Feeding a Christmas cake with alcohol

Make & mature Christmas cake

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(175 ratings)

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

Easy

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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Ingredients

  • 1kg mixed dried fruit (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
  • zest and juice 1 orange
    Orange

    Orange

    or-ange

    One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

  • zest and juice 1 lemon
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

    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

    Brandy

    bran-dee

    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • 250g pack butter, softened
    Butter

    Butter

    butt-err

    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

Method

  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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Pompomcat
17th Nov, 2018
5.05
This recipe has become our Chritsmas tradition!
TorpeyTeapot
14th Nov, 2018
5.05
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!)
Latha Rao's picture
Latha Rao
11th Nov, 2018
5.05
I made this cake today, it turned out perfect. This is my second Christmas cake ever that I had baked, but this recipe is definitely better than the previous one. I would recommend this recipe and also make the cake again
Lauren Wiltshire's picture
Lauren Wiltshire
6th Nov, 2018
5.05
Absolutely brilliant recipe! second year I've made this - last year into little Kilner jars as gifts, this year as a big cake for the family dinner. Easy recipe and great taste. Family love this, recommended to all!
hazelmoreau
6th Nov, 2018
5.05
I am about to make this cake, with complete confidence as I've made it quite a few times before. It is very easy to make. Yes, it takes quite a long time to cook, but it is a big Christmas cake, so that's to be expected. Benefit - the house smells wonderful.
oyiboboyo
6th Nov, 2018
Used recipe for first time today. We always make 2 cakes one with M&S recipe and then an experimental one. By comparison this mixture very sloppy and needed 30 minutes longer. Can't comment on taste/texture yet.
Mum23
3rd Nov, 2018
5.05
2 hours my foot! Get ready for a 4 hour bake. Lovely recipe. Used a few times and adapted to suite my larder! Recommended
clintwestmetal
16th Nov, 2018
5.05
If this takes 4 hours to bake then there is something amiss.
navi1967
20th Nov, 2018
Yes. The recipe.
Tom Marrinan
5th Dec, 2018
I agree, it takes much longer than the 2 hours at 130 C in a fan oven. We gave it 30 minutes extra and it is still not properly cooked. Comparing the recipe with other almost identical recipes we think 4 hours is far more realistic.

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clintwestmetal
20th Nov, 2018
5.05
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
goodfoodteam
22nd Nov, 2018
5.05
Thanks for your question. You can feed it weekly if you like but it'll still be moist if you stick with the fortnight.
Mwhitelaw
11th Nov, 2018
5.05
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
goodfoodteam
14th Nov, 2018
5.05
Thanks for your question. We would guess that if you cooked the cake for 20 mins longer it will be fine.
Jan's picture
Jan
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?
Jan's picture
Jan
11th Nov, 2018
Update: I had to make the cakes yesterday so just decided to wing it! I put them in 16cm deep tins - perfect size for this recipe split into two - and baked for 1hr then tested. They needed a little more time, so put them back in for 20ms and that seemed to be perfect! Fingers crossed! Skewers came out dry, so should be ok!
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
14th Nov, 2018
5.05
Great! Sounds like it worked out well.
Ashleigh Clayton's picture
Ashleigh Clayton
27th Oct, 2018
I've never made a Christmas cake before and intend to use this recipe as all tge comments are so positive! Am wondering if this cake is okay to cook about a month in advance to Christmas?:-) thanks in advance!
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
2nd Nov, 2018
5.05
Thanks for your question. Yes, this cake is designed to be made ahead. You can even make it now if you like.
Tom Langston's picture
Tom Langston
24th Oct, 2018
No one answered the question about what the newspaper is for. Do you cook it with the paper on? When do you take it off?

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