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 (76)

    gettinglikemymother's picture

    Have just made this for the first time - looks and smells delish.
    We don't like traditional icing or marzipan, so for anyone similar, here's what I do with Christmas cake - brush with warmed apricot jam, then arrange walnut halves, hazelnuts and almonds in a nice pattern all over the top. Brush with more apricot jam to glaze, and tie a wide tartan ribbon around it. If liked you can add a small berry type decoration on top.
    I am not at all artistic but this is easy and always looks really good and festive - more than once people have asked me where I bought it.

    Girlinthesticks's picture

    Love love love this cake. I'm a lady in her 50's been making fruit cakes for years, lost a favourite 'tea soaked' recipe during a move abroad and back again, so googled - found this one and as I didn't have all the ingredients I had to substitute a few, namely the cherries for diced apricots and as I didn't have a lemon I used a lime instead. The cake did however take far longer to cook than the recipe indicated, I did adhere strictly to the oven temperatures and initial timings, until the allotted time but the cake was still raw inside. No worries within 4.5 hours it was done and as said previously absolutely terrific. I left it in the tin overnight covered, and turned it out the next day so that the sides remained soft rather than going hard upon cooling. The cake was a firm favourite, a birthday cake for my husband (and family) and was fully consumed within three days! It was too good to hang around! I will definitely make this as my staple fruit cake in future, even with the changes I made, despite liking cherries I shan't be changing my recipe!

    Tuktuk13's picture

    This cake is delicious and so moist. We live in Hua Hin, Thailand and even in the tropical heat wanted to bake a Christmas Cake this year, much to my husbands delight. Ingredients for the most part were on the supermarket shelves, however a few proved hard to find so had to make some changes.... Couldn't find the traditional mixed fruits so substituted with mixed berries including blueberries, cherries, cranberries and raisins and for the mixed peel I found a wonderful alternative in preserved mixed tropical fruits including mango, papaya and pineapple, I added 60g of chopped almonds as I like the texture. Marzipan was no where to be found so didn't ice it, however it didn't spoil our enjoyment of every mouthful of the cake. My husband has suggested I use this recipe from now on, I've renamed it "Tropical Christmas Cake".

    Mummaj's picture

    Simply indulgent and delicious.

    hollyc's picture

    This has to be one of the best fruit cakes I have ever made. I used brandy rather than whisky and this will replace my current go-to recipe for my christmas cakes.

    Georgia Catherine Pocock's picture

    I agree with those who say the cake is too soggy. Other than this, it's a delisious cake, so I would make it again, but STRONGLY advise either halfing the quantity of hot tea or leaving it out completely and sticking to just marmalade and whiskey. My cake is definately cooked, just over moist. I fed my cake about 3-4 times with 1-2tbsp of brandy, but in future, I'd only feed it twice... that's all it needs.
    Looks gorgeous anyway, and my mum wants to try and save as much as possible for when my grandparents come to stay in February!!

    tartanlove's picture

    Am soaking the fruit tonight, ready to make tomorrow. I made this last year, and it was a winner with my husband, who doesn't like Christmas cake. He took some to his sister, and they all loved it too. Like so many others have said, this will be my tradition to make this at Christmas.

    mgrange's picture

    Love this cake. Made it last year. My first Christmas cake ever and it came out a dream. Fed cold tea and whiskey for a couple of weeks, it was lovely and moist. It didn't hang around long either! Looking forward to it again this year. It's now my tradition. Thanks Good Food. :)

    melharris's picture

    I have just put my cake in the oven and have taken the advice to reduce the amount of fruit and have included Apricots and Almonds and increased the amount of spice - fingers crossed!!

    Georgia Catherine Pocock's picture

    Just made the cake... I reduced the quantity of hot tea in the soaking process to 120ml, so that there wasn't any left-over liquid after soaking. The cake worked perfectly and doesn't seem too soggy or too dry. It smelled absolutely beautiful when it came out of the oven, and even better after being fed a good glug of booze (I used cognac). Can't wait to ice it and tuck into a slice!

    Georgia Catherine Pocock's picture

    Some people seem to have a bit of a problem with the cake being to soggy or over moist. Can anyone tell me whether the recipe would still work if I halved the quantity of hot tea in the recipe??

    0spidersilk0's picture

    This will be my third year with this one.. made three last year.
    some small alterations.. a weee splash more of whisky(well i am scotish)... i do like fruit in my cake so keep the quantities, i do add extra cranberies,, ads that little sparkle of christmas.. the marzipan recipe tops this cake so well. everyone loves this cake, my mum told me i had taken my grandma's crown for crimbo cake. need i say more

    imkefromgermany's picture

    We love this cake and I not only bake it for Christmas...
    But I don't bake it for 3 hours only about 1,5h.
    Thank you for posting this recipe!

    liconinak's picture

    Loved this cake. My favourite recipe so far. I just reduced the amount of fruit like others suggested, used brandy and left the fruits to soak for 2 days. came out lovely. already getting orders for the same cake!!!!

    sammyv's picture

    What a fantastic fruit cake! This was my first attempt at baking a fruit cake - really easy recipe with great success. I cut the amount of dried fruit down to 500g, and soaked the fruit for 2 days before baking. I only fed the cake once straight after baking and then left if for a month before icing.

    When finally eaten it was still moist with a hint of whisky. So in my opinion no need to re-feed, unless you are planning to keep it much longer than a month perhaps.

    I can see this becoming a firm favourite!

    kvogler's picture

    was lovely after beeing fed for a month but also just as nice only eaten 2 days after being made! really easy to make and loads of flavour - stayed moist for ages

    tishka7's picture

    Made this for a friend. Her husband loved it and finished more than three quarters before christmas even began, had to bake them another one.

    riogal91's picture

    ive just made this cake for the first time, when i was soaking the fruits it reminded everyone at home of christmas in a bowl. Now I put the cake in at 160 for 1hr 30mins and it was already starting to brown so when I had to cook it for another 1hr 30mins at 140 I started to doubt myself. Was it me or is my oven a bit more powerful than most??

    workingmum's picture

    Jeannie960 - I usually make the cake in October and cover it the week before Christmas. This gives me plenty of time to feed it with more whisky. I expect you could cover it earlier, but the more you feed it, the moister it is.

    workingmum's picture

    I've tried many different Christmas cake recipes over the years, but this one elicited the most compliments. I've made it three times since!


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