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Rich Fruit Christmas Cake

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This dark rich, moist fruit Christmas cake can be prepared in advance. Feed it regularly with Brandy, Rum or Whisky and it will mature over time. It’s a great Christmas cake recipe and is the perfect size for a single-tier wedding cake.

Rich Fruit Christmas CakeCake

This recipe will make an 8″ round cake. You can use smaller sized round cake tins such as 6 inch or 4 inch. Or a combination of both, if you want to make small Christmas cakes. The baking times will, of course, be different. See my Notes and Tips below, for baking times using other sized cake tins.

This recipe was first published on November 2012 and has since been updated in October 2019 with new photos and additional information.

Mixed dried fruit in a blue bowl

How to make a rich fruit cake for Christmas

In a large bowl, mix together the mixed dried fruits, glace cherries, and orange zest. Pour over the brandy and orange juice and mix well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Stirring occasionally. Allowing all the fruits to soak up the brandy and orange juice.

Cake tin lined with paper.
The next day

Preheat the oven to 170c deg (Fan assisted) Grease and line 1 x 8 inch/20cm round loose bottom deep-sided cake tin with baking parchment. Line the outside of the tin with a folded sheet of brown paper. Tied with string. This will help prevent the edges of the cake from baking too dry and possibly burning.

In a large separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and mixed spice or Speculaas. Using your fingertips rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb consistency.

Add the sugar and ground almonds. Using your hands or a wooden spoon. Mix until well combined. Break up any remaining clumps of sugar and butter.

Kenwood cake mixer and cake mix

Add the soaked fruit, eggs, and treacle and gently mix together until everything is well combined. This part can be done a lot easier when using a good electric mixer with a large bowl. Do not over mix.

Cake batter in a tin

Pour the batter into the prepared 8-inch deep-sided cake tin making sure the top is level and smooth. Bake in the oven for 1hr 20mins. Then turn the temperature down to 160 Fan and bake for a further 55 – 60 mins or until the cake is fully baked. Testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean. At this point, to help prevent the top of the cake from over baking, you can place a sheet of baking parchment across the top and over the cake.

If the skewer still has uncooked mixture left on it, continue baking at the same temperature. Testing again every 10 mins until the skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool completely.

Take out of the tin and leave the inner baking parchment lining on the cake. Feed the cake with a couple of tablespoons of Brandy. Wrap in more baking parchment. With a further wrap of foil.

Feed with Brandy, Rum or Whisky every other day for a few weeks. Leave wrapped and in an airtight container until required.

Now that you’ve made your cake, you may want to think about how to decorate it. Especially for the festive season. So if marzipan and fondant are to your liking, take a look at my post on How to decorate your cakes this Christmas.

Notes and tips.

How long should you soak the fruit for a Christmas Cake?

For this recipe, I soaked the dried fruit in fruit juice and brandy for a minimum of 6 hours. This allowed all the liquid to soak into the fruit, leaving no residual liquid behind. You can also soak the fruit overnight if you are making the cake early the following morning.

How to wrap and store a rich fruit Christmas cake

When the cake is completely cooled, double wrap in greaseproof paper/baking parchment, and further wrap in foil. Store in an airtight container to mature. A rich fruit cake like this will keep for several months when wrapped and stored correctly.

How to feed a Christmas fruit cake

This depends on how rich a flavour and how mature you want your cake to be and how long you plan to make it in advance. Feeding a rich fruit Chrismas cake with brandy, rum or whisky can be repeated at regular weekly/monthly intervals. Remember to rewrap it correctly between each feeding time.

What else can I use to soak the fruit and feed a rich fruit cake?

For a non-alcoholic fruit cake, soak the fruit in orange or apple juice rather than alcohol. I’m a little sceptical about feeding a fruit cake with fruit juice and keeping it for any length of time. As I’m sure at some point the fruit juice will begin to go off and spoil the cake. Especially if you are keeping it for any length of time. Far better to soak the fruit in the fruit juice before baking. This is just my opinion.

