Yes, this is a fruit cake, but it’s only October so I’m not suggesting it should be your Christmas Cake.  It won’t be long before it’s time to get the Christmas recipes out and make the pudding and cake, but think there’s a few more weeks before you need to do that .  Sadly these days I only make fruit cakes at Christmas, but really they’re an easy cake to make, they keep well and ingredients like the pineapple and carrot in this recipe add extra flavour.  Worth making all year round really……


I’ve posted recipes for lots of different fruit cakes since I started this blog, but have just realized that a Pumpkin Fruit Cake recipe is missing from the collection.  Mum and I have both made the pumpkin version over the years, we didn’t use wholemeal flour, but either way the pumpkin is a nice touch to the traditional cake.

CHRISTMAS CAKE – Dutch Fruit Cake

The first Christmas after I got married, my husband had to work on Christmas Day so I met him at lunchtime and we had a picnic lunch in the Botanical Gardens, which was a lovely way to celebrate our first Christmas together.  That first Christmas also meant my first Christmas cake baking effort.  It was a disaster, a soggy undercooked cake – ruined. When I told Mum she smiled and told me to mashing it all up in a bowl add a cup of cold tea and recook it as a pudding and to this day I’m still amazed that it worked.  My cooking improved somewhat after that and this Dutch Fruit Cake became the recipe I used for many years.  Adding the mixed peel and nuts and brushing the cake with brandy while still hot makes the cake a little more Christmasy.Dutch Fruit Cake croppedDUTCH FRUIT CAKE

  • 125g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 125g currants
  • 250g raisins
  • 375g sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • lemon juice
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 dessertspoon treacle or golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon bi-carb soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water

Line a cake tin with a layer of brown paper and a layer of baking paper.  Boil together butter, sugar, water, fruit, spices, lemon juice for 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  When cool stir in beaten eggs, flours, treacle and lastly bi-carb soda dissolved in boiling water.   Bake in a moderate oven 180o for 2 hours.  Mixed peel and nuts can be added if like.  For a Christmas touch – when still hot from the oven pierce the cake with a skewer and brush with brandy.




CHRISTMAS CAKE – Foolproof Fruit Cake

This is the recipe I usually use to make my Christmas Cake.  Back in 2001 I doubled the recipe to make a two tiered cake for Mum and Dad’s 60th Wedding Anniversary, which I had decorated in the 1940s style of their wedding, it looked and tasted great.  The recipe came to me from a friend who made it as a Wedding Cake for her daughter.  As you can see it was passed onto her from her friend ‘Audrey’ so it has quite a history.  I always add the extra prunes and apricots and it makes a lovely cake that lasts as long as you can keep the family away from it.

Jan's Foolproof Fruit Cake cropped


Mum made lots of different types of fruit cakes, loaves and slices and adding pumpkin to the mix wasn’t that unusual. The only unusual ingredient in this recipe is the apricot nectar, not something that you’d normally put in a fruit cake and not something you’d usually have in your cupboard. If you wanted to you could easily substitute it with fruit juice or water.


Healthy Fruit Cake


I’m sure Mum would have gotten this recipe from Mrs Wood to bake cakes to send over to Dad in England during WW2. Mrs Wood was Mum’s sister’s mother-in-law. She was a wonderful cook and I can remember visiting her house in East Malvern where there would always be plates of biscuits and freshly baked cake for afternoon tea. The Soldier’s Cake Tins referred to were used to bake a cake in to be sent overseas to the troops. The tins came with a lid so the cakes were baked then sealed to be sent off. Cake shops also sold fruit cakes that fitted into the special “Willow” cake tins. Fruit cakes with brandy were usually the cakes made this way as the brandy stopped the cake going mouldy during the time it took to reach the soldiers, wherever they were serving.

Mrs Wood's Xmas Cakes


  • 500g butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 500g castor sugar
  • 500g plain flour
  • 125g Self Raising Flour
  • 1kg sultanas
  • 500g raisins
  • 250g currants
  • 125g mixed peel
  • 60g almonds
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon carb soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Combine the fruit and brandy, leave overnight to marinate. Beat the butter and sugar together, add eggs one at a time. Add sifted flours and spices. Add fruit and nuts. Combine boiling water and carb soda and mix in well. Bake in prepared tins – 3 hours, turn after 1½ hours. Soldier tins measured 7½ inches = approx 20cm. So the mixture makes 2 x 20cm cakes – the ingredients can be halved for 1 cake.