Brown baked cake packed with almost black fruit - on wire cooling rack with grey background

Traditional English Christmas Cake Recipe

This Traditional English Christmas Cake Recipe is packed with fruit and oozing with alcohol.  It is my own take on traditional recipes and you can make changes according to your taste.  If you would like to leave out the booze, then use milk instead.

I’ll be writing this Christmas article in three pieces:  (1) the recipe;  (2) covering with marzipan, or almond paste, and icing;  (3) decoration.  First of all, here is the recipe:

Traditional English Christmas Cake Recipe


All the ingredients for Christmas Cake - on white worktop with grey background



  • Plain white flour (140 grams)
  • Plain wholemeal flour (135 grams)
  • Mixed spice (1 level teaspoon)
  • Butter, unsalted (225 grams)
  • Soft brown sugar (150 grams)
  • Eggs, large (4)
  • Black treacle (1 tablespoon)
  • Vanilla essence (½ teaspoon)
  • Baking powder (¼ teaspoon)
  • Glacé cherries (100 grams)
  • Currants (250 grams)
  • Sultanas (260 grams)
  • Raisins (260 grams)
  • Almonds, peeled and chopped (50 grams)
  • Brandy, or milk (2 tablespoons)

1:  Put the flours, mixed spice and baking powder into a bowl and put to one side.

2:  Cream together the butter and sugar until soft and light.

3:  Mix together, in a jug, the eggs, black treacle and vanilla essence.

4 eggs, treacle and vanilla essence in glass measuring jug on white background


Yellow eggy mixture being poured into cake mixture in mixing bowl - and electric mixer on white background.

4:  Beat the eggy mixture, a little at a time, into the creamed butter and sugar.

5:  When most of the egg has been poured into the mixture, add a little of the flour and then include the remainder of the egg.

6:  Prepare the cherries by rinsing in warm water to remove the sugar from them.  Then dry well and cut into quarters.

7:  Put all the dry ingredients into another bowl (cherries, currants, sultanas, raisins, chopped almonds) and pour in the brandy.  Leave for a while for the brandy to become well absorbed by the fruit.

8:  Add a little flour to the fruit, so that it’s coated.

9:  Fold, using a metal spoon, the remaining flour into the creamy egg and butter mix.

10:  In a very large mixing bowl, tip in the creamy mixture and add the fruit.

Moist cake mixture, light brown with dark fruit, in mixing bowl on pale grey background


11:  Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm (8 inch) loose bottom, deep, cake tin.

12:  Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F, Gas Mark 2).

13:  Pour the mixture into the cake tin.

Light brown cake mixture with lots of dark fruit, in grey metal cake tin on pale grey background

14:  On a shelf placed just below the centre of the oven, put in the cake and bake for 1½ hours.

15:  Lower the heat to 140°C (275°F, Gas Mark 1) and bake for a further 2½ hours.

16:  Test with a skewer and, if it comes out clean, remove cake from the oven.

17:  Leave cake in the tin to cool for at least ½ hour, and then remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

18:  Wrap well with kitchen foil to store in a cake tin.



19:  Every day, use skewer to make holes in the cake and drizzle with stout.  I’ve used Russian Stout to maximise the alcoholic kick!

Brown bottle, cream label with brown writing in English and Russian - black base, grey background

If you fancy being indulgent with a healthy edge, try my recent recipe Chunky Chocolate Coconut Cake; it’s especially good served warm.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *