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English Christmas fruit cake

christmas desserts



  • 1lb 2oz/525g of currants
  • 8oz/225g of golden raisins/sultanas
  • 8oz /225g of raisins
  • 4oz /110g of finely chopped mixed candied peel
  • 6oz /165 of halved glace cherries
  • 10oz/300g of all purpose/plain flour
  • A pinch salt
  • ½ level tsp of mixed spice
  • ½ level tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ½ level tsp of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2½ sticks /300g of slightly softened butter
  • 10 oz /300g soft brown sugar
  • Zest of ½ a lemon
  • 6 large lightly beaten eggs
  • 3 tbsp brandy, plus extra for feeding


1. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C/Gas Mark 2. Note well, the temperature is low, because the cake needs to slowly bake or the outside of the cake will burn and the inside be undercooked.

2. Line a 9 inch cake tin with 2 thicknesses of parchment or greaseproof paper. Tie a double band of brown or newspaper paper around the outside. This acts as an insulator to prevent the cake from burning on the outside.

3. In a large bowl mix the currants, sultanas, raisins, peel and cherries with the flour, salt and spices.

4. In another large bowl cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.

5. Stir in the lemon zest and then add the beaten egg to the butter mixture a little bit at a time, beating well after each addition. Do not rush this process or the mixture will curdle. If it does curdle, add a tbsp of flour and mix again, which should bring the mixture back together.

6. Carefully fold in half of the flour and fruit into the egg and butter mixture. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining flour and fruit. Finally add the brandy.

7. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin making sure there are no air pockets. Once filled smooth the surface with the back of s spoon and make a slight dip in the center (this will rise back up again during cooking and create a smooth surface for icing the cake, a great trick you cna use for any cake you bake).

8. Using a piece of paper towel clean up any smears of cake batter on the greaseproof wrapping, if left on they will burn, and though it won’t affect the cake, it doesn’t smell too good.

9. Stand the tin on a double layer of newspaper in the lower part of the oven, if you have a gas oven ensure the paper is well away from the any flame, and bake for 4½ hours. If the cake is browning too rapidly, cover the tin with a double layer of greaseproof or parchment paper after 2½ hours. During the cooking time avoid opening the oven door too often as this may cause the cake to collapse.

10. After 4½ hours check that the cake is cooked. The cake should be nicely risen and a deep brown all over. Insert a skewer or fine knife into the centre of the cake to check, if there is sticky dough on the skewer when you pull it out it needs to cook for longer, if it is clean, the cake’s done and you can remove it from the oven.

11. Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack for an hour and then remove from the cake tin and leave to cool completely on the wire rack.

12. Once cooled prick the surface of the cake with a fine metal skewer and slowly pour over 2 – 3 tbsp brandy.

The cake should be stored wrapped in greaseproof or parchment paper in an airtight tin.

See more Christmas Desserts

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