Make & mature Christmas cake

Make & mature Christmas cake

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(26 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 10 mins Plus cooling

Skill level



Cuts into 12-15 slices

Prepare this fruit cake in advance and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per slice (12)



  • 1kg mixed dried fruits (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
  • zest and juice 1 orange
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
  • 250g pack butter, softened
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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  1. Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
  2. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  5. To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2012

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patternhappy's picture
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I made this for Christmas 2014 - I cooked it in two separate tins (it makes enough for two loaf tins because it wouldn't fit in my 18cm round tin) for 1 hour 10 mins, testing them after 1 hour and taking them out when the 'knife comes out clear' at 1 hour 15 mins. I've just tried a 'test slice' of one loaf and it tasted WONDERFUL. Moist but not too moist. Not too acidic. I've never made a Christmas cake with almond flakes in before and the texture is great. I used 'everyday value' mixed dried fruit, cheap supermarket own-brand whisky, two mini packs of dried cranberries and a small tub of glace cherries, totalling amounts specified on recipe. I lined my tins but did not wrap them on the outside. Only thing I changed was to add one tsp of baking powder not half. If you like your Christmas cake to look dark brown this one comes out of the oven a mid-brown. I will be 'feeding' my cake with rum this month....

Pee's picture
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Just put this in the oven, albeit much later in the year than planned, used jumbo raisins, golden raisins and cranberries and Kracken (dark spiced rum). If the raw mix is anything to go by, this is going to be an amazing cake! roll on the big day so I can have a taster!

chefchater's picture

I made my yesterday, how many times will you be feeding it and 1 or 2 tbsps? I want to marzipan and ice but it say to leave a week between the two for royal icing. Worried I have ruined it doing it so late!!

climbup's picture

Made it again! It has worked I think, and its due for 3 feeds between now and christmas. I used cointreau which gives it a great fruity aroma, and a mixture of sultanas, cranberries, prunes and tinned cherries, which tastes fabulous. This is my favourite x-mas cake ever- more of fruit with cake as opposed to cake with fruit, as my family would say! A brilliant recipe, the only thing I changed was I wrapped the sides of the tin in baking parchment, not newspaper, which worked really well! Yum Yum… xxx

Timetobake's picture
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I always make my Christmas cake three months in advise as I like mature cake. I found this receipt online and thought I would give it a go. I have to say the receipt was very easy to follow the ingredients are easy to find and buy and better still most supermarkets sell mixed fruit so you don't have to buy it all separate. I did add in cherries (husbands choice) and I didn't reduce the 1kg of mixed fruit and it still rose well. The smell when cooking was amazing, I used whiskey this year and you could really smell it. My only comment would be the time is more like 2.5hrs not the suggested 2 but suppose it depends on your cooker. I would defiantly recommend this receipt.

CarolyneJames's picture
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This is the easiest Christmas Cake I've every made, and I've made a few. Tastes lovely already (we cut the slightly rounded top to form a flat base for decorating and of course ate it), but we're going to 'feed it' until Christmas anyway.

winegum's picture
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The best Christmas cake I have ever made, and I have made a few over the last 40 years! I used Aldi luxury dried fruit mixture which contains an amazing selection of fruits, and saves buying separate packs of fruit. I didn't do all the extra wrapping of the cake tin - life's too short!- and used an 8" square tin. Will the mixture work for a Simnel cake I wonder? I'm just about to find out!

Cdub's picture

Still had a piece left since Christmas and I had it this afternoon. Was delicious! Cake turned out wonderfully, was a hit over the hols. I only had time to booze it twice (used rum). Next time I'd increase the amount of cherries and figs (missions are good) and decrease raisins in my fruit mix. The grape-based fruits were a little too sweet for my preference, although if you use top quality fruits, you can't really go wrong (although your wallet will feel it).

boulding2's picture

I made my own cake for the first time this year and I was over the moon with how it turned out I only fed it twice and it was moist without being puddingie and I strained the fruit and I used walnuts instead because that's what I picked up by accident but I will definitely make it again..

trudemertenslaan's picture

I couldn't find my usual recipe, so based on the reviews I tried this one. It was beautifully moist and even converted daughter #2 to Christmas cake, which was a shame really as there was less for me to enjoy! I used a mixture of the fruits and nuts I had in the cupboard and ginger wine. I will be making this cake again.

Olsen I's picture

Made this cake 4 weeks before Christmas. I too, like some other posts, found this 'cake' more like a pudding in texture and very wet, rather than moist. Won't be making again.

looeybee's picture

Just coming to the end of cake, having made it for second year in a row. It really is a lovely, moist cake and I find it to be considerably lighter in texture than other recipes that I've tried.I steeped the fruits, zest and sugar overnight before baking, but would advise lending an eye to cake as it bakes as I did have to put some foil loosely over its top as it had begun to colour rather too much on the dark side!!! I used the orange zesty marzipan as its covering, and found that dousing it beforehand, and on a weekly basis, with Cointreau really did bring out a lovely citrus zing to the cake and enhanced the marzipan too. Highly recommend this one and am trying to come up with a good enough excuse to make another one before November, 2014!!

Linda Beazley's picture

I was disappointed with the taste and texture of this cake. Although I followed the recipe I'm wondering if I fed the cake too many times because it is more like a pudding. (Recipe only stipulates how often to feed & not total number of times. ) I also prefer a dark fruit cake. Wouldn't make again.

bmowe1's picture

My husband made this cake in November ..... The first time we have baked christmas cake. It is lovely, moist and rich. Very popular indeed and am easy to follow recipe.

lancashireinquebec's picture

This was awesome! Really great recipe, easy to make, very moist and fruity. Made in October and fed weekly with Glenfiddich and Port. Used cherries, raisins, sultanas and cranberries. Delicious, will use this recipe again!

climbup's picture

Deemed by my family to be the best christmas cake they've ever eaten! This is perfect and really fruity, I used 200g each dried cherries, prunes, jumbo raisins, sultanas and cranberries, and ended up grinding my own almonds in the whizzer. I also used cointreau instead of any other alcohol with worked a dream! The last thing I changed was the tin size, as I didn't have a 20cm deep tin so I used a 10cm deep cake tin and put the remaining mixture in a loaf tin. This changed the cooking time to 1hr45mins. Oh, and I also double lined the base of the tins, but not the sides, and I didn't wrap it in newspaper but wrapped the outside of the cake tin in one layer of baking parchment tied with string, but didn't wrap the outside on the loaf tin. I will feed it now up until christmas, if it lasts that long!!! :) yum...

gillbaillie's picture

Usually make the Delia Christmas cake but thought I'd give this one a try this year. I let it cook for 2 1/2 hours as it didn't seem cooked, but was worried about leaving it any longer in case it was dry. Smells good, so fingers crossed!

pinkfiss's picture

I have made a christmas cake for the last 10 years and this recipe is the easiest yet, normally i would soak the fuit for a few days but this you just heat up the fruit and wet stuff and leave to cool. As mine cooled the fruit soaked up most of the rum and juices. I used a 23cm tin. The cake took more like 3-3 half hours though.

salderm's picture

I've used various recipes over the years, used this one last year and will use it again this year! Love the '1kg of mixed dried fruit' instead of ?gms sultanas, ?gms raisins etc. I included roughly chopped prunes and glace cherries to help the moisture. Also, after heating the fruit I covered the bowl with clingfilm and left overnight to 'meld'. This did mean the cooking of the final mix took a little longer because everything was cold but it worked - the final result disappeared very quickly!!