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One of the most iconic bakes that exists, the christmas cake… homemade and scrumptious filled with fruit, and soaked in brandy! 

Christmas baking

So lets the honest now, I’m mentioning Christmas in… September. I know, it’s extremely overkill, but once you realise this is about a Christmas Cake hopefully you will understand why!

Christmas baking is one of my favourite things to do as I adore the theming of Christmas, but this recipe is something that has been waiting for years and years, as I just don’t really like Christmas cake… yup.

So, I know that’s not the best thing to start with on a recipe post, but genuinely? I’m not the biggest fan. However, my family adore Christmas cake and they have no tested and tasted SO MANY CAKES so I could post this recipe.

Christmas pudding

I have a cheats Christmas pudding in my second book, as typically with bakes like this you need to take your time. They are recipes that develop over the time because of the alcohol that you put into the bake.

However, for the cheats Christmas pudding I thought about the people who, like me, often forget to create a bake like these within the time frame. This Christmas cake recipe however?! Oh that’s the opposite. I am bang on the correct time for this beauty.

If you don’t like Christmas cake or Christmas pudding though, and you want an amazing showstopper, you can try my other bakes such as my Rocky Road Christmas Pudding – this is my go to.

Christmas Cake

Christmas cake? Yes, Christmas cake. There’s a lot of opinions on when is best to make it, so its entirely up to you. Yes, it will work if you make it slightly later on in the year, but it’s best to crack on as soon as possible.

I’ve always been told whether its from the notes in my Granny’s baking bible, or just by word of mouth, that 12 weeks before Christmas is the best time to create a Christmas cake. And guess what, it’s 12 weeks now.

You can do it 10 weeks before, 8 weeks, 6 weeks etc… just the nearer to Christmas you make it, the less feeding time you have. You can store and wrap the Christmas cake really well after feeding in parchment paper and tin foil, in a metal cake tin (plastic tubs may make them sweat).

The fruit

When it comes to the fruit of the Christmas cake, you can cater it more to what you prefer, but I used a broader amount as that’s what works best for my trusty taste testers, as it gives more flavour and textures.

I use a combination of raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries, glaze cherries, and mixed peel. The total weight is about 1075g worth of fruits, which is a lot – but you need a lot for a decent Christmas cake!

If you don’t have slightly the correct amount of something, you can use other fruits as well. You can also buy ready mixed dried fruit for fruit cakes so if you don’t want to buy a lot of separate packets, then that is totally fine.

The other ingredients

When it comes to the rest of the ingredients, it does sound like quite a bit. I like to add the zest and juice of lemon for a zingy flavour, as well as flavours such as mixed spice, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. I also add a bit of vanilla.

The butter is important, but I melt it into the fruity mixture so that it melts down well. The sugar is light brown soft sugar, and I use some black treacle (you can use golden syrup). The flour is standard, I use self raising instead of plain flour and baking powder, and some ground almonds.

If you don’t want to use nuts, you can use more flour instead of the ground almonds. Also, mix through the eggs… I use 5 medium, but four large eggs will also work super well.

The alcohol

The big part of the Christmas cake… the alcohol you use. You can vary this to again your preference but it’s often a reasonably strong spirit alcohol that you need and want to use. I went for brandy in this recipe.

You can use whiskey, rum, brandy, amaretto etc but you can honestly just pick your favourite, the cheapest, the nicest, etc… it’s entirely up to you. You mix the alcohol into the fruit at the start of making the Christmas cake, and then you use it to feed the cake until you eat it.

If you want an alcohol free cake, I tend to use tea to soak the fruit (but a lot of people use apple juice instead.). Brew the tea to the same quantity and soak the fruit in the same way. 


So for me, the peak time to create a cake like this is 12 weeks before you want it. It takes a fair few hours to make on the first day, because the bake time is so long, but after that it’s not that bad at all.

I would say it takes about half an hour to make the mixture, and then its about 2 hours to bake the cake. It takes a few hours to cool down properly, and then you need to wrap the cake well.

