Fruit Cake Recipes

The thought of baking your own Christmas fruitcake can seem quite daunting if you have never done it before because there seems to be so much mystery and hard work surrounding it.

In theory it should be baked in October then “fed” with a little rum or brandy once a week. This allows the deep flavours to mature and intensify. In practice, mine is usually made a couple of days before Christmas and decorated as soon as it’s cooled!

What I’m trying to say is don’t get hung up on the time thing. Even if it’s baked on a Monday, decorated on a Tuesday, and eaten on Wednesday it will still taste great and be much appreciated..

You can make a fruitcake either by hand or by using a food mixer. Just make sure the butter is nice and soft before you start especially if you’re hand mixing.

Traditional Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

I’ve served this recipe up at Christmas, birthdays, christenings, retirements – all sorts of celebrations. It will fill your home with a wonderful Christmas aroma as it cooks.

If you are using a fan oven that allows you to cook with the fan off, then do so as the fan can dry the cake slightly.

If you cannot turn your fan off – don’t panic – your cake will still be perfectly edible. Cook it on a lower heat (130ºC) and drizzle the cake with a little alcohol before decorating it.

If your cake cracks whilst cooking – don’t panic – you will be covering it anyway and any unsightly cracked, scorched or burnt areas can be cut away before the cake is decorated.

Round tin

15cm (6in)

18cm (7in)

20cm (8in)

23cm (9in)

25cm (10in)

28cm (11in)

30cm (12in)

Square tin

15cm (6in)

18cm (7in)

20cm (8in)

23cm (9in)

25cm (10in)

28cm (11in)

30cm
(12in)

Currants

150g (5oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (7oz)

350g (12oz)

450g (1lb)

600g (1lb 4oz)

700g (1lb 8oz)

Raisins

150g (5oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (7oz)

350g (12oz)

450g (1lb)

600g (1lb 4oz)

700g (1lb 8oz)

Sultanas(Golden Raisins)

150g (5oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (7oz)

350g (12oz)

450g (1lb)

600g (1lb 4oz)

700g (1lb 8oz)

Mixed peel

30g (1oz)

30g (1oz)

45g (1 1/2oz)

60g (2oz)

90g (3oz)

120g (4oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

Glace Cherries (halved)

60g (2oz)

60g (2oz)

75g (2 1/2oz)

90g (3oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (7oz)

225g (8oz)

Brandy

60ml (4tbsp)

60ml (4tbsp)

90ml (6tbsp)

100ml (4floz)

100ml (4floz)

100ml (4floz)

150ml (5floz)

150ml (5fl.oz)

Butter

150g (5oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (7oz)

350g (12oz)

450g (1lb)

600g (1lb 4oz)

700g (1lb 8oz)

Soft dark brown sugar

150g (5oz)

150g (5oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (7oz)

350g (12oz)

450g (1lb)

600g (1lb 4oz)

700g (1lb 8oz)

Medium eggs

3

3

4

6

8

10

12

15

Plain flour (All purpose flour)

175g (6oz)

175g (6oz)

200g (8oz)

230g (8oz)

450g
(1lb)

500g (1lb 2oz)

630g (1lb 6oz)

750g (1lb 10oz)

Mixed Spice (Apple pie spice)

1 tsp

1tsp

2 tsp

3tsp

10g (1/3oz)

15g (1/2oz)

20g (2/3oz)

30g (1oz)

Cinnamon

1/2 tsp

1/2 tsp

1/2 tsp

1tsp

1 1/2 tsp

2tsp

3tsp

20g (3/4oz)

Lemon (zest only)

1/2

1/2

1/2

1

2

2

3

3

Ground almonds

20g (2/3oz)

20g (2/3oz)

30g (1oz)

45g (1 1/2oz)

60g (2oz)

100g (3 1/2oz)

120g (4oz)

175g (6oz)

Flaked (Slivered) almonds

20g (2/3oz)

20g (2/3oz)

30g (1oz)

45g (1 1/2oz)

60g (2oz)

100g (3 1/2oz)

120g (4oz)

175g (6oz)

Baking time (approx)

1hr 30 mins

1hr 30 mins

1hr 45 mins

2hrs

2 1/2 hrs

3hrs

3hrs

3 1/2hrs

 

tsp = teaspoon (not tablespoon!)
tbsp = tablespoon

Making a fruitcake

The method for making a fruitcake is exactly the same whether you are using a food mixer or mixing by hand. If you are making a very big cake you might find that the mixing bowl on your mixer is not big enough. In that case, either make up the mixture in two batches and stir together in a large bowl (I have a plastic washing up bowl kept especially for this purpose.) Or mix the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, spices together in your mixing bowl then transfer to the larger bowl and stir the rest in by hand.

