Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(158 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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21st Dec, 2012
This was the easiest Christmas cake I've ever made - normally beating all the ingredients is such a chore and this recipe left far less washing up than normal. I made a muffin test run which was delicious - and I'm sure the cake will taste even better with a few weeks maturing.
19th Dec, 2012
Hi Mary , Can you tell me if there is any difference between allspices and mixed spice, i looked for the recipe and do not find much difference in both. I am waiting to start baking the cake for christmas. Would appreciate your help.
14th Aug, 2013
Allspice is a single spice which is also called jamaica pepper. Mixed spice is a blend of spices specially used for spicy cakes, mincemeat, christmas pud etc. Sorry to be so slow at replying! Happy baking, Mary
17th Dec, 2012
First time I have made this cake and it looks and smells delicious. I changed it slightly, I don't like glace cherries or peel so I added sultanas, raisins chopped apricots and dates and divided the weight between these. I also used amaretto instead of brandy. Although I haven't tasted it yet I can tell it is going to be fab. Its smells almost like a christmas pud. I will keep you posted.
14th Dec, 2012
A wonderful Christmas cake. it's the first time I have made this cake and friends and family all love it, in fact it is so popular the one I made in November has gone and so I will be baking another for this years Christmas visitors in the next couple of days.
13th Dec, 2012
VERY moist cake but my fruit was well soaked.(I only used sultanas,raisins and glace cherries).Needed quite a bit longer baking not sure if this is because it was on the bottom shelf, think I will go for the middle of the oven next time.
13th Dec, 2012
I make this every year. It is moist and delicious and I haven't found a better recipe.
9th Dec, 2012
Used this recipe for 3 yrs now ! It never fails ,will take longer to cook in a smaller deeper tin ! But I always use some brown paper folded several times around the outside of the cake tin and tied with string as this will stop it drying out and burning on the edges and cover the top with some foil after about an hour in the oven as this will stop the top from burning . It's a beautiful cake and you will not be disappointed .eveyone will comment .
7th Dec, 2012
Delicious moist and really easy to make. I never bake any other Christmas cake and I even bake it for birthdays and other events. I add more brandy over a period of 7-10 days.
7th Dec, 2012
This is a wonderful recipe. Easy to make and very tasty. I add more brandy over a week after I baked the cake. I give this cake 5+ stars!


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