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    Tropical Christmas Cake

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    Tropical Christmas Cake

    Baking this light, delightfully spiced treat a few weeks ahead will allow it to mature beautifully – and give the family plenty of time to look forward to devouring it

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus 2 hours soaking
    • Cooking time: 195 minutes
    • Total time: 4 hours, plus 2 hours soaking 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes

    Serves: 12


    • Decoration
    • 20g brazil nuts
    • 30g provençal glacé cherries, halved
    • 30g mixed dried tropical fruit
    • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
    • 250g golden sultanas or raisins
    • 125g dried apricots, chopped
    • 125g dried pineapple, chopped
    • 125g dried mango, chopped
    • 50g stem ginger, chopped
    • 50g provençal glacé cherries, halved
    • 50g mixed peel, chopped
    • 150ml dark rum, plus extra to sprinkle
    • 250g butter, very soft
    • 250g light brown soft sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 200g plain flour
    • ¾ tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
    • ¼ nutmeg, grated
    • 1 lemon, finely grated zest
    • 1 orange, finely grated zest
    • 200g brazil nuts, 50g chopped


    1. Combine the vanilla pod, all the dried fruit, ginger, glacé cherries, mixed peel and 100ml rum in a large bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a cool place for at least 2 hours. Remove the vanilla pod, scraping the seeds into the fruit.
    2. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. Butter a round, 23cm cake tin and line with 2 layers of non-stick baking paper (it should stand 2cm above the tin). Wrap the outside in 2 layers of brown parcel paper and secure with string.
    3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift in the flour, baking powder, spices and citrus zest. Fold in 50g chopped brazil nuts, the soaked fruit and its liquid. Spoon into the tin, scooping out a slight hollow in the middle to prevent the cake forming a domed centre. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and place the remaining 150g whole brazil nuts on the surface. Cover with baking paper and bake for a further 2 hours, until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.
    4. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Pierce the top a few times and sprinkle with the remaining rum. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks, occasionally sprinkling with rum. To serve, top with the brazil nuts, glacé cherries and dried tropical fruit.

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