  1. Put all the dried fruit in a bowl with the brandy. Place a lid or plate over the top and allow to soak overnight or for at least four hours, stirring occasionally. After that time, the fruit will have soaked up the liquid and be plump and glistening.
  2. Line your tin while the fruit is soaking (see “Lining a Baking Tin section for instructions if you’re unsure how to do this)
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 150º C /300º F / Gas mark 2. (Temperatures and timings might vary for a fan oven – usually the advice is to drop the temperature by 20º C but read your manufacturer’s guidebook for details)
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until they look creamy and the butter is slightly lighter in colour. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Sift the flour and spices into a separate bowl then tip and slowly fold it into the mixture using a metal spoon – I find my large metal cooking spoon ideal for this. Be gentle with it. If you stir too hard at this stage you will beat the air out and your cake will not rise as well as it should. If it still looks a bit runny and gooey, stir in a little more flour.
  6. Stir the lemon zest and almonds into the soaked fruits then tip the whole lot into the cake mixture and slowly stir in. Again use a metal spoon or even your hand – I’m assuming you washed it before you started cooking!
  7. Traditionally at this point if you’re making this for Christmas, you should stir the mixture, close your eyes and make a wish.
    (stirring mixture shot).
  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and gently smooth the surface.
  9. If you have not already done so cut out a greaseproof or baking paper disk. Cut a small hole out of the centre and place it on top of the cake mixture. This is not absolutely vital but I find that it stops the top from browning too quickly. The small hole allows steam to escape.
    (placing disc on top of cake mixture shot).
  10. Place the cake in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake. Remove the paper off the top about 15 mins before it’s due to be done. Lightly prod the top of the cake if it feels very soft and you can still hear a lot of bubbling it is not cooked. If it looks done and feels firm to the touch and is silent, insert a skewer or sharp knife. If it comes out clean – the cake is cooked. If it’s not, give it another 15 minutes cooking and test again.
  11. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

Fruitcake variations

If you leaf through recipe books or look on the internet you’ll find there are thousands of different fruitcake recipes.

Here are just a few.

Tropical Fruitcake

This is recipe produces a light yet spicy fruitcake. Its secret ingredient is a tin of crushed pineapple. The recipe was given to me by my mother in law Elyane. She suggests that you soak the dried fruit in a little rum for an hour or so before baking and drizzle a little extra rum over the top once it’s cooked.

Ingredients

  • 200g (7oz) self-raising flour (self rising flour)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice (apple pie spice)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 225g (8oz) crushed tinned pineapple (leave it to drain in a sieve for at least an hour if possible)
  • 150g (5oz) butter
  • 125g (4 1/2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 30ml (2tbsp) milk
  • 75g (2 1/2 oz) halved glace cherries
  • 120g (4oz) sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 120g (4oz) raisins
  • 120g (4oz) currants

Method

  1. Sift the flour and spices together into a bowl and place to one side.
  2. If you have not already done so, drain the pineapple in a sieve for as long as possible.
  3. Line a 20cm (8in) round cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 170 º C / 325 º F / Gas mark 3.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together then beat in the eggs.
  5. Fold in the milk and flour.
  6. Roll the halved cherries in a little flour and gently stir these and the rest of the fruit including the pineapple into the mixture.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.

Boiled Fruit cake

This is another recipe from my mother in law’s cupboard. It produces a light yet tasty fruitcake and is also quite quick to put together.

I’ve included it because it’s an interesting technique. You put the cake together in a saucepan and instead of scales you need a measuring jug!

If you’re not going to decorate this cake, simply sprinkle a little Demerara sugar over the top of the mixture before it’s baked to give it a nice crunchy topping.

Ingredients

  • 250ml (8floz / 1 cup) Demerara sugar
  • 90g (3oz) butter
  • 250ml (8floz / 1 cup water
  • 500ml (16floz / 2 cups) sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 500ml (16floz / 2 cups) Self raising flour (self rising flour)
  • 5ml (1tsp) bicarbonate of soda
  • 5ml (1tsp) mixed spice (apple pie spice)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 medium egg beaten.

Method

  1. Line a 20cm (8in) round cake tin.
  2. Put the sugar, butter, water and sultanas into a saucepan.
  3. Bring it to the boil and simmer for five minutes.
  4. Put your oven on so it can heat up. 160 º C / 315 º F / Gas mark 3.
  5. After the five minutes, remove the saucepan from heat and allow to cool for five minutes.
  6. Tip the rest of the ingredients into the saucepan and mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle with a little extra Demerara sugar if desired.
  8. Cook for approximately 50 minutes to an hour.
  9. Allow to cool before turning out of tin.

Diabetic Fruitcake

Looking on the internet, there are many different fruitcake recipes for diabetics. This one appealed to me because it contains grated carrot and I felt it meant the cake had a link to the Christmas tradition of leaving a carrot out for Rudolph.

Re-reading the above I realise I am officially bonkers.

The recipe is from “The Diabetics Cookbook” by Roberta Longstaff and Jim Mann.

