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
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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…

  • 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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26th Dec, 2012
Super easy to make and after finally cutting into it yesterday after 3 weeks of imbuing, it's also delicious - will definitely become my go to recipe.
jul34es's picture
10th Dec, 2012
made the cake at the end of september and topped it up with brandy every 2 weeks and keep wanting to taste it now,going to put orange marzipan on this week and cant wait to decorate next week.smells really good and very moist and was very easy to do.
7th Dec, 2012
This is the first Christmas cake I have ever made, it was really easy and has turned out great, I am looking forward to icing it next week.
2nd Dec, 2012
Very moist and delicious, full of fruit and flavour. A very grown up Christmas Cake. When cut it looked too moist and I was a bit concerned - have no fear, it's lovely.
26th Nov, 2012
Oops! Meant "Stir Sunday"! And the only tin I have that's deep is a 23cm one!
26th Nov, 2012
Missed out on making this yesterday, on "Stir it up Sunday". Only have a 23cm deep tin so am wondering if I have to increase ingredients' quantities, or decrease cooking time? Any suggestions?
23rd Nov, 2012
Cake is in the oven, looking forward to seeing results, with the recipe being really simple to follow.
22nd Nov, 2012
This cake is fantastic! I split the recipe in 2 and made 2 6'' cakes - each took about 1hr 40mins in oven. Look fantastic - I hope they taste as good.
21st Nov, 2012
Marinated the fruit in sherry, zests and juices of orange and lemon overnight and made the cake today. Didn't have any ground cloves, so just left them out. The mixture seemed very moist when put into the tin. The recipe says cook for 2 hours but at the top it says 2 hours 10 minutes. Cooked for the longer time and the result looks perfect. Used sherry to moisten when cooked and the cake smells delicious already.
21st Nov, 2012
Ok I have just put mine in the oven. As a complete novice I must admit I am a bit concerned. Firstly, I thought I had mixed spice in the cupboard but didn't so put in ginger, nutmeg, ground juniper berries and a few more ground cloves. Hope this will be ok? Secondly, I didn't have quite enough ground/flaked almonds but did have some chopped mixed nuts so put them in to make up the numbers. Thirdly,what about the top of the cake when cooking? I did the newspaper bit and sort of folded the edges over so it was partly covered but not completely. Have I done the right thing? Things like this annoy me because I just won't know until Christmas and being a complete amateur I don't really have a bank of knowledge/experience to draw from. Any guidance is appreciated.


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