do this year. To the person above who had trouble with it being stodgy, I was worried this might happen to me as was in a rush and didn't let fruit cool but it still worked out fine so not sure what went wrong?

jitkad's picture

Soooo delicious,I used spicy rum as I didn't have brandy, and kesu instead macadamia nuts.....thumbs up


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