Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(155 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr - 1 hr, 15 mins Cook: 1 hr - 2 hrs, 30 mins (cooking time 2 hrs 30 if gas oven)

Moderately easy

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

    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

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  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 (256)

korenforbes's picture

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

patthomas's picture

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

Amazing cake - absoloutley gorgeous and very easy to double and make two.

I made my own marzipan, iced and decorated.

karenl's picture

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

rockonqqq's picture

made this last last year and it was the best Christmas cake i have ever made ,it was very simple ,cooked perfectly and tasted lovely.All of my family loved it particularly as it was so moist.Did not put in any mixed peel as we don`t like it , i used a few chopped apricots and extra cherries instead.Just about to make one for this Christmas.

jubert's picture

The kitchen smelt lovely! I popped the cake in the Aga simmering oven for 5 hours and it came out beautifully. It was really easy to make.

lilyrose53's picture

Easy to make and very tasty. I made it to try it out last weekend and it was eaten within the week. Now I am going to make another one, this time I will ice it and put it away for Christmas!

beansandthings's picture

I made this cake three weeks ago - left it for a couple of days and then it was all gone by the end of the following week. Just the two of us!!! It was absolutely delicious. I made another one last Saturday and another one for my sister on Monday and have wrapped them ready to decorate later on. I can thoroughly recommend this recipe. I will be making it for Christmas in the future - but will make it any time it is so scrummy. By leaving out some of the mixed fruit I did add more cherries. I bought candied peal and chopped it myself.


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