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The best Christmas cake recipe: tried and tasted

Whether you're nutty about fruit cakes, or just want a good, homemade number to hand that you can wheel out when relatives descend over the holidays, this recipe - which combines the finest elements from various famous versions - is pretty much foolproof. 

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"This is a unique recipe, based on Delia Smith, Sainsbury's and Jamie Oliver recipes and tested over the past several years," says Mumsnetter MirandaGoshawk, who came up with it. "It includes all my faves." What are you waiting for? Pick up a bowl and get stirring... 

Note: This recipe uses a 7" square or 8" round tin. If you're using another size tin you'll have to adapt it accordingly.


  • 500g currants
  • 375g sultanas
  • 3 tbsp cherry brandy
  • 3 tbsp rum or brandy
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 75g mixed peel or preserved fruit
  • 75g crystallised ginger pieces
  • 75g glace cherries, halved
  • 75g walnut pieces
  • 35g whole blanched almonds
  • grated zest of one orange
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 200g plain flour
  • 35g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • A little ground nutmeg
  • Scant 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 3 medium eggs



  1. The night before, divide the fruit into three bowls. Add 1 tbsp of each of the brandies and orange juice to each bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Leave out the butter to soften.
  2. Next day, grease the tin. Line it with a double layer of greaseproof paper that stands up above the rim. Tie a double band of newspaper or brown paper around the outside with string.
  3. Preheat the oven to 140C, 275F, Gas mark 1.
  4. Sift the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds, sugar, butter, zest, treacle and eggs. Mix well, then beat for 2 minutes until smooth and glossy.
  5. Fold in the fruit mixture (discarding any juice), nuts, cherries, peel and ginger pieces until evenly blended.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, making sure there are no air pockets. Level the surface with the back of a spoon, then make a depression in the centre to allow for rising. Place a square of damp greaseproof over the top.
  7. Place in the centre of the oven for 3 hours, or just over. Remove the paper on top for the last half-hour. Test the cake with a skewer before the end; it should come out clean.
  8. Leave the cake in the tin until cold. Turn out and leave in the greaseproof, then wrap in foil and put in an airtight tin until ready to decorate.


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Last updated: over 3 years ago