Hot toddy fruitcake

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus overnight soaking

More effort

Cuts into 12 slices
This fabulous Christmas cake can be made and decorated in four very different ways. Just choose your favourite

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving (un-iced)

  • kcal531
  • fat18g
  • saturates10g
  • carbs88g
  • sugars74g
  • fibre2g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.51g
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    For the cake

    • 200ml hot, strong black tea (use any type)
    • 3 tbsp whisky



      Whisky usually means an ethanol-based spirit produced in Scotland. Ethanol is an intoxicating…

    • 3 tbsp good-quality orange marmalade, thin or medium shred
    • 700g mixed dried fruit
    • 100g mixed peel
    • 100g glacé cherry (natural colour)
    • 225g butter



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 225g golden caster sugar
    • 4 eggs, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • 225g plain flour
    • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • finely grated zest 1 lemon



      Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

    To feed the cake

    • 2 tsp caster sugar
    • 50ml hot black tea
    • 1 tbsp whisky (or use orange juice if you prefer)



      Whisky usually means an ethanol-based spirit produced in Scotland. Ethanol is an intoxicating…


    1. Mix the hot tea, whisky and marmalade in a large bowl until the marmalade melts. Stir in all of the dried fruit, peel and cherries, then cover and leave to soak overnight.

    2. Next day, heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 and grease and double-line a 20cm round, deep cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Using electric beaters, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then fold in the flour and spices, followed by the lemon zest and soaked fruit. Add any liquid that hasn’t been absorbed by the fruit, too. Spoon into the prepared tin, level the top, then bake for 1½ hrs. Turn the oven down to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1 and bake for another 1½ hrs or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the tin.

    3. While the cake is still warm, use the skewer to pepper the cake with holes, poking it all the way down. Dissolve the sugar in the tea, add the whisky or orange juice, then spoon over the surface. If you’re making the cake ahead of time, feed it with a fresh swig of hot toddy every week, but take care not to make the cake soggy. Can be kept for a month well-wrapped in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If short on time, the cake can be made the same day that you decorate it.

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    Comments (75)

    stripy-cat's picture

    I've made this cake every Christmas since it was first published. It is REALLY moist and yummy and keeps well for several months. Last year I made 8 cakes and sold them for charity and have been inundated with repeat orders for this year. You can use supermarket basic ranges without any compromise to the finished product.

    magicmanuk's picture

    I keep getting orders to make this cake - not just for Xmas :)
    Making 3 for Christmas this year.

    tls110764's picture

    This is the perfect cake, but needed tweaking a bit, so here is my final version that is amazing.
    Use 500g mixed fruit and 100g cherries.
    Increase butter & sugar to 250g, use 200g plain flour and 50g ground almonds.
    This will give you a very moist but yet lovely textured cake for cutting. Does not need any feeding when cooked as this makes it soggy. I use this for wedding and celebration cakes as it is always perfect.

    heatherannison's picture

    It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision to make a fruit cake. Had no whiskey so used Drambuie instead. Fabulous cake, so moist, great recipe!

    ledger's picture

    I love this cake, have been making it for the past 3 years, and will be making it again this year (or should i say making 4 for my mum, grandma and best friend) always a big hit, can't go wrong!!

    suelay's picture

    Easy to make, reliable results, moist and utterly delicious! When covered with marzipan and fondant it was a huge hit with all. Perfectly suited to weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas etc. I didn't bother feeding it, it was already more moist than other fruit cakes.

    madeitwithlove's picture

    Jane Hornby's recipes are all exceptional and this one does exactly what it says. I deliberately scan for all her recipes and have had success with each one I've used. I never change anything, no point in spoiling something which is perfect. Thank you Jane.

    marylind1's picture

    The cake is lovely and liked by all but it is too moist, the bottom part of the cake is fine but the top is mushy and falls apart.

    Can anyone help? Am I over feeding the cake or should I cook it for longer? Any help would be appreciated! Has anyone else had this problem?

    edsbur's picture

    I've made this cake a few times now and it's always a winner! Lovely and moist, not too dark and very moreish. The only thing I would say is be careful about how much you feed it as it can become soggy. I only fed it once and to be honest I don't think it really needed it. On the plus side, though, the cake can be made in a hurry and still tastes as good cooked, marzipanned and iced within the week!

    leandas2007's picture

    Gr8 cake, reduced the amount of dried fruit and added walnut pieces. Will make again for next year :o)

    alicebull's picture

    Christmas Eve 2010 and we have just had our first slice of this cake with a cup of tea. Moist and delicious - This recipe is a keeper!

    lellyc1's picture

    made this cake for Christmas. Left the fruits to soak for 5 days instead of overnight in the liquid - the fruits were really plumped up. used this cake as a base for the Santa stocking cake. Everybody commented on the flavor and the moistness of the cake.

    leo-in-france's picture

    I made it last night - looks great, evenly surfaced and well coloured. Because I live in France, I gave it a good slosh of Armagnac. Only time will tell if that was a good idea!

    suzette123's picture

    It seemed to take a lot longer to cook than the recipe states but was well worth the wait. Really moist and loads of fruit. I would definitely make this again.

    poopgirl's picture

    Just attempted this for the second year and must have not cooked it for long enough as it fell apart as I removed it from the tin. It's still whole but one side has cracks going from the top all the way to the bottom so I suspect it will be top fragile to marzipan and ice later on. Going to have to do it all again!! :(

    laurabedijn's picture

    forgot to rate this recipe

    laurabedijn's picture

    I´ve made this cake for te last two christmasses and both times it was a hit. Tried other fruitcakes but none as delicious as this one. This year I´ll be making (at least) two, one for christmas and one for a friend´s weddingcake.

    poopgirl's picture

    Made this last year for Christmas 2009 and it was a hit, everyone loved it. We took it around the family to Bristol, Kent then back to London and we still had left overs! My boyfriend who never normaslh like Christmas cake loved it, it was beautiful. Can't wait to start making it again this year. Lakeland also do lovely cake decorations on top!

    mariaborg's picture

    Have been making this cake every year at Christmas time...and it always turns out perfect. Appreciated by everybody visiting. Gave the recipe to mum who is also baking this cake now...truly deserves to be recommended...

    bigyeti's picture

    Where are the recipes for the four different ways of decorating? I can only find the Jewelled fruit nut and seed cake one.


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