Hot toddy fruitcake

Hot toddy fruitcake

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(37 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus overnight soaking

Skill level

Moderately easy


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 info

Nutrition per serving (un-iced)

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For the cake

  • 200ml hot, strong black tea (use any type)
  • 3 tbsp whisky
  • 3 tbsp good-quality orange marmalade, thin or medium shred
  • 700g mixed dried fruits
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 100g glacé cherries (natural colour)
  • 225g butter
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon

To feed the cake

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

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  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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2006

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Comments, questions and tips

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Show comments
lacheshirechat's picture

Betty J. - As far as I'm concerned, it's never too early to make a fruitcake! You CAN freeze it (which will actually improve the texture, in my opinion,) but, if you keep it tightly wrapped in an airtight tin at a cool temperature, it will be fine. Especially as you'll have more time to 'feed' it. On the other hand, you could always make one now, to try, and another later for Christmas!

antonine's picture

I intend making this cake for Christmas. As it is only October is it too early?

mammymurray's picture

Instead of using lemon zest I put some fresh strips oforange peel to soak overnight with the fruit mixture. Give a lovely flavour but discard them before adding mix to cake

emelems's picture

really moist and lovely. I used brandy instead of whiskey. It can come across more of a pudding than a cake though.

03flemie's picture

I'm 17yrs old, and this was the first fruit cake I ever made, was a complete hit, delicious, made it about 5 times again since christmas!
If you use a syringe its way easier in terms of feeding the cake.

beatrix's picture
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If I could rate this double, then I would!!! It is the most amazing cake I've ever had (I am a big fruit cake fan, it has to be said). I've made it lots of times, with numerous adaptations, but following the basic pricipal (I add ground and chopped blanched almonds, and baking powder for a start). It has been used by me for gifts, Christenings and Christmas, and is very adaptable (I've made it in mini tins, loaf tins and massive roasting tins!). Particularly good with homemade marzipan and ready roll icing.

stefania's picture

@ Jenny
is it possible you fed the cake while the tea was still rather warm or hot? perhaps that's why it became soggy.

rhonaferguson's picture
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Well i decided it was worth buying a new round 20cm deep tin for, and not trying to make it square!
It was such a success!!!! It was easy to make and the outcome was fantastic, needless to say i will now need to make another one for christmas day, but its worth it!
The house smelled so christmasy..... great cake!

rhonaferguson's picture
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would this work if i used a 20cm square tin? Or should i stick to the round one?

wifeywarner's picture

I used a Good Housekeeping recipe for years .... until I tasted my friends Xmas cake a copuple of years ago & had to switch to this one! Made it last year and the cake didn't dissapoint. I used to use brandy in my Xmas cake, but actually found the tea and whiskey combo with maramlade really scrummy .... and I hate tea and whiskey normally! Another friend who bakes cakes for farmers markets, is now going to to use this recipe this year !

jackiefp's picture

Ia there a simple formula for increasing/decreasing the quantities for different cake tin sizes? Obviously cooking is a science and I would imagine cake tin size and cooking time goes by overall weight ... but that doesn't help me in knowing how to work it out. Anyone know? I'd really appreciate any advice.

trish17's picture

Have just made this cake exactly as the recipe stated - I have to admit I'm not the greatest fruit cake lover but my partner really likes them - he reckons this cake is the best he's ever tasted! The taste is definitely scrummy with the whiskey, the recipe doesn't include any nuts but I'll add some next time. The main advantage with this recipe is that the cake is wonderfully moist - I made a cake at Christmas using a Delia Smith recipe which was very dry - this one will definitely be my choice from now on, not sure how long it would last in an airtight container - anyone have any ideas?

trenethick's picture
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A delicious moist cake that both my husband and I enjoyed.I liked the 700g of fruit but as were not keen on mixed peel I doubled the glace cherries.

ghensler's picture

I have never made this type of cake before but it was so easy to make and absolutely delicious. The family couldnt believe it wasnt shop bought!!! IT was so moist and absolutely delicious I am definitely going to make it again VERY soon!

tan_tan's picture
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just tried my christmas 2008 cake after spending the past month feeding it and it was fantastic! i'm glad i used this recipe, a nice twist on a classic

magick88's picture

A complete novice in the baking department I've been keen to try a fruit cake to use for special occasions. This was the perfect first cake. Simple and yet scrumptious!
I used less fruit as mentioned by others who'd commented, sticking with 500g of mixed fruit instead of the 750g. It was baked and iced within 8 hours and went down a treat!
I've now got the baking bug thanks to this fabulous recipe.

ruthsteapotdesigns's picture

Hi there I would love to try this recipe but want to make it now ready for Christmas.. Is it possible to keep feeding it... will it last until Christmas as it says only one month in the book... Has anyone tried leaving it for longer... Normally Christmas cakes tend to last for months.. Would appreciate some help!!! Ruth

grantsboy's picture

Just to let you know Helen, I froze the cake for about 3 months and it was even better.

hellybop's picture

i made this last year and it was fantastic!!! i was just wondering is this sutible for freezing? making a few christmas cakes this year and love this recipe.
not sure if they will be just as good after being frozen though, any ideas