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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25th Nov, 2013
Has anyone baked this in a square tin? If so what size and for how long. Thanks
1st Dec, 2013
We did it, in an 8" square today. December 1st, and we uplifted every thing by one third.
24th Nov, 2013
Can't rate this just yet (it's in the oven) but trust the fact that fellow bakers have rated it so highly on this site. I've used Brazil nuts instead of Macadamias and a weird Spanish brandy imitation instead of brandy but will feed it with the genuine article because I know the flavour will be detectable. It feels right to be doing this on Stir Up Sunday despite it being later than my usual Christmas cake production!
2nd Nov, 2013
Excellent recipe. So simple to follow, and makes a delicious moist fruitcake. I made this cake for my family last Christmas and have just baked another one for this year at their request. I feed with a tbsp of brandy once a week, alternating the feeding between the top of the cake and the bottom. This ensures the cake stays moist for months.
1st Nov, 2013
I am going to give this recipe a try this year rather than the Delia one I have baked for the last 6+ years. Just one question - does anyone have any tips re icing etc? I usually make my cake in October/November and feed every couple of weeks. I then marzipan it, leave it again and then ice it. Should I do the same with this one? I get the impression that this cake doesn't need to be made quite as far in advance as a traditional one. All help gratefully received.
12th Nov, 2013
I didn't make it too far in advance. I made it this time last year, fed it twice over a couple of weeks and marzipan'ed' it at the beginning of December then iced it the week before Christmas. It really is worth all the good reviews, not as heavy as the usual Christmas cakes you get. Highly recommended.
4th Nov, 2013
I also used to do the Delia one but changed to this a few years ago. This cake is so much nicer. I feed it every week, and marzipan and ice it just in the same way as before.
1st Nov, 2013
Make this every year, varying fruit to whatever I have in cupboard. It is fab and so easy, if it wasn't I know I wouldn't bother. the fact you don't need to keep unwrapping it to feed it is a blessing and you really don't need to as it's very moist. Wholeheartedly recommend it.
21st Oct, 2013
Very easy to make, smells delicious, hopefully it will taste as good at Christmas
17th Mar, 2013
I've made the "Delia" Christmas cake for the last 10 years but this is outstanding (sorry Delia) and I'll be making it again for this Christmas.


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