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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23rd Dec, 2014
I made this back in October and I've been 'feeding' it with alcohol every fortnight until now...Only two days until it can be eaten!!
18th Dec, 2014
Made this cake for the first time and it was easy and tasty. I did however change the recipe slightly. I used Jack Daniels Honey as my husband likes it. I soaked the fruit in the JD Honey the night before. The 100ml of alcohol consisted of JD Honey, L`Esprit D`Orange Liqueur and Cactus Jack`s Schnapps Citrus Liqueur to compliment the orange and lemon zest. I didn`t have any macadamia nuts so I used crushed walnut halves. The cake came out tasting delicious and very moist, a bit like a pudding / cake. Will diffinately make this cake again as I don`t think it will last until christmas.
15th Dec, 2014
Made this last year and had a bit of a panic as I wanted to do it again this year and couldnt remember which site the recipe was on. So relieved to have found it, it's blimmin' marvelous, tastes amazing and is soooooo easy to make.
1st Dec, 2014
Very easy to make but the jury is still out on flavour. I make 'Boiled' cakes all year so was interested in the idea of a Christmas cake on the same principle, I decided to use one and retry the recipe, hopefully the second will be tastier than the first
26th Nov, 2014
Fantastically easy to make and tastes even better! Have made 2 already which were supposed to be kept for Christmas but we've polished them off already.... After completing Step 1) in the recipe, I left the fruits & liquid to stand overnight. I think it makes all the difference as the fruit absorbs the juices and brandy and tastes absolutely luscious. Will make cake number 3 this weekend and hope it manages to last the course until the big day!
4th Oct, 2014
Made this cake yesterday. Very easy to make and smells wonderful. I misread the oven temperature and did the first 45 minutes at 150 instead of 130 as stated for a fan oven. It doesn't look as if has affected the finished cake as it still did rise. Can't comment on the taste as it is for Christmas.
abbie louise
22nd Mar, 2014
I spotted this recipe while looking for a quick easy Christmas cake. As there are quite a few children that would be tucking in I substituted a few things. I used 2 tbspns of golden syrup instead of the brandy and used extra cherries instead of the nuts. It turned out fantastic and everyone loved it. Since then it seems I am always making this cake as just a fruit cake with no decoration. It's so easy and fab with a cuppa.
jasvindera chand
26th Oct, 2015
Hi i am making this cake also for the kids so minus the alcohol. Can you please let me know if it still comes out moist n soft? Thank you
8th Dec, 2015
I would replace the alcohol with fresh orange juice.
8th Mar, 2014
This is a fantastic and easy recipe. I will be sure to save it for future years. I fed the cake with alcohol each week on the run up to Christmas before covering with marzipan then icing. But it was delicious and moist and got the thumbs up from the family who stayed over the festive period.


10th Nov, 2013
This recipe sounds fantastic - what quantities should I use for a 24 cm square cake? Many thanks
7th Nov, 2013
hi im making this cake rite now and it smells fantastic! please could you tell me the ingredients for a 12" square and how long i need to cook it! many thanks
29th Sep, 2013
Doh! I misread the oven temperature and baked my cake at 150 Celsius in a fan oven for the first 45 mins, and now I wonder if it hasn't risen a result. Can anyone tell me what height I should expect the cake to be, baked as indicated in a 20cm tin? Thanks!
19th Oct, 2013
Mine hasn't risen loads... I think its very fruit dense so it wont rise a great amount anyway. I baked mine in a 7inch square pan (doubled the recipe to do two cakes and halved the batter between the tins) and it is 2.5 inches deep. Hope this helps


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