My Grandmother’s Christmas Cake



Prep Time

30 mins + overnight

Cook Time

2 1/2 hrs


  • Ingredients

  • 1.125 kgs (2.5 pounds) of mixed dried fruit (including glace cherries)

  • 3 tablespoons of rum

  • 3 tablespoons of brandy


I’m not sure where this recipe came from originally but I believe it may have been my great-grandmother who was from Cornwall, England.  

Whatever its origin, we make it every Christmas & now it’s a tradition I’m passing onto my children.

  • Cake Mixture

  • 250 grams (8 oz) softened butter

  • 1 cup of brown sugar

  • Grated rind of a lemon

  • 1 tablespoon of golden (or maple) syrup

  • 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade

  • 5 large eggs (room temperature)

  • 2 cups of plain (all purpose) flour

  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

  • 125 grams (4 oz) of blanched almonds, chopped

  • Extra whole almonds for decoration

  • Extra rum

Hints and Tips

This cake is best made 6 weeks (or longer) prior to Christmas.

Sprinkle the cake with a tablespoon of rum once a week.

Keep cake in a container with a tight fitting lid and store in a cool and dry cupboard and it will last for 3 months.

Place the mixed fruit in a large glass bowl and add the rum and brandy.  Mix through until all the fruit is covered well with the liquid.

Cover & leave fruit to soak overnight.

Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round or square cake tin.  Line with brown paper then add a little butter and add layer of baking (parchment) paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft & creamy then add the sugar and lemon rind.

When the mixture is creamy & light in colour, add the golden (maple) syrup and the marmalade and beat well.

Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add one tablespoon of the flour with the last egg.

Sift the remaining flour into a bowl along with the spices and salt.

Add the flour alternatively with the fruit mixture and almonds until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Spoon mixture into the prepared cake tin and arrange the almonds in a pattern on top.

Place in a low (150C or 300F) conventional oven for about 2-2 1/2 hours.

When cake is cooked, remove from oven and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of rum whilst cake is still hot.

All the cake to cool completely before storing in a cake tin.