Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(173 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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27th Feb, 2013
I make christmas cake every year and this is the best recipe I have come across. Made for first time this Xmas and it was fab, really moist and no doubt the best fruit cake I have tasted. I doubled the quantities as I made 2 one for my parents and they loved it too. Fed for a coupe of weeks with more cherry brandy and omitted the nuts but added more cherries.Am just about to make one as a birthday cake. For any fruit cake lovers a must and so easy !!!
20th Feb, 2013
I have made this cake for the past two Christmas's and each time been so pleased with the results. My family really enjoy this cake and I love how moist and fruity it tastes! A real hit
11th Feb, 2013
This is an excellent cake loved by all. I'd like to use the recipe to make my daughter's wedding cake. Can you give me advice on quantities and timings for a 14", 12" and 10" round cake if at all possible please? Many thanks
24th Jan, 2013
This is an absolutely fabulous cake. I have previously used Delia's Christmas cake recipe and always been very happy with it, but I stumbled upon this one and thought I'd try it. Moist and flavourful, it was really delicious and kept brilliantly - it's almost the end of January and we've only just finished it. I adapted the recipe a bit so I could include dried cranberries and pineapple as part of the dried fruit, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. I iced it with bought marzipan and fondant and overall it had a fab flavour. Oh, and I only made it a week before Christmas, too - it didn't suffer from the lack of maturation. Highly recommended, I'll now make again.
15th Jan, 2013
Made this for Christmas, was lovely! Really moist and easy to make. Even my gran liked it!
2nd Jan, 2013
Where did I go wrong – I am quite an experienced baker and followed recipe carefully apart from leaving out nuts – made in plenty of time – fed with brandy – mine has a great taste but the consistency of clompy sawdust – oh dear - back to drawing board
31st Dec, 2012
Fantastic recipe! I've wanted to make a Christmas cake for years, this year I made this one, it was moist and so tasty. I used cherry brandy, lovely! It was so good, my Nan thought I'd got someone else to make it? It went within days and I've just made another one 😃
29th Dec, 2012
This s definitely the easiest Christmas cake recipe I've ever tried. I made two. A smaller one which I left in-iced and then I double the ingredients for a square tin which I then covered in the traditional marzipan and royal icing. Really lovely and I'll definitely be doing it again next year.
28th Dec, 2012
This is a brilliant recipe. I made it with my 13 year old son and we did it without getting blisters from stirring! It is the most moist delicous Christmas cake I have ever made. Thank you
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.


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