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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23rd Dec, 2016
Hi. I split the recipe between a deep 6" round tin and a deep 5" round tin. This was just right with the 6" tin filled 2/3 full and the 5" tin about half full. They both rose and the 6" one rose to the right height in the tin. Any more than 2/3 full and it would probably go over the top. Timing wise, the small 5" one took exactly the time shown on the recipe. The 6" one took longer - I gave it an extra 35 minutes in 10 to 15 minute checks, before the skewer came out clean. So altogether, the 6" one took 45 minutes at 130 degrees (fan), followed by 1 hr 40 minutes at 120 degrees fan. Both perfect :-)
10th Oct, 2012
hi abby1991 - how long did you feed/store it? I think the longer it keeps the less likely it is to crumble - that said I made mine in early October last year ad cut it at Christmas having fed it every week with cherry brandy and that still crumbled - no one cared!
23rd Sep, 2012
Great cake, and tasted lovely too, everyone loved it! but can anyone give me tips on how to stop it crumbling?
20th Sep, 2012
Lovely moist cake, nice balance of fruit and spices, not as bitter or dense as a traditional Christmas cake, this one is a keeper for all year round.
3rd Feb, 2012
never made a xmas cake before,this was so simple to do.passed the recipe on to friend's and they all loved it.didn't change anything with it being my first time don't think i will either.
25th Jan, 2012
I'm a complete novice when it comes to baking so spotted this just before Christmas and decided to give it a go. The cake was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. My family loved it, and were pleasantly surprised that I had made it, knowing how nervous I am about baking!
8th Jan, 2012
Gorgeous cake, first time I have ever made a christmas cake and this was so eay to make, lovely and moist. Did not add the nuts and made 5 small cakes with the first attempt which I iced and gave away as Christmas presents and then one big cake for the day itself which did not last long. I added a bit more brandy before icing but there was not alot of time before making and then icing and then it was Christmas. I shall be making this again and again and next time I am thinking of using a loaf tin and cutting it into slabs. Many thanks for another brilliant recipe, I love the praise I get on the results!
8th Jan, 2012
I've done this cake for about 3 years now and can't find a better and easier cake. Can't go wrong when you do it. Anyone who tastes this cake want the recipe and I'll be happy to hear that they did it also. Thanks
6th Jan, 2012
Fabulous recipe, works perfectly everytime! I used sherry instead of brandy and sometimes add prunes and dates to the fruit mix. Brilliant!
5th Jan, 2012
I was a Christmas cake virgin until last year and so pleased that I chose this recipe! Easy to make and tastes superb. My husband says its the best fruit cake he has ever tasted and my Mother has asked for the recipe, which is a huge compliment coming from her! Will definitely be making this again for Christmas 2012 if not before.


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