Recipe, food and prop styling Felicity Barnum-Bobb

Photo Stuart West


If you are looking for a moist and moreish celebration cake – this is THE ONE! The secret to making this SO good is drenching the dried fruit in a really generous amount of booze – and ideally leaving it to macerate together for a while for a jar. So get soaking the fruit now!  Use what you have at home – sweet sherry, dark rum, brandy and ginger wine all work well. (You can leave it to macerate for 1 day to 1 month.)Then half the fruit is blitzed to a puree before folding it into the cake mixture.  It’s got heaps of spice too, which makes it really special.  Cooked in my fave shape -a ring, so there’s no chance of a soggy middle! Decorated simply with just a drizzling of fondant icing and a sprinkling of edible Christmas sparkle.

300ml Pedro Ximenez sweet sherry

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon or orange

500g dried mixed fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants and mixed citrus peel)

250g unsalted butter

250g dark muscovado sugar

4 large eggs

250g self-raising flour

1tbsp ground mixed spice

1tbsp vanilla extract

To decorate:

225g fondant icing sugar

Edible silver stars

Rainbow Dust Edible Glitter Silver

23cm greased silicone mould
1 Put the sherry in a large pan. Add the lemon or orange zest and juice and dried mixed fruit. Cover and heat gently for 5 mins, until the fruit is plumped up.  Tip into a large jar and seal. Leave for 1 day – 1 month in a cool place to macerate.
2 When you are ready to bake the cake heat the oven to 160°C, Gas 3 Tip half the fruit and any sherry into a food processor and blend until smooth.

3 Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for several minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually whisk in the eggs.

4 Sieve in the flour and mixed spice, and tip in but o not mix in. Spoon in the whole fruit, fruit puree add the vanilla extract, then fold everything together.

5 Spoon into the greased ring mould or tin and smooth over. Bake for 1 hour 15 mins. Ovens vary – so check that the cake is ready by inserting a skewer in the centre, if it comes out clean it is ready. If any mixture is left on the skewer, continue to cook for 10-30 more mins, then leave to cool in the tin.

 6 To decorate Put the cake onto serving board. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add 2tbsp cold water, to make a thick pourable icing. Spoon into a plastic piping bag, and snip of the end. Randomly drizzle over the icing, then sprinkle with silver stars and edible glitter. The cake will keep for up to 2 weeks in a cool place in a sealed container.

Felicity’s tip;
Try switching the water in the icing for one of the following if you like;
orange juice, lemon juice, sherry, brandy or rum.
These are my other favourite Christmas Cakes

I have long been a fan of a Caribbean  inspired moist and boozy Christmas cake, since my sister in law shared her fave recipe many years ago.  So I thought it would be good fun to share some of these that I have developed for the various different magazines have worked for.  The basic cake is simular;  I always use Billingtons Unrefined Sugar .

I really recommend you look out for unrefined sugar and experiment with the different varieties. Light muscovado, dark muscovado sugar and molasses sugar all work well in these rich dark Christmas cakes because they are dark and delicious with an almost toffee like taste.  Regular light and soft brown sugars tend to be white sugar that has been refined with colour added – so I steer clear of these!

Check out these recipes and you’ll find some inspiring frostings variations.

spiced tropical christmas cake
Originally featured in Woman Magazine when I was Food Editor. Photo Chris Alack
Originally featured in Prima magazine when I was Food Editor
Photo Marie-Louise Avery
Originally featured when I was Cookery Director of Good Housekeeping
Photo: Marie-Louise Avery
Originally featured when I was Cookery Editor of Womans Weekly
Photo Chris Alack.
Happy Festive Baking!

3 thoughts on “The Easiest Ever Christmas Fruit Cake

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