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)

sallytat's picture

lovely easy cake I also vary the fruit and nuts depending what I have in. Recently made for a friends big birthday she loved it.

ang_hee's picture

It was my first time making a Christmas cake and this recipe made it very simple. It turned out wonderful and am unsure how someone else found it very dry as everyone who has had some has commented how moist it is! I'll be making this cake again and will give some as presents next year.

kirstensmith's picture

Found this recipe for my husband to use when he announced that he was making our Christmas cake....he never cooks! I have to say, I think this is the nicest Christmas cake I have ever eaten. It was incredibly moist, unlike alot of other fruit cakes I have had, and we only fed it the once as we took it out of the oven. I shan't ever use another fruit cake recipe again!

krw1511's picture

Second year of making this cake, fantastic comments from family and friends. I feed mine with brandy every other week for 2 months, turning the cake over to feed from both sides. Will use this for years to come.

damson's picture

I had to make this recipe once I read all the comments & I have to say it doesn't disappoint. I used brandy & walnuts (instead of the macadamia nuts).
Will definitely make it again next year.

lilmssquirrel's picture

Disappointed with this. It was very dry. Tasted good, but the dryness let it down. This was despite me "feeding" it weekly for a month.

ymthomas's picture

This was excellent. I preferred it fresh with no extra brandy to but others we gave to as gifts liked it matured. Done up as Christmas cake I was told it was worth second helpings!

hickmanh's picture

A great recipe - very easy which is great for someone like me who only cooks this kind of cake at Christmas. I made the more recent version of this recipe last year (on here as the Simple Ivy Cake, using orange juice rather than alcohol). This year I've gone for brandy and used flaked almonds as another reviewer suggested rather than macadamias. The little cake I've tasted so far (cut the top of for icing) was absolutely delicious. Will definitely be making this again next year!

1edithbower's picture

I lost my original "boiling cake recipe". I made it for years as gift for my friends. It's an extremely easy cake to make. I've done this one today and hope my friends will think this is just as good. I'll let you know after xmas.

ripley2009's picture

Christmas cake doesn't get any easier than this. Very flexible recipe that you can tweak it to suit your taste. Its never failed to impress yet. You can also use it for the Xmas cupcake gifts recipe giving it the same baking time.

jessrebelo's picture

Hi! Im making this the 1st time and a little nervous abt the baking times. I put mine into the gas oven at no 2 as suggested and it was cooked in 45 mins, as the skewer came out clean! Is that ok? The cake is cooked and looks divine, but has this happened to anyone else? any advice would help!

mimi121's picture

I've just made my fourth cake using the recipe, this last one I used an orange based liquer as well as the brandy, its cooking at the moment and smells wonderful, I m making another cake tomorrow but will divide the mixture and bake in two loaf tins,
it should work out, fingers crossed.

jenny3704's picture

WOW This recipe is absolutely delicious!! I made a few tweeks to make it a little more healthier, I took away 25g of the butter and replaced it with 25g apple sauce, I replaced the muscovado sugar with 125g of Agave Nectar and I left out the nuts, but kept the ground almonds in. I also used Disaronno instead of brandy, simply because I love almond liquors. This is absolutely gorgeous! So moist and tasty. Infact it is so nice, we are making another this weekend, because this one has nearly all gone and its only the 2nd Dec, ooops!

ajwright2110's picture

Have just made this cake again and it is so easy yet works every time I make it. Even used it to make my wedding cake.

burtona's picture

Very easy and just as good as any other, if not better than most, fruit cake receipes. I split my mixture between two smaller cake tins (one round and one loaf) and still worked perfectly well. Stays moist and soft, but unlikely to last long!

colandol's picture

The best and easiest christmas cake ever, so moist and delicious I make it every year

vickersmargaret's picture

Have made this cake every year since the recipe was first published and is guaranteed to work every time. I now make 8 cakes for family and friends at Xmas as well as at least 4 during the year for birthdays and anniversaries. I use chopped almonds instead of macadamia nuts, and regularly vary the dried fruits adding chopped apricots, dates and prunes etc. A great recipe.

christamillar's picture

As a follow-on from yesterday - husband (a non-cook!) is making this cake today as I refused to let him taste a bit yesterday :-) He has managed it easily (apart from buying whole almonds which we had to skin and grind!!) If he can make this cake, anyone can!

christamillar's picture

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

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


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