Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(140 ratings)

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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

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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

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Comments

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christamillar's picture
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Easy to make, I added some plain chocolate to the pan with the fruit etc. I doubled the quantities and put it in a square tin (the kind with loose sides and middle partitions) and made 3 square cakes - they look fantastic, smell fantastic and from the little nibble I had, taste fantastic! This will be my favoured Christmas Cake from now on ...

tdkuk100's picture
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I made this cake for Christmas gone already.
any one know how to increase the recipe to 10 inch round tin thanks

icecreamdogpark's picture
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First time i made a christmas cake it was so easy that i made 2 and one mixture was made into mini muffin case cakes for children to decorate nearer christmas,Tastes fabulous and good tip about the hot spoon !

lisa16's picture
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This was my first time making a Christmas cake - it was so easy why haven't I made one before? It looked great and smelt great! I added a touch more brandy than stated...well it is for Christmas isn't it!!

korenforbes's picture

I don't want to add the ground almonds so should I add 85g of extra flour?

patthomas's picture
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I've made this for several years now & is always good & moist. I up the ingredients a little to make 4 small square ones in my multicake tin, to ice & give away & they're always a hit. I gave one for a raffle prize & was asked if I'd make another one for her this year - must have been good! I make a big one for my parents every year. My sister uses the recipe regularly when she makes celebration cakes for friends & family.

chocalotl's picture

Can someone please take pity and advise me here?!
I've made this cake before using brandy and loved it -it's rich and moist, and best of all takes well to generous feeding -we could smell the brandy upon cutting into it! This year I want to ring the changes a little with the alcohol, but can I use kirsch rather than cherry brandy then feed with brandy? I know kirsch is more potent and unsweetened, but will it be ok? Or is cherry brandy the only "nice" version? I may seem to be worrying too much here, but I don't know and the uncertainty grows when its a xmas cake on the line!
I need to bake it in the next few days -please can anyone help
?

keavyot's picture
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Amazing cake - absoloutley gorgeous and very easy to double and make two.

I made my own marzipan, iced and decorated.

karenl's picture
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I have made this for the last 3 years and is always a hit! This year i am adding dried pineapple and dates - and instead of icing the top I use cherries and nuts glazed with warm apricot jam - mmmmm

krw1511's picture
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Made this cake again this year, infact I've made 2. Added some stem ginger in one of them, smelt wonderful. Looking forward to 'feeding' them and thenthe icing...yum

mariandavey's picture

Made this cake last year for the first time. I agree with everyone's comments. It is a beautiful moist cake. I gave the recipe to a friend and she also loved it. Will be making it again this Christmas. Its the recipe I'm going to use from now on. Keep up the good work. Brillliant recipe. Thanks BBC and Mary for another super recipe

Marian

comfortfood's picture

Never having made a christmas cake in my life before, I decided to try this recipe last year. Oh, the compliments I received!! Thoroughly enjoyed making it - it was lovely and simple to do, so much so that I've just logged on to seek out the recipe again for this year. I'd certainly recommend it for any novice cooks like myself - it is guaranteed to impress friends and family alike!!!!

yashraf's picture
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This cake is so easy to make and so delicious. I used extra orange juice instead of the brandy and decorated it with marzipan and icing. I have made quite a few cakes for work colleagues but they rated this one the best yet!

chapmanc's picture
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Really easy cake to make, not tasted it yet so fingers crossed!! Does anybody know whether i can ice this cake without using marzipan first? Will it seal ok if i just used warmed apricot jam?

babspope's picture
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This cake is fabulous! I have used tons of different recipes for birthday and Christmas cakes and none of them have turned out as well as this one.

The cake was moist and tasty. Everyone loved it and wanted me to make another one. It was easy to make and didn't take long to prepare and cook.

Therefore, if you need to make a Christmas/celebration cake don't waste your time looking for recipes, use this one because it's foolproof and delicious.

shimmers's picture
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Made this cake yesterday (better late than never!) and it is my first ever attempt at a christmas cake. I used whisky instead of brandy and I am so chuffed with the results. It was really easy to make and turned out perfectly. Tastes great. I am notoriously bad at baking so I'm amazed I managed it! Just have to decorate it now.

gwenig's picture

We used to make a plainer version of this cake, when I worked in school meals, we called it 'Boiled fruit cake[presumably because you start off simmering] and I made it in preference to of any other fruit cake for years, so I will definitely be trying this one, it sounds delicious.

nanajan's picture

this is one of the best fruit cakes i have ever made , so easy to make, delicious, through and through, and so moist, plenty to go around, i have cut it in half to save one side for the freezer for later
I hope I rate this delicious cake a big fat 5

mellucia's picture
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I made this cake last year it was so easy to make and so popular with my Friends and Family...I am making this cake for the second year... and this time I have orders from friends!!!
10/10 for this recipe!!

weemarybaker's picture
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This is a super recipe - I cannot recommend it enough. I made it last year for both my family and my partner's family and both cakes disappeared in no time at all. It so tasty and moist - really yummy! This year I am making several more as Christmas presents. Do any of you have any cheap suggestions for storing these cakes? I only have one cake tin and am making about five cakes this year!

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