Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

Simmer-&-stir Christmas cake

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(169 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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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!
5th Dec, 2012
I couldn't wait a full two weeks to tell you my progress! Daily feeding a for only 2 days and I have a lovely moist cake. I can cut through my 4inch now (instead of saw). Had a slice for breakfast, it was moist without being crumbly. Yummy too! I will still feed lightly for a few more days and leave a week without feeding before icing. If you had a dry cake, don't be discouraged! Feed. Feed. Feed. It does work!
4th Dec, 2012
So, I made this cake yesterday for a friend who wanted a fruit cake in 2 weeks time. This sounded like the perfect recipe. Made a deep 6inch and a 4inch to use as a taster. It smelled beautiful and was an easy fuss free recipe. With all the great reviews, i ignored that only one person found the recipe dry. Unfortunately my little taster cake came out so dry I had to almost saw through to cut it. ( yes I should have taken this one out earlier). But my 6 inch doesn't look that promising either as the top is very hard. Also, my two cakes cracked at the top within the first 30 min of cooking. I am now feeding both cakes daily with brandy for a week. Hoping to moisten them this way. I will post results in 2 weeks.
1st Dec, 2012
this is my first ever attempt at a Christmas Cake and found this recipe straight forward. Need advice though! I opted for the version with no alcohol having young children so used fresh orange juice. please could you tell me if the cake should still be fed with liquid now that it's out of the oven?
28th Nov, 2012
lovely reciepe the only thing is can i ice it and decorate like a normal one


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