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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17th Nov, 2012
20cm MrsT!
17th Nov, 2012
Hi, Can anyone tell me what size cake tin is needed for this recipe. Thanks
17th Nov, 2012
Hi, Can anyone tell me what size cake tini need to use for this recipie? Thanks
17th Nov, 2012
This recipe whizzed round the expat Brits in Brittany last Christmas and deservedly so. After nearly 50 years of trying many different recipes this is the one I am sticking with. Easy, fail safe and impossible to tell it has not been made in the traditional way.
7th Nov, 2012
This cake looks really moist and nice. Will give it a go for Christmas...
3rd Nov, 2012
Fabulous cake. Incredibly easy to make, and tastes superb. A bit more detail: I tripled the quantity to fill a 30cm square tin (the type that divides in to 9). As I don't have a saucepan big enough to cook all the ingredients in one go I pre-soaked the fruit, and then added the cooled butter and sugar mix, and then followed the rest of the instructions. I wrapped the tin with a triple layer of brown paper, and half-way through cooking I also loosely covered it with greaseproof paper. I swapped the macadamias for almonds, and added some ginger too. The result is an excellent, very moist and (slightly Christmas-pudding-y) cake, that was a breeze to make.
2nd Nov, 2012
Everyone loved this cake when I made it last year, so just looking up the recipe to make another this year. I leave out the nuts because I don't like them but everything else is per recipe. Great simple recipe.
26th Oct, 2012
Made this cake on the 13th October, just had a peek at it, smells and looks delicious. Made this cake last year, so much easier with the simmer method. It was well approved by everybody and I cannot see how anybody cannot succeed making this perfect cake. We love it, all I have to do now is give it a little more brandy before Christmas.
25th Oct, 2012
I baked this cake last week for my husband, and he loved it. He said it was the best fruit cake I've ever made. I will be making a couple more in the coming weeks to decorate as Christmas gifts!
15th Oct, 2012
I have made this cake as our family christmas cake for the last 3 years and it is always popular. This year there will be fewer of us around to eat it so am thinking of splitting the recipe and making 2 smaller cakes - any tips/advice on baking times for 2 x 18 or 20cm cakes each using half the cake mix? Thanks


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