Make & mature Christmas cake

Make & mature Christmas cake

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(61 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 10 mins Plus cooling


Cuts into 12-15 slices
Prepare this fruit cake in advance and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per slice (12)

  • kcal678
  • fat29g
  • saturates12g
  • carbs88g
  • sugars79g
  • fibre3g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
  • zest and juice 1 orange



    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • zest and juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding



    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • 250g pack butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almond
  • 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…

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 100g flaked almond
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.

  2. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.

  4. Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

  5. To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jan, 2017
Me too!
30th Nov, 2016
Regthedog - I did not soak the fruit overnight. I followed the method exactly and it worked out perfectly.
30th Nov, 2016
Baked this Christmas Cake recipe today and it worked out wonderfully. Simple instructions and very quick. I used Jamesons whiskey. The only time-consuming part was the double lining, now that i have the hang of it, it will be easier next time.
29th Nov, 2016
Smells delicious. The top of my cake has burnt slightly, I'm going to slice a thin layer off the top before I ice it. Do you think it would be best to leave the cake intact during the feeding stages and only chop the top off right before I ice it?
7th Dec, 2016
Best to leave intact in my opinion. Mine has risen & not flat so have been feeding it then will cut.
27th Nov, 2016
First time making a Christmas Cake but had a load of fruit left after making mince and it doesn't really keep so decided this year to make a cake. Apart from the carrot cake I make this was the easiest cake ever. The only time consuming part was the double lining of the tin! I used sultanas, raisins, cranberries and morello cherries for my fruit and followed the recipe as written with one exception - I beat the eggs a little before adding. I used a 23cm tin as that was all I had and 150c oven It is certainly cooked and I am a little concerned that it just might be ever so slightly over cooked. I think size of time and knowing one's own oven is essential.. It's wrapped up and I will feed it with brandy, but it does look the part and smells delightful. My rating is for ease of baking and instructions as I won't tast until Christmas. Recommended
25th Nov, 2016
Did anyone soak fruit over night please?
7th Dec, 2016
Yes I did, but you don't have to. I just always do as was taught this in college. Obviously haven't tried the cake to see the difference.
Tam In Tas
23rd Nov, 2016
I am about to start this awesome cake for the second year. It is a very heavy cake to hold and it does take a little longer to bake but it is so worth it. If it has browned but not cooked fully just cover it with some foil so it doesn't burn. I wrapped my cooled cake in glad wrap and foil over the top of that to store and it worked out nicely. I also decided not to ice my cake and it was equally as good with a bit of butter or some custard.
23rd Nov, 2016
Do you stick to feeding it every 2 weeks?


goodfoodteam's picture
1st Nov, 2016
Thanks for your question, orange juice is a better choice than lemon juice as it's sweet. You can use it as an alternative but because it doesn't keep as well as alcohol, we'd suggest eating the cake within a few months. Another option is to use cold tea as in this recipe.
18th Jan, 2016
Having made James make and mature cake successfully many times I have been asked to make it for a Wedding Cake. 10 or 11 inch square! How do I adjust the ingredients and how long do I cook for? I do hope you can help on this urgent matter? Becky, Cumbria
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Mar, 2016
A square tin holds more mixture than a round tin of the same width, which means if you used the same amount of mixture it would fill a 7 inch square tin. So, we suggest using 1 1/2 times the mixture, so 6 eggs 1 1/2 kg fruit etc. for a 10-11 inch tin depending on how deep you want the cake to be. Keep the oven temperature the same, and turn the cake during baking, as the corners tend to cook faster than the middle. We haven't tested it ourselves, so cannot guarantee perfect results but we estimate it will take 2 3/4 - 3 hours so check after 2 1/2 hours and cover with foil if starting to brown more than you want it to.
29th Nov, 2015
Hi guys, I've just put my cake in the oven ( it smells amazing) I've done 1 1/2 times the ingredients to make a larger cake, how long would you suggest cooking it for 3hrs? Did yours take the suggested 2hrs or was it longer and also did any of you cover the top at all to prevent it browning to much? Thanks in advance. X
24th Nov, 2015
I would like to know where the cake is stored after baking till it's ready to be decorated during Christmas?
10th Nov, 2015
What is the purpose of the newspaper? I struggled to get mine around the tin neatly. Is there a tried and tested method?
8th Nov, 2015
Hi im going to try to make this cake today but prefer a darker colour, some say treacle but do i add this as an extra or emit some juice etc , thank you
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Nov, 2015
The easiest way to get a darker cake is to swap the light brown sugar for a dark muscovado sugar, although you could add 1 tbsp black treacle too. For a darker richer taste choose whisky or brandy instead of sherry and the darker dried fruits.
4th Nov, 2015
I have just mixed this cake but it seems very wet I dont want to waste all the ingredients. Can anybody else that has made this cake tell me whether the mixture is quite wet before it is cooked.
13th Dec, 2015
Yes it is very runny but mine cooked in 2 hours 10 minutes, left to cool in tin as instructed and it cooked through perfectly.


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