Last Minute Traditional English Rich Fruit Christmas Cake

Christmas just isn't Christmas in the UK without a Rich Fruit Christmas Cake. If you have forgotten to make your traditional rich fruit Christmas cake, don't worry because I have a easy to follow recipe that can save your blushes (or having to pay an extortionate price for a cake from a shop or bakery)



For a 3 1/2 pound cake:

  • 8 oz. butter or solid vegetable margarine
  • 8 oz. sugar (muscavado or Demerara is best, but white sugar will suffice in a pinch!)
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 8 oz. plain flour (I use whole wheat but white is fine. Do not use self-raising.)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. dried mixed fruits; raisins, currants, dried plums, sultanas
  • 2 oz. mixed candied citrus peel
  • 1 tsp. each ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, or 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 small orange
  • 1 unpeeled apple, coarsely grated
  • 1 small wineglass of rum or whiskey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Place all dried fruits (including candied peel), spice, lemon zest, juice, and the whiskey or rum into a large ceramic bowl. Mix well and leave to stand for at least half an hour, up to 3 hours if you have time.


After you have soaked the fruit for as long as you can, put the margarine or butter into a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat, add the soaked fruit spice mixture and the sugar. Heat the mixture, stirring all the time until the margarine and sugar have melted. Once the mixture begins to bubble, turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes then turn off the heat.

After 10 minutes, stir in the grated apple then pour the mixture into the ceramic bowl. Put in a cool place for 20-30 minutes.

Once the mixture is warm rather than hot, add the eggs one at a time, do not beat them - stir them in slowly as you do not want to add too much air to the cake mixture or it will rise and then crack during cooking.

Finally stir in the flour a little at a time then put into a 6 3/4 inch round cake tin or a large loaf tin and bake for around 3 hours at 300 degrees F /150 degrees C for the round cake, 2 1/2 if using the loaf tin.


Turn out onto a wire tray and allow to cool, then store in a tin or wrap in tinfoil. If you have time, the cake can be further improved by painting the base and sides with rum or whiskey. This cake will keep and improve for up to 2 weeks after baking

By ayesha christmas

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 146 Posts
December 29, 20100 found this helpful

This is our kind of fruitcake, and come next October, I'll be making this one in addition to my old standby. The magic words in your recipe are "traditional and English". No one has ever come up with better fruitcakes than the English in my humble opinion. They've been making them since the late 1700's, and know all the tricks for turning them into wonderful treats.


Most commercial fruitcakes are made to serve as "doorstops" according to my hubby. LOL

Thank you for sharing.


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