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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30th Dec, 2013
My husband made this cake in November ..... The first time we have baked christmas cake. It is lovely, moist and rich. Very popular indeed and am easy to follow recipe.
22nd Dec, 2013
This was awesome! Really great recipe, easy to make, very moist and fruity. Made in October and fed weekly with Glenfiddich and Port. Used cherries, raisins, sultanas and cranberries. Delicious, will use this recipe again!
17th Nov, 2013
Deemed by my family to be the best christmas cake they've ever eaten! This is perfect and really fruity, I used 200g each dried cherries, prunes, jumbo raisins, sultanas and cranberries, and ended up grinding my own almonds in the whizzer. I also used cointreau instead of any other alcohol with worked a dream! The last thing I changed was the tin size, as I didn't have a 20cm deep tin so I used a 10cm deep cake tin and put the remaining mixture in a loaf tin. This changed the cooking time to 1hr45mins. Oh, and I also double lined the base of the tins, but not the sides, and I didn't wrap it in newspaper but wrapped the outside of the cake tin in one layer of baking parchment tied with string, but didn't wrap the outside on the loaf tin. I will feed it now up until christmas, if it lasts that long!!! :) yum...
riversidebaking's picture
23rd Jan, 2014
I'm making this cake for the second time this year, because it was so great last year. Everyone loved it! This year I'm using spiced rum, mmmm! http://riversidebaking.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/christmas-cake-decorating/
24th Oct, 2013
Usually make the Delia Christmas cake but thought I'd give this one a try this year. I let it cook for 2 1/2 hours as it didn't seem cooked, but was worried about leaving it any longer in case it was dry. Smells good, so fingers crossed!
28th Sep, 2013
I have made a christmas cake for the last 10 years and this recipe is the easiest yet, normally i would soak the fuit for a few days but this you just heat up the fruit and wet stuff and leave to cool. As mine cooled the fruit soaked up most of the rum and juices. I used a 23cm tin. The cake took more like 3-3 half hours though.
13th Sep, 2013
I've used various recipes over the years, used this one last year and will use it again this year! Love the '1kg of mixed dried fruit' instead of ?gms sultanas, ?gms raisins etc. I included roughly chopped prunes and glace cherries to help the moisture. Also, after heating the fruit I covered the bowl with clingfilm and left overnight to 'meld'. This did mean the cooking of the final mix took a little longer because everything was cold but it worked - the final result disappeared very quickly!!
7th Mar, 2013
My first ever attempt at Christmas cake. Recipe easy to follow and great result. My family loved it and will definitely make again.
21st Feb, 2013
I didn't cover it with newspaper, and I added a few teaspoons of apple/cinnamon tea, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I only did it about 2 weeks before Christmas and it turned out gorgeous. Really moist and full of flavour; will be using this recipe again.
28th Jan, 2013
This was my first ever effort at making a Christmas cake and it was brilliant! The recipe was easy to follow and it tasted great and was a nice, moist cake. I don't have a 20 cm deep tin so used a 23 cm one and it was just fine. Also, used homemade sweet white wine (almost a sherry/port) for the soaking and feeding. Had to put a little 'hat' over the top of the cake after a while in the oven as it was getting a bit brown, but just kept my eye on it and removed the hat towards the end of baking. Will definitely be making agin next Christmas.


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