A note on oven times.

All ovens are different. Therefore oven timings in recipes are a guide. Likewise, if you use a different sized cake tin to the one suggested in any recipe, this will also affect the oven timings. An oven thermometer is a great investment and well worth buying.

Baking tins for different sized cakes.

This recipe makes 1 x 8 inch round cake. But it will also make cakes using either of the following sized deep sided cake tins;

  • 2 x 6 inch round cakes

or

  • 1 x 6inch round cake and 2 x 4 inch round cakes

Cooking times for small Christmas cakes.

These timings are for a conventional oven and are meant to be a guide only. Towards the end of the baking time, do the skewer test. If it comes out clean, it’s baked. If not bake longer testing again at 10 mins intervals.

  • 6 inch round tin = 1 hr at 160c then approx 40 mins at 120c
  • 4 inch round tin = 1 hr 160c then approx 20 mins at 120c

Light Fruit cake recipes

This Yorkshire Tea Loaf recipe makes a great alternative as a non-alcoholic fruit cake. The mixed dried fruit is soaked overnight in freshly brewed tea and will last a couple of weeks when stored correctly. It’s wonderfully moist too.

If you love coffee, you may like to try this Mixed Fruit and Coffee Spelt Loaf Another lovely moist light fruit cake with a nutty taste from the spelt flour. The fruit is soaked overnight in freshly brewed coffee. 

Another recipe that you may like is this Light Fruit Cake decorated with an Apricot Glaze and Glacé cherries

Yorkshire Tea Loaf
A delicious moist, fruited tea loaf recipe. The fruit is soaked overnight in Yorkshire tea. Often served on its own or with Wensleydale cheese. A perfect addition as part of an Afternoon Tea menu. It may be a Yorkshire thing, which is where I live, but cheese goes really well with fruit cake.
Check out this recipe
Yorkshire Tea loaf on a plate with a Yorkshire Tea, tea caddy.
Mixed fruit and Coffee Spelt Loaf
The dried fruits in this Mixed Fruit and Coffee Spelt Loaf, are soaked overnight in freshly brewed ground coffee. The strength of the coffee flavour depends on the strength of your brew.
Check out this recipe
Cake and Coffee
Light Fruit Cake decorated with an Apricot Glaze and Glacé cherries
This is a Light Fruit cake is a lovely alternative to the Rich Fruit Christmas cake that is often eaten during the Festive Season. The mixed dried fruit is soaked overnight with the zest and juice of oranges and lemons. Which plumps up the fruits giving the cake a succulent zingy taste.
Check out this recipe
Light Fruit Cake

 

Rich Fruit Christmas CakeCake

Rich Fruit Christmas Cake

This dark rich moist fruit cake can be prepared in advance. Feed it regularly with Brandy, Rum or Whisky and it will mature over time. It's a great Christmas cake recipe is the perfect size for a single tier wedding cake.
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Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Christmas cake, Fruit Cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Soaking the fruit for a minimum time: 6 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 588kcal
Author: Lynn Hill

Ingredients

  • 350 g Currants
  • 225 g Sultanas
  • 225 g Raisins
  • 50 g Glace Cherries
  • . Or you can use 850g (total weight) Mixed Dried Fruit. When buying pre packed mixed dried fruit.
  • Grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 4 tablespoons Brandy or rum/Whiskey
  • Juice of 1 large orange. Approx. 4 – 5 tablespoons.
  • 285 g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Mixed Spice or Speculaas spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 225 g Butter – fridge cold and cut into ½ cubes
  • 75 g Ground Almonds
  • 225 g Dark soft Brown sugar
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of Black Treacle.