The recipe is for a 20cm (8in) round or an 18cm (7in) square cake

Ingredients

  • 250g (8oz / 2 cups) wholewheat flour
  • 10g (1/4oz / 2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 80g (2 1/2oz / 1/3cup) low fat margarine
  • 150g (5oz / 1 cup) raisins
  • 50g (2oz / 1/2 cup) flaked or chopped almonds
  • 50g (2oz / 1/2 cup) hazelnuts
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 425g (14oz / 1 3/4 cups) grated carrot
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice (apple pie spice)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g (4oz / 1/2 cup) granulated sweetener
  • 2 medium eggs beaten
  • 30ml (2tbsp) rum or brandy (optional)

Method

  1. Line a 20cm (8in) round cake tin.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 º C / 350 º F / Gas mark 4.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder, spices and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Using your fingertips, rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the fruit, nuts, orange zest and carrot and mix well.
  6. Stir the sweetener into the beaten eggs and beat into the dry ingredients.
  7. Add enough orange juice to make a soft dough.
  8. Place the mixture in the cake tin and bake for 45mins – 1 hour. Test with skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If not cook for another 10 minutes and try again.
  9. Leave to cool in tin before turning out.

Gluten and Dairy Free Christmas cake

This recipe comes from Tessa Lobb’s book “Scary Dairy, Wild Wheat and coping with E’s”.
This recipe is for a 23cm (9in) round or 20cm (8in) square cake

Ingredients

  • 1250g/2lb 12 oz dried fruit (sultanas, currants, cherries and candied peel)
  • 100g/4 oz chopped mixed nuts
  • Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 4 tbsp alcohol (whisky, brandy, rum or liqueur)
  • 225g/8oz dairy-free margarine
  • 225g/8oz light muscovado sugar
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 125g/5oz rice flour
  • 225g/8oz ground almonds
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum (available from health food shops or internet)
  • 1 large cooking apple, grated

For the Almond paste:

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp whisky
  • A drop of pure almond essence
  • 450g/1lb ground almonds
  • 450g/1lb sifted caster sugar
  • 1 egg white and 2 egg yolks both lightly beaten

Method

  1. Place the dried fuit, chopped nuts, juice and half the alcohol in a large mixing bowl and leave for an hour.
  2. Double line the base and sides of your cake tin with greaseproof paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  3. Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well each time.
  4. Combine the spice, xanthan gum, rice flour and ground almonds. Stir gently into the mixture.
  5. Add the grated apple to the fruit and then gently stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Empty into the prepared tin. Using a wet hand, smooth and level the top of the cake.
  7. Lay a sheet of brown (or greaseproof) paper over the top of the collar and bake for an hour. Reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and bake for a further 2 more two and a half hours until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and pour the rest of the alcohol over the hot cake and leave to cool in the tin. When completely cold, remove the cake from the tin, but do not remove the greaseproof paper. Wrap in another layer of greaseproof and then foil until ready to decorate.
  9. To decorate, make the almond paste by beating together the eggs, whisky and essence and then adding it to the sugar and ground almonds to make a paste. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.
  10. Sprinkle the work surface with icing sugar and knead the almond paste lightly until smooth. Roll out to approximately 1cm/half inch thick. Brush the cake with the egg white and cover with the almond paste.
  11. Roll out any leftover paste thinly and cut out festive shapes. Brush with the egg yolk and stick on to the cake and then brush the whole cake with the egg yolk.
  12. Carefully place the cake on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 mins until golden in colour. When the cake has cooled, you can dredge the top with icing sugar if you wish.

Fat Free, Sugar Free Fruit Cake

This will make enough for a rectangular loaf tin. Double the amounts for a 20cm (8in) round cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of mixed dried fruit
  • 1 cup of hot tea
  • 1 cup of wholemeal flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp baking powder

Method

Place dried fruit in a bowl, pour 1 cup of hot tea over and leave overnight.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Add more tea if consistency is not wet enough.
Line or spray the loaf tin with a low fat spray and fill with the cake mixture.
Cook for 45 minutes at 180c/350f

Eggless Fruitcake

Taken from www.recipes4us.co.uk. It makes a 25cm (10in) round cake

Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz Butter
  • 225g/8oz Brown Sugar
  • 225g/8oz Currants
  • 225g/8oz Sultanas
  • 100g/4oz Raisins or Glace Cherries
  • 25g/1oz Almonds
  • 100g/4oz Walnut Halves
  • 150ml/5fl.oz. Warm Water
  • 400g/14oz Plain Flour
  • 1 teasp Salt
  • 1 teasp Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 teasp Grated Nutmeg
  • 1 teasp. Bicarbonate of Soda
  • A little Warm Water

Method

  1. Place the butter, brown sugar, fruits and nuts in a very large saucepan together with 150ml/5fl.oz. of water and bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil gently for 5 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C, 350F Gas Mark 4 and line your tin. Set aside.
  3. Dissolve the Bicarbonate of Soda in a little water then add to the cold fruit mixture. Sift the flour, salt and spices into the cold fruit mixture and mix well.
  4. Turn mixture into the cake tin and bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Cool on a wire rack.

Carol Deacon Cakes

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