Feeding a Christmas cake with alcohol

Make & mature Christmas cake

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(164 ratings)

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


Cuts into 12-15 slices

Bake this festive fruit cake in advance of Christmas 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 1kg mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon, 150ml brandy or other alcohol, 250g softened butter and 200g light, soft brown sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Add 175g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 100g flaked almonds, 4 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.

  5. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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15th Dec, 2018
This is the best Christmas cake recipe I have ever made, it is so moist and flavoursome, will definitely do this again next year
30th Nov, 2018
this recipe is fantastic. So much easier than the tradicional ones . I will definelly adopt for the next Christmas
Fiona Frazer's picture
Fiona Frazer
29th Nov, 2018
Is this best to be stored in fridge or room temp after baked?
2nd Dec, 2018
Just wrapped in clingfilm or foil in a tin in a coolish place, not the fridge :)
Janette Clark's picture
Janette Clark
25th Nov, 2018
First time making a Christmas cake and found this recipe really straightforward. Followed almost to the letter, but I did 'cook' the fruit mixture the day before and let it sit overnight, which seemed to make it a thicker consistency so it wasnt any way near being sloppy as some others have reported. I used a 20cm square cake tin and it took exactly 2 hours to bake. Very pleased with the result, it looks and smells great. Will certainly use this recipe in the future.
Liz Hay's picture
Liz Hay
25th Nov, 2018
First time baking a Christmas cake! I made it in a 23cm tin so it took a bit less time to bake. Smells deliciously boozy. I look forward to slicing into this cake in a few weeks. Used an instant thermometer to check that it was done.
traceyjhutty's picture
19th Nov, 2018
I’ve been using this recipe for my Christmas cake for a few years now and it never disappoints. Very easy to follow and not too many ingredients like some I’ve tried previously. It tastes like a traditional cake and I get great comments every year. Brilliant.
Daniel Krebs's picture
Daniel Krebs
19th Nov, 2018
25 min prep time? More like an hour.
17th Nov, 2018
This recipe has become our Chritsmas tradition!
14th Nov, 2018
I made this cake on Monday 12th November and it's GORGEOUS!!! I used Brandy soaked fruit from Aldi, and then added whisky after it was cooked. It's gorgeous and I'm not ruining it with marzipan or icing. And it's not going to make it to chrimbo - we've already scoffed half of it. (Oh, and I used coconut oil instead of butter, simply because I didn't have enough butter. It's GORGEOUS!)


Sara Sanders
27th Nov, 2018
Hi, this is my first time making Christmas cake. I know I'm a bit late, so I'm going to feed this every week. How should I reheat this on Christmas day? I'm making it to take to my mother in laws as a surprise.
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Nov, 2018
Thanks for your question. You don't need to reheat the cake, just serve it at room temperature.
21st Nov, 2018
Completely new to baking a Christmas cake and just wondering if I’ve left it too late to make? Hoping to make it on stir-up Sunday which leaves a month for it to mature is this enough time?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Nov, 2018
No problem! This will still give you enough time to feed the cake once more before Christmas. Enjoy.
21st Nov, 2018
You'll be fine.
20th Nov, 2018
Third time of making this cake. Would feeding the cake with alcohol weekly be excessive as opposed to every fortnight? Or will it just help ensure a very moist cake?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Nov, 2018
Thanks for your question. You can feed it weekly if you like but it'll still be moist if you stick with the fortnight.
11th Nov, 2018
Hi I have just made this cake for the first time and added about 20 mins etc cook time. I have just taken the cake out of the tin and it still feels a little bit warm (5 hours left in tin) and the bottom seems a little wet still, do u think it may be under cooked? Or is this normal? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
14th Nov, 2018
Thanks for your question. We would guess that if you cooked the cake for 20 mins longer it will be fine.
Jan's picture
10th Nov, 2018
I make this cake every year - it's wonderful! But this year I want to make two smaller cakes - if I split this recipe into two, how long should I cook them for?


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