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix together the dried fruits, glace cherries, and orange zest. Pour over the Brandy and orange juice and mix well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Stirring occasionally. Allowing all the fruits to soak up the brandy and orange juice.
  • THE NEXT DAY
  • Preheat the oven to 170c deg Fan assisted oven
  • Grease and line 1 x 8 inch/20cm round deep-sided loose bottom cake tin with baking parchment. Line the outside of the tin with a folded sheet of brown paper. Tied with string. This will help prevent the edges of the cake from baking too dry and possibly burning.
  • In a large separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and mixed spice. Using your finger tips rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb consistency.
  • Add the sugar and ground almonds. Using your hands or a wooden spoon. Mix until well combined. Break up any remaining clumps of sugar and butter.
  • Add the soaked fruit, eggs and treacle and gently mix together until everything is well combined. This part can be done a lot easier and quicker when using a good electric mixer with a large bowl.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin making sure the top is level and smooth. Bake in the oven for 1hr 20mins. Then turn the temperature down to 160c Fan and bake for a further 55 – 60 mins or until the cake is fully baked. Testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean.
    To help prevent the top of the cake from over baking, you can place a sheet of baking parchment across the top and over the cake.
  • If the skewer still has uncooked mixture left on it, continue baking at the same temperature. Testing again every 10 mins until the skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave in the tin to cool completely.
  • Take out of the tin and leave the inner lining on the cake. Feed the cake with a couple of tablespoons of Brandy.
  • Wrap in more baking parchment and feed every other day for a few weeks. Leave wrapped and in an airtight container until required.

Notes

Notes and tips.

How long should you soak the fruit for a Christmas Cake?

For this recipe, I soaked the dried fruit in fruit juice and brandy for a minimum of 6 hours. This allowed all the liquid to soak into the fruit, leaving no residual liquid behind. You can also soak the fruit overnight if you are making the cake early the following morning.

How to wrap and store a rich fruit cake

When the cake is completely cooled, double wrap in greaseproof paper/baking parchment, and further wrap in foil. Store in an airtight container to mature. A rich fruit cake like this will keep for several months when wrapped and stored correctly.

How to feed a Christmas fruit cake

This depends on how rich a flavour and how mature you want your cake to be and how long you plan to make it in advance. Feeding a rich fruit Chrismas cake with brandy, rum or whisky can be repeated at regular weekly/monthly intervals. Remember to rewrap it correctly between each feeding time.

What else can I use to soak the fruit and feed a rich fruit cake?

For a non-alcoholic fruit cake, soak the fruit in orange or apple juice rather than alcohol. I'm a little sceptical about feeding a fruit cake with fruit juice and keeping it for any length of time. As I'm sure at some point the fruit juice will begin to go off and spoil the cake. Especially if you are keeping it for any length of time. Far better to soak the fruit before baking. This is just my opinion.

A note on oven times.

All ovens are different. Therefore oven timings in recipes are a guide. Likewise, if you use a different sized cake tin to the one suggested in any recipe, this will also affect the oven timings. An oven thermometer is a great investment and well worth buying.

Baking tins for different sized cakes.

This recipe makes 1 x 8 inch round cake. But it will also make cakes using either of the following sized deep sided cake tins;
  • 2 x 6 inch round cakes
or
  • 1 x 6inch round cake and 2 x 4 inch round cakes
Cooking times for small Christmas cakes.
These timings are for a conventional oven and are meant to be a guide only.
Towards the end of the baking time, do the skewer test. If it comes out clean, it’s baked. If not bake longer testing again at 10 mins intervals.
6 inch round tin = 1 hr at 160c then approx 40 mins at 120c
4 inch round tin = 1 hr 160c then approx 20 mins at 120c

 

.

Nutrition

Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 688mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 609IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how you got on. Tag me on Instagram at @clandestinecake and include hashtag #clandestinecake

2 Comments

  1. A curiosity question? This looks like it will be a lovely Christmas cake but can you tell me please what effect the rubbing in of the butter will have as opposed to the creaming method? Thanks.

    • That’s a good question. TBH I’m not sure of the advantage. It was a very old recipe, on a piece of paper, that I found some years ago. With no info about the advantages of the rubbing in method. So I thought I would give it a try to see how it works. The light fruit cake recipe has the option to beat the butter and sugar together. I’m pretty sure using the creaming method would work with this recipe too.

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