I like to feed my cake with a few tablespoons of brandy every two weeks up until Christmas. If you want to decorate your Christmas cake, you do not want to feed it just before as it will make it wet and sticky so slightly annoying.

If you make your cake nearer to Christmas, that is totally okay. You really don’t need to make it 12 weeks before, so don’t stress if you can’t make it this week.


Christmas Cake!

One of the most iconic bakes that exists, the christmas cake... homemade and scrumptious filled with fruit, and soaked in brandy! 
Print Pin Rate
Category: Cake
Type: Christmas
Keyword: Christmas
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Cooling time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Jane's Patisserie


  • 200 g raisins
  • 200 g sultanas
  • 200 g currants
  • 200 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g glace cherries
  • 75 g mixed peel
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 175 ml alcohol (I used brandy)
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g light brown soft sugar
  • 50 g treacle
  • 200 g self raising flour
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Add the raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries, glacé cherries, mixed peel, lemon zest, lemon juice, brandy, butter, light brown sugar and treacle to a large bowl
  • Mix these together, and then heat in the microwave for 5 minutes on high, letting the butter melt, and stir together well.
  • Alternatively, add all of the ingredients to a large pan, bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Leave the mixture to cool for 30 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 150ºc/130ºc fan
  • Once cooled, add the self raising flour, ground almonds, mixed spice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs and vanilla to the bowl and mix until combined
  • Pour into a deep 8" cake tin that is lined on the based and sides well. You don't want any tin showing as it may get stuck
  • Pour the mixture into the lined tin, and bake for 2 hours. Keep an eye on it towards the end, if its browning too much, cover lightly with foil
  • Once baked, remove from the oven and prick with a fork. Spoon over 2-3 more brandy and cool completely.
  • Once cooled, wrap in clean baking parchment, and foil, and store for 2 weeks and feed with 2-3 more tbsps of brandy. Repeat every two weeks until Christmas.


  • I make my Christmas cake 12 weeks before Christmas, but it can be done nearer to the time
  • I feed my cake every 2 weeks 
  • You can freeze the cake, wrapped in baking parchment and then tin foil, for 3+ months
  • I use brandy, but you can use any rich spirit (read the blog post) 
  • Try to store the cake wrapped well in baking parchment and then foil, in a cake tin. Sealed tubs can make it sweat. 


Find my other recipes on my Recipes Page!

You can find me on:

J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.


  1. Helen on January 23, 2024 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Jane, made this Christmas cake and it’s definitely going to be my go to recipe – question for you- could I use this recipe to make a simnel cake ?

  2. Sylvia on January 14, 2024 at 2:10 pm

    Fantastic Christmas fruit cake. Will definitely make this again for Easter and every Christmas!!!
    I have made many of Jane’s cakes and they never disappoint. Always have compliments when I make the cakes!!

  3. Sue on January 1, 2024 at 12:59 pm

    This is best Christmas cake I have ever made, absolutely delicious!

    • Bev Bird on January 14, 2024 at 12:57 pm

      Hi Jane
      I made your Christmas cake for gifts & everyone said how delicious it was thankyou very much for sharing your recipe! I am now baking a couple more I soaked my fruit in brandy do I discard the brandy after soaking the fruit or just add the other ingredients please.

  4. Anita on December 20, 2023 at 4:23 pm

    I’ve made this cake today and baked at 130 fan but I’ve baked it for almost 3.5 hours and it’s still not baked through. Not sure why? I followed all instructions and this has never happened before when making a Christmas cake.

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 27, 2023 at 1:17 pm

      It may be that the cake is baked but because of the level of alcohol and fruit it doesn’t seem it. Fruit cake can vary slightly in baking times but not that much if everything was measured correctly and in the correct size tin x

  5. RockMamaBaker83 on November 18, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    5 stars
    I thought I could put the fruit in a bowl in the microwave, but the amount of fruit is huge and I don’t have a bowl big enough. I ended up using a huge soup pan and boiled the fruit for 10 minutes, on the hob. I did leave it for 30 minutes to cool , but I really think the mixture was far too hot still, that it scrambled the eggs a little bit- it’s something I did wonder about, as the fruit mix is so hot. I looked at the fruit and thought- “that is not going to fit in my deep 8 inch cake tin”! So I cautiously took my 9 inch pan out of the cupboard! IT WORKED! My cake is now cooling! So: in a 9 inch pan, my cake took 1 hour and 20 minutes- fan oven 130C. It darkened slightly round the edge, so I will cover it next time.

