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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21st Nov, 2016
I have had this in the oven for two and a half hours and not even nearly cooked! ?
23rd Nov, 2016
Quantities and tin all the size required? Do you have an oven thermometer? My oven sits about 20 degrees cooler than the dial states so one of them is invaluable.
21st Nov, 2016
I made this last night and it cooked up wonderfully in two hours. Did you cook at 150C or 302F?
Michelle Aston
18th Nov, 2016
Could I store this in the garage? Or would it be to cold
15th Nov, 2016
Hi I have just made this & unwrapped it after leaving it overnight to cool. It looks fab - however it seems really heavy is this normal? I know it has 1kg of fruit in it. Just wondering
1st Nov, 2016
Has anyone baked this cake in an 8 inch (20cm) square tin? I realise this is a bigger tin than an 8 inch round!
21st Nov, 2016
Yes, I used an eight inch square. Came out great!
17th Nov, 2016
For her Christmas cake recipe Delia Smith recommends either a 20 cm round tin or an 18 cm square tin, so I'd say that's the size of square tin you might want to use with this recipe too. I've been wondering about making a square cake too, but I'm worried that the corners of the cake will feel tough or dry. Good luck!
jtweedie's picture
30th Oct, 2016
Incredible recipe. I have used this the last two Christmases and it has always been loved by everyone. Only things I change is I don't put in the blanched almonds in because I don't like almonds. In terms of alcohol choice, I think a good port makes for the nicest cake. Really moist, delicious cake.
28th Oct, 2016
How long do I cook this recipe for if making into mini Christmas cakes?


2nd Nov, 2015
How much icing/marzipan is needed to cover the standard 20cm cake?
goodfoodteam's picture
19th Nov, 2015
Thanks for your question, 750g marzipan will cover the top and sides of a 20cm cake. If you just want to decorate the top use 500g. The same quantities apply when using fondant icing.
30th Oct, 2015
I am making my friend's wedding cake but she does not want any alcohol in it. How long in advance can I make it? Thanks
19th Oct, 2015
How do I increase ingredients for a 23cm round tin
29th Nov, 2015
I have just made a 23cm cake I used 1 1/2 times the ingredients. Have you already made yours? If so I was wondering how long it took to cook the larger cake? X
Tracey S13
13th Oct, 2015
How far in advance can this be made?
10th Mar, 2015
I wonder what are the quantities for a 12 inch round cake tin. Again how long would this size of cake take to bake.
goodfoodteam's picture
13th Mar, 2015
Hi snobbles62 & jmhutchie thank you for getting in touch, this recipe was triple tested using a 20cm / 9 inch cake tin so we cannot guarantee perfect results for different sized tins and quantities. We wouldn't like to guess timings or quantities for larger or smaller versions in case you ended up wasting expensive ingredients. It would be better to find a recipe which uses a cake tin in the size you have or using the tin specified in the recipe as baking is a bit of a science and if you simply halve or double the ingredients the cake structure may not hold correctly. Really hope you find a recipe which suits your needs - let us know how you get on. 
29th Nov, 2015
Oh no I'm worried now as I've just put my 23cm cake in the oven :( I hope it will be ok? I used 1 1/2 times the ingredients and it filled the tin perfectly, I was going to cook for 3hrs and see how it is? I'm quite worried after reading your comment about it not holding structure properly and I'm worried it won't cook properly now.
10th Mar, 2015
I love this cake and I am planning on making it for my daughter's wedding. Can you advise me on quantities and cooking times appropriate for a 12 inch round cake tin? Thank you


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