Feeding a Christmas cake with alcohol

Make & mature Christmas cake

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(180 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


  • 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…

  • 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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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9th Nov, 2014
Made it again! It has worked I think, and its due for 3 feeds between now and christmas. I used cointreau which gives it a great fruity aroma, and a mixture of sultanas, cranberries, prunes and tinned cherries, which tastes fabulous. This is my favourite x-mas cake ever- more of fruit with cake as opposed to cake with fruit, as my family would say! A brilliant recipe, the only thing I changed was I wrapped the sides of the tin in baking parchment, not newspaper, which worked really well! Yum Yum… xxx
14th Sep, 2014
I always make my Christmas cake three months in advise as I like mature cake. I found this receipt online and thought I would give it a go. I have to say the receipt was very easy to follow the ingredients are easy to find and buy and better still most supermarkets sell mixed fruit so you don't have to buy it all separate. I did add in cherries (husbands choice) and I didn't reduce the 1kg of mixed fruit and it still rose well. The smell when cooking was amazing, I used whiskey this year and you could really smell it. My only comment would be the time is more like 2.5hrs not the suggested 2 but suppose it depends on your cooker. I would defiantly recommend this receipt.
3rd Jul, 2014
This is the easiest Christmas Cake I've every made, and I've made a few. Tastes lovely already (we cut the slightly rounded top to form a flat base for decorating and of course ate it), but we're going to 'feed it' until Christmas anyway.
28th Mar, 2014
The best Christmas cake I have ever made, and I have made a few over the last 40 years! I used Aldi luxury dried fruit mixture which contains an amazing selection of fruits, and saves buying separate packs of fruit. I didn't do all the extra wrapping of the cake tin - life's too short!- and used an 8" square tin. Will the mixture work for a Simnel cake I wonder? I'm just about to find out!
1st Mar, 2014
Still had a piece left since Christmas and I had it this afternoon. Was delicious! Cake turned out wonderfully, was a hit over the hols. I only had time to booze it twice (used rum). Next time I'd increase the amount of cherries and figs (missions are good) and decrease raisins in my fruit mix. The grape-based fruits were a little too sweet for my preference, although if you use top quality fruits, you can't really go wrong (although your wallet will feel it).
26th Jan, 2014
I made my own cake for the first time this year and I was over the moon with how it turned out I only fed it twice and it was moist without being puddingie and I strained the fruit and I used walnuts instead because that's what I picked up by accident but I will definitely make it again..
26th Jan, 2014
I couldn't find my usual recipe, so based on the reviews I tried this one. It was beautifully moist and even converted daughter #2 to Christmas cake, which was a shame really as there was less for me to enjoy! I used a mixture of the fruits and nuts I had in the cupboard and ginger wine. I will be making this cake again.
Olsen I
13th Jan, 2014
Made this cake 4 weeks before Christmas. I too, like some other posts, found this 'cake' more like a pudding in texture and very wet, rather than moist. Won't be making again.
9th Jan, 2014
Just coming to the end of cake, having made it for second year in a row. It really is a lovely, moist cake and I find it to be considerably lighter in texture than other recipes that I've tried.I steeped the fruits, zest and sugar overnight before baking, but would advise lending an eye to cake as it bakes as I did have to put some foil loosely over its top as it had begun to colour rather too much on the dark side!!! I used the orange zesty marzipan as its covering, and found that dousing it beforehand, and on a weekly basis, with Cointreau really did bring out a lovely citrus zing to the cake and enhanced the marzipan too. Highly recommend this one and am trying to come up with a good enough excuse to make another one before November, 2014!!
Linda Beazley
1st Jan, 2014
I was disappointed with the taste and texture of this cake. Although I followed the recipe I'm wondering if I fed the cake too many times because it is more like a pudding. (Recipe only stipulates how often to feed & not total number of times. ) I also prefer a dark fruit cake. Wouldn't make again.


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