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    Classic Christmas fruit cake

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    Classic Christmas fruit cake

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes + soaking
    • Cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes - 4 hours
    • Total time: 3 hours 50 minutes - 4 hours 20 minutes + soaking

    Makes: 16


    500g sultanas
    250g raisins
    250g dried apricots, quartered
    200g Cooks’ Ingredients Italian Cut Mixed Peel
    200g Cooks’ Ingredients Glacé Cherries, halved
    100g pitted prunes, quartered
    1 orange, zest and juice
    100ml brandy
    250g unsalted butter, softened
    200g light brown muscovado sugar
    5 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Eggs
    200g walnut pieces
    300g plain flour, sifted
    500g Cooks’ Ingredients Golden Marzipan, to decorate
    500g Cooks’ Ingredients Homebaking White Fondant Icing, to decorate 


    1. Put all the fruit in a large bowl and stir in the orange zest and juice, plus the brandy. Cover and leave overnight.

    2. When you are ready to make the cake, preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2, and grease and line a 23cm round tin – line the base and sides with a double thickness of baking parchment, cut so it comes 5cm above the edge of the tin. Fold a double band of brown paper around the outside of the tin and secure with kitchen string. Put several sheets of newspaper or brown paper on a baking sheet and place the tin on top.

    3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition (if the mixture begins to curdle, add a little of the flour). Add the soaked fruit, any liquid and the nuts and stir well. Carefully fold in the flour with a wooden spoon.

    4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it evenly and making sure there are no air pockets. Level the top carefully as the tin will be very full. Bake for 3 hours 30 minutes - 4 hours or until
    a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the cake starts to over-brown, cover the top with a piece of baking parchment.

    5. Leave to cool completely in the tin. Store in a cool, dry place, wrapped in greaseproof paper and a double thickness of foil. Feed the cake with brandy every 2 weeks (prick the surface with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp brandy or other liqueur, being careful not to overfeed or it will become soggy) until ready to marzipan, ice and decorate it as you wish.  Or to make heart decorations, mix a little red colouring into icing and roll it out to a 0.5cm thickness. Cut out heart shapes and use cocktail sticks to stick them upright into the finished cake.

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    Make it gluten free

    Use Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour and add 2 tbsp more orange juice or water at the end of step 3.

    Cook’s tip

    If a dome forms on the cake during cooking, slice off the top just before marzipanning and decorating, so you have a flat surface to work on. The alcohol the fruit is soaked in evaporates during cooking. If you prefer not to use alcohol, soak overnight in 100ml of freshly squeezed orange juice instead of brandy.


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