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)

sallygee's picture

Just made this cake today as have new cooker so wanted to try out before I make one for christmas absolutely delicious again good excuse yea so easy to make.

bacon-n-egg's picture

I cant understand what went wrong - twice!!!! The cake just came out stoggy and heavy. I think the moistness of the fruit has to have an effect as I dont usually have a problem with baking. I'm also wondering if the fruit should be well cool to actually setting as after half an hour my fruit mix was still very warm.

judiecaravan's picture

Still the best chistmas cake recipe i have ever used! i also add walnuts.

makemeacook's picture

Found this very easy to make took a little longer to cook to ensure nothing sticking to skewer, tasting will have to wait till Christmas, I'm going to ice with marzipan and royal icing but it looks just like the picture. So 5 stars for the method. :-)

loftylozzy's picture

Gorgeous cake, I am having to make another one for Christmas as the one I made the other day has almost gone already. So tasty the day after baking, I can't wait to try it after it has rested for the month or so leading to Christmas.

halifaxlady's picture

Superb recipe, best christmas cake I have ever made. Will certainly be using this recipe all the time.

jamoco's picture

Just got the cake out of the oven and it looks lovely!!
I am wheat intolerant so I have made it with wheat free flour. I soaked the fruit overnight with double the amount of alcohol (I like to use Peach snapps in fruit cake) as wheat free flour cooking tends to be a little dry. Seems nice and springy and is a beautiful colour.
Very straight foreward to make, if it tastes as good as it looks and smells I will definately keep using it :)

skybun's picture

made this cake 3 times now and always turns out nice, it is my kids favourite cake covered with marsipan and icing.
i made my last one with orange juice instead of alcohol and was worried it would go stale, but when we cut into it two months later it was fine(i did feed it with brandy a couple of times so maybe this preserved it?)

corinna31's picture


I haven't made this cake but reading everyone's reviews I think I will give it try. This is my first attempt at a Christmas cake, so fingers crossed!

Can I easily cov this cake with icing or marzipan like a traditional Christmas cake?


lau_pau's picture

I made this last night, really easy to make- particularly as I am a cooker, not a baker! Enjoyed making it, so much so that I am making another for family this evening! Obviously haven't tasted it yet but looks good and just like the picture!

sunwin's picture

As everyone else has said - this recipe is perfect! I made 3 last Christmas and put one away for later which I then forgot about! I found it in May and then used it in June for my parents Ruby anniversary - it went down a treat and everyone asked for the recipe - so it definitely stores well!!
This year's cake is in the oven - I've used a cocktail of various drinks which were in the cupboard - don't be afraid to chop and change to take into account what you already have - this recipe is very versatile!

frankie84's picture

This was the first Christmas cake I made and it was a total success. So easy to make and was still moist when we finished eating it at the start of February! The macadamia nuts were lovely and although they can be a bit expensive they are worth it as they add another layer of texture to the cake. Looking forward to making it again this weekend in readiness for this years festivities. Just need to decide how to decorate it!

hairdresser's picture

This is an excellent fruit cake and so easy to make. I didn't have any brandy so i used rum instead and i put fresh pineapple (150g) and i didn't put roasted nuts just put extra fruit. It was so moist . We had a take and share night at our local and everyone who had a piece asked who made it and they all wanted the recipe

parsnip47's picture

Will this cake still keep for 3 months if I make it without alcohol?

tinysparkles's picture

Im going to try James Martins' fig and honey xmas cake too, also equally simple... ooh the choices!!!

tinysparkles's picture

This will be my first Xmas cake! After reading as many of the reviews as I could, I cannot WAIT to make it!!! My husband loves xmas pud but I hate them with a passion..... but that may be down to the puds always being shop-bought. Im going to wait until October to make this so that we can have it in December..... but will I be able to wait that long???

mimi204's picture

What a fantastic recipe! highly recommend that you allow it to mature as it tasted heavenly after a couple of months. I have used different nuts and fruit to suit the occasion and it never fails. This is my staple fruitcake recipe.

aftersixpence's picture

This will be my go to recipe from now on. Moist, not too dark, absolutely delicious. I made it in early October and it was wonderful.I used candied citron and orange peel, maraschino cherries and a little crystalized ginger in my fruit mix. Next time I am going to add some blanched almonds for a little more nut content.

esagoodfood's picture

My first attempt and it didn't dissapoint. An excellent cake. Made it in a wok, so that there was plenty of room to mix everything in without risking overflow, and fed it with Calvados. Moist, flavoursome and characterful.

ganache's picture

Can I leave out the macadamia nuts and ground almonds? my son is allergic to nuts. Do I have to substitute anything in their place?
Thank you!


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