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)

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.

junoboyle's picture

It has no calories at all if you eat it standing up Debs! I've just made it and it is in the oven. It smells delicious and I can't wait to try it. Easiest cake I have ever made. Thank you.

debigale's picture

Not tried this one yet but can anyone tell me the calories etc per slice?

carolandian's picture

20cm round

faymartin1's picture

what size of cake tin is used for this cake?

poohspals's picture

Absolutely gorgeous!! This was my first attempt at making a Xmas cake so we tried it within a couple of weeks so I could make another if it was a success - what can i say - it was absolutely fantastic and so easy to make.

alicia-foodoholic's picture

I like this cake recipe, thinking about making it for Christmas 2010!
I love the idea of dark Muscovado sugar, I think I will have to change the recipe slightly. By using almond liquer instead of Brandy, and using almond. hazlnuts instead of macadamia nuts.
This should be ok shouldn't it?
I no you proberly think I am an almond addict lol!

rachelemacleod's picture

I made this last year and it was delicious, and so simple to make!

I left it quite late - maybe only a week or 2 before xmas to make it, so this year I'm planning on making it in a couple of weeks time, after my daughter's birthday, and I'll top it up with the booze every so often :D

pyg1963's picture

I've made this for the last 5 years it is lovely and moist and so easy to make. I soak my fruit from about mid september and make the cake at the beginning of November so that I still have time to feed it. Fantastic for first time christmas cake makers

biggles's picture

This is the BEST. I made this for a family gathering but it only had a week to mature. I fed it with 4 tbsp brandy the day after I made it then simply wrapped it up until needed. It was delicious and received lots of praise from all who tried it.

ericax's picture

This is in the oven right now. The smells alone have provoked compliments and it hasn't even been tasted yet!

ericax's picture

This is in the oven right now. The smells alone have already provoked compliments and it hasn't even been tasted yet!

tullia's picture

It`s fantastic fruit cake. Easy to bake and delicious.

bells74's picture

I made 2 of these for Christmas, and they went down so well I am so pleased that this was so easy to prepare and cook.. For people like myself who are a bit scared of making cakes, this is highly reccommended to try as it will never fail to impress. We will definitely be having this every year, miles better than the shop bought ones. Very rewarding to make and enjoy. I also used fresh orange juice to feed mine which I did over a period of 7 days and it was so moist and yummy. Fab x

juneskeet's picture

I made this cake for the first time a week before this Christmas - it all went within two days of cutting it. I have made two more since then, these have also disappeared and it is only mid January now!
Such an easy cake to make , smells absolutely lovely in the house whilst cooking and has a good taste and texture. I used orange juice instead of brandy as suggested by an earlier cake maker so that any one could eat it. I shall be making this cake throughout the year and not just for Christmas! Love it!

tuglets's picture

Brillian recipe, a lovely moist cake, even my brother ate a slice and enjoyed it, and he doesn't really like Christmas cake much, will be doing this recipe again. I made mine in an 8 inch square cake tin rather than a round one.

poisondwarf's picture

Fed and iced this for Christmas - was absolutely gorgeous. Made a penguin annd snowball scene from a magazine - never tried icing a cake before. Got great comments on both the cake and the icing. Fantastic recipe, will definitely use next year!

rehanapmalik's picture

After reading all the positive comments I decided to make 2 of these cakes, one for Christmas and one for Easter, I'm glad I did it was so easy to make and so moist. Everyone loved it and it disappeared quickly. I bought tubs of candied peel and glace cherries which were really nice from Waitrose, I also added in pecans and almonds as part of the fruit weight as I like nuts, it worked really well. Also, I’ve never iced a cake before and bought the ready to roll icing and marzipan, I was thought it would be quite difficult, particularly getting the sides right as I thought the icing would end up like a table cloth, ie pleated, just so you know somehow that doesn't happen, it's just so easy to do. I was amazed at how impressive my cake looked and so was everyone else, so if like me you've not done this before, don't worry, go for it. I’m now even thinking of doing a wedding cake.

dalphey's picture

Everyone really enjoyed this cake. It is so easy to make so will definately make again for next xmas.


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