Time to make Christmas cake

It’s time to make a traditional fruit Christmas cake. I have made one with the recipe I have used for years. It is based on the recipe for Christmas cake from the 1972 edition of Good Housekeeping’s Easy-Stages Cook Book.

Christmas Cake


  • 2 lb 2 oz (1 kg) mixed fruit made up of currants, sultanas, raisins, candied peel
  • 6 oz glacé cherries cut into quarters
  • 10 oz plain flour
  • 1/2 level teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 oz butter – spreadable is easier for mixing
  • 10 oz soft brown sugar
  • 6 eggs

Prepare either an 8 inch or a 9 inch cake tin. The 8 inch will give you a taller cake. Grease the bottom and sides of the tin. Line the tin with greaseproof paper and re-grease. Make a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin and a couple of inches above the height of the tin. Tie in place.

Set the oven to 150 C. This can be cooked in an oven with or without a fan. With a fan reduce the temperature to 140 C.

Put the flour and spices in a bowl and mix together. Add the mixed fruit and cherries, and mix up so that the fruit is not lumped together and is covered in the spiced flour. Leave to one side.

mixing the fruit ans spiced flour

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mix.

starting to add the fruit and flour mix to the butter, sugar and eggs

Add the flour, spice and fruit, making sure they are well blended. The final mix should easily drop from the spoon when held above the bowl. If it is too stiff add a little milk.

Don’t forget to make a wish as you do the final mixing. Everyone who helped with the cake should make a wish.

cake ready to go into the oven

Put the mix into the prepared cake tin, spreading it round evenly using a knife. Make a dip in the centre.

Put the cake into the bottom of the over for about 4 1/2 hours – mine took 4 hours this time. After two hours put a layer of either brown or greaseproof paper over the top to prevent the cake becoming over-browned. Check it is ready by inserting a fine skewer which should look quite clean as it is pulled out. If you are not sure leave it for an extra twenty minutes.

the cooked cake

When cooked leave the cake to cool in the tin.

You can add brandy to the cake once it has cooled by pricking the cake all over and slowly pouring two or three tablespoons of brandy over the top. This can be done once the cake has cooled or after a couple of weeks. This can be repeated for a richer flavour.

cake stored for Christmas

To store the cake, wrap in greaseproof paper and then either place in an airtight tin or wrap in tinfoil.

The traditional almond paste and icing are added much nearer Christmas.

This year we had three generations making the cake – Nannie, Daughter and Grandson, so there were three Christmas wishes!


Autumn cake with blackberries and apple

What could be nicer than walking in the countryside, picking seasonal fruits, going home and making them into something delicious to eat.

This is what I made using local blackberries and apples from my garden

Blackberry and Apple Cake


  • Eggs – two large or three medium
  • Butter – spreadable is easier for mixing
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Self-raising flour
  • Chopped apples
  • Blackberries

Cooking: 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours 160C fan oven

6 or 7 inch cake tin, greased and lined with greaseproof paper


Wash approximately 8 oz blackberries – preferably freshly picked – and leave them to drain.

Peel, and chop into small chunks, two medium apples. Put them into a bowl of cold water to prevent them browning.

Weigh, while still in their shells, two large or three medium eggs. This will be the weight you will need of both butter and soft brown sugar.

Put sugar and butter into mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

Add egg yolks and whites and again mix thoroughly until smooth.

Weigh the flour – it should be the equivalent of the weight of eggs plus a half. For example, if the  eggs weighed 6 oz, weigh out 9 oz flour. (6 + 6/2 = 6 + 3 = 9)

Fold the flour into the mix.

Drain the chopped apples and add them and the blackberries to the cake mix. Stir until all are covered.

Put the complete mix into the lined cake tin and place into the heated oven. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half until a skewer comes out clean. If unsure leave for an extra ten minutes.

Take cake from oven, remove baking tin and leave to cool on wire rack.

Blackberry and apple cake

Eat in slices as a cake or with cream and/or custard as a dessert. Enjoy!