How to Make an Easy Classic Fruitcake for Christmas

Updated on November 22, 2019
Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods and drink a glass of wine. And not wash up.

Celebrate with something delicious.
Celebrate with something delicious. | Source

A Traditional Recipe for the Holidays

I always used to bake a Christmas cake every year until recently, when I was too busy and opted out. However, last year, I decided to embark on a baking spree and dusted off my old Christmas recipes. To my delight, I found this lovely classic recipe. It was a real treat, and I'll gladly make it for future Christmases to come.

You'll be pleased to know that the recipe I'm going to share with you happens to be quite an easy one, and best of all, you don't have to make it months beforehand. Three or four weeks will do just fine; but of course, if you like to be very organised, a few months beforehand is fine, too. The result is a delicious, moist cake with a subtle boozy flavor (if you use brandy).

How to Make a Good Old-Fashioned Fruitcake

In this article, you'll find:

  1. Ingredients and instructions for this recipe
  2. Helpful tips to keep in mind as you bake
  3. Suggestions for how to decorate your cake, with inspiration photos

Try this Christmas cake recipe to get these results.
Try this Christmas cake recipe to get these results. | Source

Bake and Rate

2.8 stars from 16 ratings of Classic Christmas Cake
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 3 hours
Ready in: 3 hours 30 min
Yields: Serves 10 to 12

A note about time: Remember, the timing listed above does not include the overnight soaking of some ingredients, nor the post-baking preparation.


  • 300 grams sultanas
  • 300 grams raisins
  • 50 grams dates, finely chopped
  • 100 grams mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 100 grams glace cherries, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 300 grams plain flour, sieved
  • 1 lemon, grated zest and juice
  • 1 orange, grated zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 200 grams soft golden sugar
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 4 medium free range eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Brandy


  1. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/Gas 1. Grease a 20 cm square or 23 cm round tin with a little sunflower oil and line it with three layers of baking parchment.
  2. Mix the dried fruit, candied peel and cherries in a large, deep-bottomed bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of brandy. Cover and soak overnight.
  3. Add the flour, spices, lemon and orange zest and juice to your soaked fruit. Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the golden syrup and beaten eggs. Add this mixture to the flour and fruit mixture. Combine thoroughly. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk and add this to the mix too.
  5. Lastly, add the brandy a little at a time, tasting as you go. The mixture should have a soft dropping consistency similar to that of a cupcake mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. It should reach about two-thirds of the way up the tin.
  7. Dip a dessert spoon in warm water and swirl it around the top of the cake mixture, pressing the middle down just slightly. Cover the top with a sheet of parchment paper and put the cake in the preheated oven.
  8. Bake for three hours, then test the cake by inserting a metal skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the mix is cooked. If not, allow another 15 minutes and test again. The cake might need a little longer depending on your oven and your tin.
  9. Once the mix is cooked, take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  10. Double-wrap the cake in grease-proof paper and then again in tin foil. Store in a cool, dry place till Christmas.
  11. Feed your cake on a weekly basis before Christmas. Using a thin skewer, make holes in the top and pour over teaspoons of brandy to soak in the cake. Use an egg-wash brush to brush any excess over the cake.
  12. Glaze and marzipan your Christmas cake a week before you want to ice it. Ice your cake a day or two before Christmas. I leave mine till the day before Christmas Eve, as I don't like the royal icing to harden.
Up close: deliciously moist and subtly boozy. Indulge! It's Christmas.
Up close: deliciously moist and subtly boozy. Indulge! It's Christmas. | Source

Cook's Tips

Be an early bird and have a stress-free Christmas; cook and bake your goodies in advance. Here are some other helpful suggestions:

Adjust the Baking Time As Needed

It's a good idea to get familiar with your oven and your baking tin when it comes to baking cakes, as the cooking time can differ depending on both. If you are not sure, check your cake mixture a little earlier than the recommended baking time.

Adjust the Ingredients to Your Liking

There is no hard rule about spices and fruits when it comes to baking a Christmas cake; if you like a little more or a little less of certain ingredients, go for it. I personally don't care too much for cherries, hence the smaller amount.

Remember to Feed Your Cake Some Brandy (or Juice)

Feeding your cake a little brandy on a weekly basis leading up to Christmas will keep your cake moist, and the alcohol flavor will be present but suitably subtle. If you don't care for alcohol whatsoever, you can substitute orange juice for the brandy but only do this up to six weeks before Christmas.

No Need to Wait Till the Holidays

By all means, don't keep this fruitcake recipe just for Christmas; omit the marzipan and royal icing and you'll have a delicious fruitcake recipe for any time of the year. Best of luck with all your favorite festive recipes.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A delicious fruit Christmas cake.Marzipan your cake a week before you want to ice it.Use an apricot glaze to help your marzipan stick.Ice your Christmas cake a couple of days before Christmas.Feed your Christmas cake to keep it moist.Display your cake.Decorate your cake.
A delicious fruit Christmas cake.
A delicious fruit Christmas cake. | Source
Marzipan your cake a week before you want to ice it.
Marzipan your cake a week before you want to ice it. | Source
Use an apricot glaze to help your marzipan stick.
Use an apricot glaze to help your marzipan stick. | Source
Ice your Christmas cake a couple of days before Christmas.
Ice your Christmas cake a couple of days before Christmas. | Source
Feed your Christmas cake to keep it moist.
Feed your Christmas cake to keep it moist. | Source
Display your cake.
Display your cake. | Source
Decorate your cake.
Decorate your cake. | Source

Decorating Your Cake

When it comes to decorating my Christmas cake, I like to keep it simple. Last year, I used a red cake wrapper to wrap around the cake and displayed it on a red plate. I was very pleased with the result, and though it was simple, it looked very good.

Whatever you fancy, go for it. After all, it's your cake. Well done, and have a merry Christmas!

Do You Make Your Own Christmas Cake?

See results

© 2012 Gabriel Wilson


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    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      13 months ago from Madeira, Portugal

      And feed the cake too :) with brandy :)

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Great! I will try it

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      19 months ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Wow that's really cool that you are making your sons wedding cake. I made my daughters Christening cake and that was a challenge. Maybe you could do a hub on it. Well done you :)

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 

      19 months ago from SE Kent, England

      Looks delicious! I also have my long fav recipe and will be using it for the third time to make my third sons' wedding cake, but x4!

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      It's the same for me living in Madeira, hence the recipe. I've just made a really big one (double the recipe) for my daughters Christening. I sure hope it comes out as good. Happy baking :)

    • lemonkerdz profile image


      7 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      thanks for this great looking recipe. i happen to love, and i mean love fruit cake with marzipan and icing, but living in Peru, it just is not available. so i have to make it myself. will be trying this recipe. thanks so much

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      You can't beat a nice slice of fruit cake. I hope you approve and tanx for reading :)

    • 2patricias profile image


      7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This looks good. I think that the dates (as well as the alcohol) will make it nice and moist.

      I am adding this to my Recipe Index for HubPages (under cake,fruit).

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi Trish, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Tanx for reading :)

    • Trish303 profile image


      7 years ago from Springfield, MO

      This looks so good, and I love this kind of fruit cake. Looking forward to trying it.


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