I always marinate the fruit for my Christmas Cake in brandy and then slosh a bit more onto the cake hot from the oven.  It makes a wonderfully rich cake which is great at Christmas, but is a bit too rich for other times of the year.  This recipe has a great tip to substitute the brandy with cold tea. I’ve turned a failed Christmas Pudding into a cake by doing that, but this is the recipe I’ve come across that suggests using it from the beginning.



The first Christmas cake I made was a total disaster.  When I cut into it I discovered that it was still raw in the middle and totally inedible.  I’d only been married a few months so of course the first thing I did was ring my Mum to find out what could be salvaged.  Mum calmly told me not to panic, to put the cake in a mixing bowl, squash it all up and then pour in a cup of cold tea.  Once it was all mixed through to then put it in a pudding bowl and cook it like a Christmas pudding and lo and behold it worked.

When I found this old recipe in Mum’s collection it reminded me so much of that cake/pudding disaster.  I’ve always thought it was a marvellous trick that Mum knew and I think this old Fruit Loaf recipe gives a hint of where she got the idea from.

Fruit Loaf crop


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’ve always liked this cake, although I don’t know where it got its odd name from. Mum always baked it in a loaf tin and cut it into slices for serving. It has a very light chocolate flavour and you can substitute sultanas for the nuts if you like want to, that makes it lovely and fruity.

Tutti Fruiti Cake


  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 level tablespoon cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • ½ cup nuts
  • 1 cup mixed fruit
  • 1½ cups self raising flour

Beat butter and sugar, add beaten eggs, then milk with soda in it. Add other ingredients and mix well. Bake 1 hour in a greased loaf tin.