Doreen’s Christmas Cake

A rich fruity cake, cooked the first time by Doreen for Christmas 2002.
PREPARATION TIME: The fruit should be prepared at least one or two days in advance. (The Irish recipe recommended a couple of weeks in advance.)
COOKING TIME: 3 ~ 3½ hours – check after 2½ hours

  • 360 grams Sultanas
  • 375 grams Raisins
  • 360 grams Currants
  • 90 grams Glace Cherries
  • 90 grams Dates
  • 90 grams Figs
  • 60 grams Prunes
  • 30 grams Glace Pineapple
  • 90 grams Mixed Peel
  • 60 grams Glace Ginger
  • 90 grams slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon grated Lemon Rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated Orange Rind
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Cup Orange Juice
  • 4 tablespoons Brandy
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry
  • ½ small Granny Smith Apple, peeled and grated
  • 280 grams Butter
  • 150 grams Brown Sugar
  • 150 grams Castor Sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 360 grams Plain Flour
  • 80 grams Self-raising Flour (or 1 tsp baking powder and 80 grams plain flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Brandy or Sherry, extra


  1. Remove the seeds from the prunes and chop all the fruit. (Scissors dipped in water is said by some to be the easiest way to do this, but I still use a knife and chopping board.)
  2. Combine the chopped fruit, rinds, juices, brandy, sherry and apple.
  3. Soak one or two days (or at least overnight) in a large basin.  (If you start early enough, store them in a screwtop jar for up to 3 weeks to let flavours soak into the fruit. Shake the jar well and store in a cool dry place – this gives the fruit a really rich flavour. Each day turn the jar upside down for even soaking.)
  4. On day of baking: line a deep 20 cm square cake tin with two thicknesses of greaseproof (or Glad Bake) paper, bringing paper 5 cm above the top edge of the tin.  Put four thicknesses of brown paper around the outside of the tin and tie string around it to hold in place.
  5. Beat the butter until soft.
  6. Add sugar, beating until just combined.
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  8. Put the fruit mixture into a large basin and add creamed mixture – mix well, using a wooden spoon.
  9. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients.
  10. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. To get a smooth surface on the top of the cake – wet a dessertspoon and rub the back of the spoon over the cake mix to smooth it out.  Decorate as desired with halved glace cherries.
  11. Bake in a slow oven (150 degrees C) (using conventional oven setting or fan without top and bottom heating elements) for 3 to 3½ hours, checking after 2½ hours.
  12. To prevent too much browning, place greaseproof or brown paper on top of cake after 1½ hours of cooking.
  13. Remove from the oven.  Prick several times with a fine skewer or toothpick and brush evenly with the extra brandy or sherry, cover with aluminium foil or greaseproof paper and leave until cold before removing from tin.
  14. Re-wrap in foil and keep in a tightly closed tin, to allow to mature.
  15. Store for four to six weeks in a cool, dry place.

Based on several recipes including:

  • Irish Christmas Cake featured on ABC by Jemma Schweikert, 8 December 2001
  • 200 Years of Australian Cooking by Babette Hayes 1970 – Dark Christmas Cake
  • Sunbeam Mixmaster Recipes 1967 – Rich Christmas Cake
  • Auntie Win’s recipe, which was also an influence

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