2. Fruit Cakes

Extra fruity Christmas cake


  • 400g currants
  • 250g raisins
  • 250g sultanas
  • 100g pitted dates
  • 150g dried apricots
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 175ml brandy or bourbon, plus extra for feeding
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g dark muscovado sugar
  • ½ tbsp treacle
  • 4 large eggs
  • 275g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g ground almonds


  • STEP 1Put all the dried fruit, the mixed peel and citrus zests in a large bowl, the pour over the brandy. Stir, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  • STEP 2The next day, heat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line the base and side of a deep 23cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, so it comes a few centimetres above the rim.
  • STEP 3Beat the butter, sugar and treacle together in a large bowl using an electric whisk, until pale and creamy. Alternatively, use a stand mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl every so often. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a separate bowl, then stir this into the wet ingredients along with the ground almonds until combined.
  • STEP 4Stir in the rehydrated fruit along with the soaking liquid, then spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake for 2 hrs 25 mins-2 hrs 30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.If the cake starts to darken too quickly, cover with foil.
  • STEP 5Leave to cool completely in the tin, then prick small holes all over the surface using a cocktail stick or skewer and brush over a little brandy. Wrap the cake in baking parchment, then a sheet of foil. Store in an airtight container and feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp brandy each week for three or four weeks, stopping the week before you want to ice it. Will keep in a cool, dry place for six months.

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