Nan's Boiled Fruit Cake
Member recipe

Nan's Boiled Fruit Cake

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(31 ratings)

Member recipe by


Serves 8

A Very Moist Fruit Cake - passed down from my nan

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  • 4 oz Brown Sugar
  • 8 oz margarine or butter
  • 1lb mixed fruit
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 Pint Milk
  • 4 oz Glace Cherries
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 oz chopped walnuts
  • 12 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


    1. Place all the ingredients for the fruit mix in a large saucepan bring to the boil and allow to cool for about 30 minutes
    2. Preheat oven to 160C / Gas 3
    3. Add the cherries and nuts stir through
    4. then add eggs and mix well, add the flour and fold through the mix.
    5. Place the mixture in a greased and floured 8' - deep cake tin. Tie some greaseproof paper around the outside of the tin so that the paper comes over the edges of the tin or optionally place over the top about half way through baking. Bake for 2 hours but check after 1.5 hours , check to see if cooked throughly with a skewer. If not bake a little further until the skewer comes out clean from the cake. Allow to cool and either decorate with marzipan and royal icing, or dried apricots and cherries and glaze with melted apricot jam or plain is very nice too.

Comments, questions and tips

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12th Feb, 2020
Just found this recipe.......Wow! Best fruit cake I have ever made. I followed the recipe, with just a couple of tweaks.....the 1lb of dried fruit consisted of sultanas, apricots, dates and mixed peel and I added a big dollop of bitter marmalade. The result was a moist, yet light and extremely moreish cake.....and yes, it took just 1 hour 15 minutes in an 8" round tin. This will be my Christmas cake for sure! Thank you for sharing. Update: Made this for Christmas......Method as above but with glace Morello cherries instead of ordinary ones. (Well it is Christmas) The top was just cherries and almonds spread with demerara sugar,and it had a weekly feed with Cognac three times.....Just one word, WOW! The nicest Christmas cake ever! Made a smaller one for my neighbour and he said the same! Will definitely be doing this again.
Stephen Mcilvenna's picture
Stephen Mcilvenna
23rd Jan, 2019
Do not put bicarbonate of soda in this recipe with self raising flour. This must be a mistake.! My cake mix rose like honeycomb in the mixing bowl.
Deborah bakes
30th Jul, 2019
Hi Stephen. I'm looking for a quick go to fruit cake recipe, I just noticed your comment regard the bi carb. Too be honest I mix a teaspoon to my Irish fruit cake its amazing. I add it after the ingredients have boiled I let it cool for 15 mins then quickly stir in the bi carb, it froths up but don't worry. Once the flour etc goes in it settles down. Best Irish cake i have ever baked. Only reason I'm not using today is I want a quick no booze fruit cake recipe. Anyway hope you don't mind me commenting thought it may help if you enjoyed the cake and the reaction the bi carb did was normal. Happy baking !
15th Oct, 2017
Lovely cake, really easy to make and tastes great. Have made it several times now, originally followed the recipe but found it was cooked after 1 hour 10 mins. Everyone loved it. Have just made it again today, this time after reading the comments I added chopped dried apricots with the fruit, and tipped in the entire 200gm of cherries instead of just 4oz. I also (following comments below) sprinkled flaked almonds and a tablespoon of brown sugar over the top, before putting in the oven. It's cooling at the moment (took 1 hour 20 mins this time) and looks fabulous. The recipe is brilliant; it works well as written (apart from the oven timings - watch it after an hour) but can also be 'added to'. Wonderful, thank you Nan!
20th Feb, 2017
I made this on the weekend and it was the first time I made a fruit cake. I found it very easy to make and I baked it in a 24cm square tin, which when cooked would probably serve double the recommended serves. I had the temperature of the oven at 180C which cooked the cake 1hr 1/2 (which is due to my oven being a bit temperamental at times- need a new one). The cake came out good and my husband loved it so that is good.:)
8th Dec, 2016
been making this cake for awhile now and everyone loves it as am now making once a week, also they all want this cake instead of a christmas cake.
23rd Nov, 2016
Hi everyone. Please help. I am making mini Christmas cakes in the silver wood mini 16 round tins and need to know if this recipe will work. The other day I made a different recipe and wasted loads of ingredients and a bottle of brandy and they looked awful. Please help. Any advice would be appreciated. Xx
15th Jul, 2016
Made this today without the nuts - lovely and moist. As others have commented, it only took 1 hour 10 mins at gas 3 middle shelf. People who say it crumbles may be overcooking. Check after 1 hour and then every 10 mins should solve the problem.
20th Nov, 2016
It says on the method that it takes 2 hours
7th Dec, 2015
Made this in 5 mini cake tins to make small cakes for people living alone. Baked at Fan 140 for 45 mins. I had to try one of course to see if it had turned out ok - delicious!


Joe Walsh's picture
Joe Walsh
12th Jan, 2020
Hi. Like everyone else on this site I think this recipe is excellent. I made it yesterday and love it. Next time I will check after 1 hour. My question is, how long will it keep for without freezing, or is it better to freeze?
30th Mar, 2019
I am making a birthday cake for a party in two weeks. Can I make this in advance and feed it with alcohol before icing it.
28th Jan, 2018
My grannie used to make a cake just like this and called it Zoll Loaf. Has anyone else heard of this term?
23rd Aug, 2017
What form of fruit should be used? Is dried fruit good?
21st Aug, 2018
yes any dried fruit is good its up to you what you fancy.
7th Aug, 2017
Why is bicarbonate needed with SR flour for a fruit cake - is it for extra raising or some other technical reason?
16th Jul, 2016
Can anybody tell me when do you add the bicarbonate of soda as it doesn't say? I'm also looking to bake this in a 2lb loaf tin so will it require less cooking time?
scrumptiousbuns's picture
16th Nov, 2016
I added it with the flour :)
Pablina's picture
2nd May, 2016
What size tin ? In inches deep and round please
30th Jul, 2015
This recipe fits into 2 x 2lb loaf tins Fan oven 150C - I use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is true Cooking time 1hr but check at 50 mins as mine was done at 52 mins I put an empty cooking tray on the shelf above to protect the cakes
18th Jan, 2017
great tip for cooking for 50 mins, been doing it your way for over a year now and so much better as b4 it was always a bit dry, i really dont know why they say cook it for so long.
6th Oct, 2013
Metric conversion for this recipe 113g sugar 226g margarine 454g mixed fruit 284ml milk 2tsp mixed spice 113g cherries 2 eggs 56g walnuts 340g SR Flour 1tsp bicarbonate of soda