Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(174 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 eggs, 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, questions and tips

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4th Jan, 2012
If I could give this recipe 6 + stars I would! This is simpy the best fruit cake recipe I have ever made and more so tasted, not only me but my very experienced baker Mum too. Coming from an Irish family with old classic Christmas cake recipes and recipe books galore nothing will beat this. I am very critical of all cakes and couln't fault this one, it is so moist and has a delicious flavour...opted for whiskey this time around but will try brandy next...thank you, thank you, thank you!
2nd Jan, 2012
This was the recipe I chose to make my first christmas cake & I can tell you that it is amazing, everyone loved it. I found it easy to make, you can add more booze if you like & it still tatses great. I will only use this recipe now.
2nd Jan, 2012
I made this cake for the fiorst time and it deserves at least five stars. I changed some of the fruits, but stuck to the basic recipe. I usually make the Delia Smith cake, but sometimes it turns out dry so thought I would have a change and I will make this one in future.
30th Dec, 2011
Easy to make and we all enjoyed the results. My husband loves fruit cake and he gave it a big thumbs up, so it must be good! Didn't make any modifications to the recipe, followed it exactly as it said.
30th Dec, 2011
Made this a month before Christmas and fed it twice. Also made the orange marzipan (also on this site), which went really well with it. A great cake and easy to make.
28th Dec, 2011
Great recipe! Really moist cake. Definitely better than Delia's!
28th Dec, 2011
The best Christmas cake I've ever made - not too dark or dry - just right.
27th Dec, 2011
My first christmas cake and it went down very well, will be using the same recipe next year.
23rd Dec, 2011
A great recipe. Always turns out perfectly. I often have trouble getting the macadamia nuts so use mixed chopped nuts or chopped almonds instead.
21st Dec, 2011
Great, easy recipe. I make cakes all the time and this year have made 14 Christmas cakes using this recipe. However, only thing I would recommend is to increase the amount of baking powder to 1 tsp instead of 1/2. You may not realise it and be happy with the size it is, but the cake will rise more. (The reason I did the sample test of increasing the baking powder was that as I often made fruit cake, I thought initially this one was alot flatter than norm). Now that I have changed the quantity of the bp, I will continue to use this recipe forever! Thank you!


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