Traditional Christmas
Fruit Cake Recipe

Come October every year, Grandma's Christmas fruit cake recipe is lovingly mixed, baked and fed with alcohol, then decorated for the holiday. Known in the family as Grandma's farty cake, due to its rich fruit content, it is an essential part of the festivities. 

Sadly Jean passed away four years ago, but the recipe was passed on to two of her grand-daughters who now continue the tradition. It is too good, however, to keep to ourselves, so I wanted to share it so you and your family can enjoy it too.

Where the recipe that Grandma used originated is unknown, but her typed out recipe sheet shows evidence of the number of times it has been used with spills and splashes all over it. It has now been scanned and a copy printed out for use each year, to preserve it

Original typed recipe for grandma's fruit cakeGrandma's original recipe

Ingredients for fruit cake recipe

  • 12 oz butter or margarine
  • 12 oz Demerara sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lb plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lb sultanas
  • 1 lb currants
  • 4oz raisins
  • 6oz candied peel
  • 2oz cherries
  • 4oz chopped almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons black treacle
  • 1 wineglass brandy


  1. Beat the fat with a wooden spoon until it is soft, then add the sugar and continue "creaming" until the sugar begins to melt. 
  2. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add the sifted flour and salt along with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be quite stiff.
  4. Transfer to a greased and lined 9 inch diameter tin (3 inches deep), then tie a strip of thick brown paper round the outside of the tin. Cover the cake with a circle of brown paper.  If possible leave in the tin overnight before cooking.
  5. Bake for 6 hours 20 minutes on a very low temperature (120C, 250F or Gas Mark 1), removing the top circle of paper after 3 hours. 
Christmas fruit cake recipeGrandma's rich fruit cake recipe

Decorating the Christmas cake

This fruit cake recipe is designed to be stored in an airtight tin for several weeks before icing (frosting) or cutting. Take it out of the tin once a week and "feed it" by piercing with a skewer and dripping brandy or other alcohol into the holes. Then wrap it back up in foil and put it back in the tin.

About a week before Christmas cover the top and sides (or just the top) of the cake with almond paste (also known as marzipan). If possible allow three days for the paste to dry out before covering with  Royal Icing. Decorate when the icing has set.  

Rich fruit cake recipeFeeding the cake with brandy


  • An alternative method of cooking the fruit cake recipe is to bake it for 1 hour at 160C, 325F or Gas Mark 3, then reduce it to the lower temperature given above for the remaining 5 hours.
  • If half the quantity of cake is made, bake it in a 7 inch diameter by 3 inch deep tin for 3 hours 45 minutes at the lower temperature.
  • Self raising flour should NOT be used for this recipe.

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