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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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
26th Nov, 2012
Great recipe! I have been making this cake for years now. Made this years yesterday afternoon..I always make 2 at the time, and NEVER have any leftovers! I use blanched almonds and brazil nuts, instead of macadamia's, and extra glace cherries. When the cakes are done I leave them in their tins, wrap them in extra baking parchment and a plastic bag. Then they are stored in the cellar.
26th Nov, 2012
Have made three of these cakes each year for the last 4 years. They are delicious, easy to make and fool proof. I doubt I will ever use any other recipe for Christmas cake again.
25th Nov, 2012
I love this cake. I actually made 3 of them for my wedding cake in April and then another 2for my two tiered birthday cake in October. I always omit the whole nuts and just replace with more dried fruit and ground almonds. Cooking times and recipe ratios for bigger and smaller versions would be much appreciated as I only just got away with the 10 inch bottom tier...a little puddingy! Tastes divine though. Beautifully moist and popular with everyone. Am gearing up to make 3 next weekend for Christmas cakes!
23rd Nov, 2012
I have used this recipe since it was first published. Living in the USA, fruitcake has a bad reputation. The joke is the same cake is passed around from one person to another each it is so bad.. nobody would dare eat it! My American husband, adult daughter and son LOVE this cake. I made a double recipe to be one of the cakes at our daughter's wedding in September...and she is a Pastry Chef at a 5-Star hotel. Love the addition of the ground almonds. I am lucky that ground almond flour is readily available here. I read BBCGoodFood on line each morning and bring back the magazine when ever I go back home to England.
22nd Nov, 2012
Cake took 2 3/4 hours but look great. Did anyone else's take so long ? (Electric oven)
21st Nov, 2012
Made this cake tonight and its still in the oven. I have put it in a 7inch tin so I'm guessing that's why it's taken longer to cook. Won't be eating until Xmas just a little worried that cake feels a little rubbery like its got a skin on it. Is that due to the baking technique?
20th Nov, 2012
Cake tin size stated to left of cooking time panel at top of instructions - makes a 20cm round cake.


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