I posted this recipe last year, but because we just cut into one of the cakes today, and it was so moist and sweet and rich and damn delicious, I decided to post the recipe again!

I made this cake a few months before Christmas. My mum says fruit cakes are always better after a year. I guess that depends on a number of factors, but this cake was very tasty after 14 months or so.

Christmas Cake


1kg mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup brandy
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1 cup glacé cherries* (optional)
250g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
5-6 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup SRF
1 tsp mixed spice**
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp instant coffee***
1/3 cup hot water

* you can chop cherries or leave them whole
** also add 1 tsp or cinnamon and nutmeg if you like spice
*** or make a shot of espresso and mix cocoa into it, omitting the hot water


~ mix brandy in with dried fruit. Get all members to stir the mixture for good luck (a tradition from my family) and leave in a cool spot to soak for a week, stirring every day
~ preheat oven to 130 degrees
~ beat butter and sugar together
~ add eggs and beat well
~ meanwhile, add almonds and cherries (if using) to the fruit mixture and get a child or somebody to mix them in well
~ add butter mixture to fruit mixture – you need a big bowl for this cake mixture – and mix well
~ mix coffee and cocoa with the hot water and add it to the fruit mixture, stirring well
~ add sifted dry ingredients to the fruit mixture and mix well
~ spread cake into a large (eg 24cm) round or square baking dish that is greased well and lined with several (eg 3-4) layers of baking paper
~ bake for 3 hours
~ leave overnight to cool in the pan
~ transfer onto cooling tray and leave to cool completely before wrapping it in glad wrap and foil or placing in an airtight container and leaving to age until Christmas – a couple of months is best but mine will be ageing for 6 weeks before Christmas
~ every now and then, brush the cake with a bit of brandy

Other options:
~ place a neat design of almonds or Brazil nuts atop the cake before baking
~ ice the cake with marzipan and hard icing for a traditional cake
~ decorate the cake top with glacé fruit before baking
~ omit coffee and cocoa
~ for a little gift, bake small individual cakes in tiny pans, or even muffin tins – they will not need long to bake