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Christmas cake

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Christmas Cake

By Diana Earnshaw

There is more sugar in this cake than we should use on a daily basis – both from the added sugar and the dried fruit.  However, there are valuable nutrients in this cake and you can make it healthier by leaving the top bare or maybe a topping of halved nuts and a glaze. It’s your choice but the recipe is for the cake only. Nutrients – lots of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, protein from the eggs, antioxidants – and many more. Not all bad then!

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  • 1 70g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 heaped tsp mixed spice
  • 1 /2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 /2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 /4 tsp ground cloves
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 600g dried mixed fruit (a mixture of three or four of these: raisins/sultanas/currants/chopped dates/chopped dried apricots)
  • 1 00g chopped dried or glace cherries (or add more of the other fruits)
  • 50g chopped almonds or almond flakes/slivers
  • 1 00g chopped mixed peel
  • Rind and juice of 1 /2 large lemon
  • 1 70g unsalted butter
  • 1 25g unrefined brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tblsp brandy (or orange juice)


Butter a 7” square or 8” round cake tin and line with buttered greaseproof paper. Tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside to come 2-3cms above the rim and place tin on a baking tray.

  1. Sift all dry ingredients together into a bowl and stir in the fruit and chopped almonds.
  2. In another bowl, cream butter, sugar, lemon rind until fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time with a spoonful of the flour mixture – this prevents curdling.
  4. Mix dry and wet ingredients thoroughly and add the lemon juice and brandy.
  5. Spoon into prepared tin, level the top.
  6. Bake on a low shelf for 3 hours at 1 50 degrees. Cover the top with foil for the last hour.
  7. Test with a skewer – if still a little sticky, give it another 20 minutes.
  8. Leave to cool slightly before turning out. Leave the greaseproof on and overwrap with foil.

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