Easy Traditional English Christmas Cake Recipe

Easy Traditional English Christmas Cake Recipe by Cherry Menlove

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If you love celebrating Christmas, enjoy some of the more traditional baking aspects and like cake then baking a traditional Christmas cake will be something you'll love doing. 

It also helps that I have the easiest Christmas fruitcake recipe you could hope to make for this Holiday season. 

It's an original recipe that I have baked for years and it hasn't failed me yet. Taking only fifteen minutes to prepare, not including soaking or baking time, you'll have this beauty of a cake in the oven before you know it. So please don't be put off by all the tales of complexity or tradition. This is simply a delicious fruit cake that we 'feed' with alcohol or fruit juice from time to time and then decorate nearer to Christmas. 


Units Scale

  • 1kg dried fruit of your choice (I used 750g mixed fruit and 250g dried cranberries)

  • 200ml Brandy or your choice of alcohol/fruit juice/tea etc

  • Zest and juice of x2 large oranges

  • 250g golden caster sugar

  • 250g melted unsalted butter

  • Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 4 medium eggs

  • 200g plain flour

  • 2 tsp of Pumpkin Spice (you can use AllSpice or a combination of ginger, cinnamon and cloves)

  • 100g Hazelnuts


  • Put 1kg dried fruit into a large bowl and pour 200ml of your chosen alcohol or other liquid over the fruit. 
  • Zest and juice x2 large oranges over the bowl allowing the fruit to sit in the zest, juice and liquid
  • Stir together, mixing well, cover and leave for at least 12 hours. 24 hours is optimal and longer is perfect. 
  • Butter the inside of your cake tin and then line the bottom and sides with parchment / greaseproof paper
  • Put 250g Golden Caster Sugar into a bowl/mixer
  • Add 250g melted unsalted butter 
  • Add teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  •  Beat ingredients together until softened and thoroughly combined
  • Add 4 eggs, one by one, mixing in between
  • Pour the butter/egg mixture into the big bowl of soaked fruit and give it a stir
  • Add to the bowl 200g Plain flour and give it a stir
  • Add 2 tsp of Pumpkin Spice, AllSpice or a combination of ginger, cinnamon and cloves and give it a stir
  • Add 100g of nuts. I chose Hazelnuts for this recipe but people use almonds and walnuts a lot. Give it a stir.
  • Pour all of the wet ingredients into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven at 140c for one hour. 
  • After an hour turn the oven down to 120c and bake for a further two hours
  • Test to see if it's done by inserting a skewer or a sharp knife into the centre. It should come out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack before removing and wrapping it tightly in tin/aluminium foil and placing it into an airtight cake container. 
  • Keep it in a cool dark place, feeding it every two weeks. You can learn how to feed your Christmas cake right here! 


    • I use brandy to soak my fruit. I know that Sherry is used a great deal, as it rum.  

    • You don't have to feed your cake with alcohol if you're not keen on doing so. You can use black tea, orange juice or apple juice. 

    • I opted for orange zest over lemon zest simply because I find it more Christmassy. 

    • The quantities listed below are specifically for an 8-inch / 20cm round cake tin / pan which you'll need to line with parchment paper. You can use a springform pan but always ensure that any cake tin is greased with butter before lining. Using a lined tin also ensures that the outside of the cake is totally smooth and much easier to cover in marzipan and icing when the time comes. 

    • I use soft brown sugar as I prefer it to the darker types of sugar associated with Christmas cakes. It makes for a lighter, softer cake. 

    • Bake your cake low and slow in the centre of the preheated oven with the temperature at 140c for the first hour and 120c for the last two hours ensuring the centre of the cake is cooked. Total cooking time is 3 hours, it's a slow bake, and your house will smell absolutely wonderful at the end.