Wednesday 3 December 2014

Christmas Fruit Cake

Fruit Cake is one of those things that, to me, is synonymous with Christmas. This recipe is so simple to follow and the cakes taste exactly right, and deliciously moist.

This recipe makes two cakes - if you only want one, just half the recipe. Or make the two and give one to a friend or your family. As it's a fruit cake, it will keep in an airtight container for a very long time and is also suitable for freezing. You can make this now and keep in a container until Christmas day.

What makes this Christmas cake fail-proof? The long and low cooking time. This ensures that your cake cooks evenly without drying out. This extra cooking time is very much worth the wait.

You can now buy ready to roll almond icing and royal (white) icing in most supermarkets. It's not very expensive, usually on sale around Christmas, and super easy to use. However, if you want to make your own marzipan and royal icing I have the steps for this listed below too. 

Although the recipe itself - including the marzipan and icing steps - are all straightforward and simple, if you are not buying ready to roll almond and royal icing, the process of making this cake will take a couple of days.

Christmas Cake

Makes 2 Cakes

Adapted from Chelsea Sugar

260 g (9 oz) butter
2 Cups White Sugar
2 kg (4.4 lbs) mixed dried fruit
1 cup brandy (or sherry)
3 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp Golden Syrup or Treacle
4 eggs
3 Cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp orange juice
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange 

1. Heat butter, sugar, fruit, sherry, spice, baking soda and golden syrup in a very large saucepan over a medium heat for about 2 minutes. Stir often. Allow to cool fully (at least 1 hour).

2.  Heat oven to 125°C. Grease 2 x 20 or 30 cm tins, make sure they are nice deep tins. Triple line with baking paper ensuring the paper extends up the sides beyond the tin.

3. Beat eggs and stir through cooled fruit mixture. Sift dry ingredients, fold into fruit mixture with orange juice and zest. 

4. Spoon into tins,  cover the top with baking paper, but make sure it doesn't touch the top of the batter (this'll stop the top from burning). Bake for approx. 3 -3 ½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool completely before moving on to the marzipan or almond icing layer. 


250 g (8.8 oz) Icing (confectioners) sugar
250 g ground almonds
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 Cup apricot jam

1. Mix everything together in a food processor and blend well. Chill for 24 hours,

2.  Melt apricot jam in a saucepan or in a microwave safe bowl. Spread over the cooled cakes. 

3. Roll out the marzipan to about 1/2 cm thick (0.2 inches) and spread over the cake. Allow to dry for about 1 day (up to 1 week).

Royal Icing

2 egg whites
500 g (18 oz) icing sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the sugar and mix until it holds its shape. Add the lemon juice.

2. Brush the dried marzipan layer with water and spread over the icing. Allow to set before decorating or eating!


  1. I have also never attempted a Christmas cake but I think you might have just inspired me to try it this year. It looks great. Honestly, that's a pretty impressive icing job without a spatula!

  2. Your recipe sounds wonderful, Nicole! It sounds much more straight forward than so many others too. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  3. What an absolutely STUNNING cake Nicole! Your desserts are amazing!

  4. G'day! Looks very festive indeed Nic!
    Cheers! Joanne

  5. I love its flavors and looks so festive!

  6. Love your desserts Nicole! And this is no exception! So yummy

  7. I think you did a beautiful job of making this Christmas cake delish and tantalizing at the same time. Nicely done!

  8. Simply stunning! I adore this Christmas cake!!

  9. Can I use something else other than brandy? my parents do not like any kind of alcohol in recipes

    1. Hi Melody, you could try orange juice? But keep in mind that the cake will not last as long as it's the brandy that preserves the cake. I imagine that it will last around a week or so :)