  6. Abbie on November 12, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    5 stars
    As always Jane’s recipes never fail.
    Had minor panic when couldn’t find my 8″ deep cake tin. So, with some quick maths, this recipe nicely makes x3 6″ cakes in regular depth tins, just factor in slight reduction in cooking time. As always thank you Jane for a new recipe!

  7. Jacqueline on November 4, 2023 at 9:42 am

    Hi I’m wondering if I could split the ingredients between two 2lb loaf tins x

    • Leonie Valentine on November 14, 2023 at 7:34 am

      Good morning,

      I don’t want to use alcohol in my
      recipe. Would it be possible to explain what
      method I would use with the tea instead please?
      Do I need to soak the fruit beforehand & do I feed the cake with tea instead of the alcohol?

      Thank you

  8. Samantha Richardson on November 1, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Would there be enough mixture to divide into 2 x 6” tins? If so what would the timings be? Thank you- Great sounding recipe. 🎄

  9. Christine on October 30, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Can you use the soft spread instead of block butter if it’s to be melted ? Thank you for your reply….

  10. Lee Willie on October 15, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    When you feed the cake do you feed each side or just the top? Past cakes I have rotated the cake each feed

    • Junior Baker on October 23, 2023 at 8:22 pm

      Just the top as long as it’s pour as evenly as you can!

    • Shaz liz on November 15, 2023 at 3:44 pm

      Use a toothpick to make a few holes just in the top and brush on your booze it will soak into the cake better

  11. Molly on October 15, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe! Could this be split in to to 6″ cakes instead? How would I adjust the cooking time please?

  12. Debbie on October 15, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    5 stars
    I have already made the recipe 3 times, so easy great result.
    I have now been asked to make one gluten and lactose free which I am happy to amend recipe, however they also have a nut allergy. I am wondering what I can substitute for the ground almonds, hoping for a suggestion please.

    • Junior Baker on October 23, 2023 at 8:23 pm

      The blog post says you can just substitue the ground almonds for more flour! 🙂

    • Yvonne on October 26, 2023 at 10:45 am

      It says substitute ground almonds for flour

  13. Katie on October 14, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Hi. Can this recipe be made and then split into smaller tins? Both families love Christmas cake but a whole one is too much. Thank you!

    • Debbie on November 4, 2023 at 7:44 pm

      I’d love to bake this but I’m the only person in the house who likes Christmas cake! So if I was to make it in a 2lb loaf tin instead, what quantities of ingredients would I need and what would the cooking time be?

  14. Hannah on October 14, 2023 at 4:52 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve just made this! Really easy to follow recipe and it looks and smells delicious. I’ve never warmed the fruit etc in a pot before baking before so I’m excited to see how it turns out at Christmas (after a few drinks of brandy of course!) 🙂

  15. Sandra Graham on October 14, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    I have a nut allergy, can I just leave out the almonds or do I need to substitute it for the same weight of something else, please?

    • Junior Baker on October 23, 2023 at 8:24 pm

      You can substitute the ground almonds for more flour to keep it nut free 🙂

    • Yvonne on October 26, 2023 at 10:44 am

      It says that you can leave out almonds and substitute with flour

  16. Karen jones on October 13, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    If I was to use tea would I still need to feed the cake?

  17. Hayley on October 12, 2023 at 11:52 am

    5 stars
    Do you use fresh ginger or ground please?

    • Yvonne on October 26, 2023 at 10:45 am

      Ground Ginger

  18. Eve on October 11, 2023 at 7:02 pm

    Hi, the cake I normally make calls for the outside of the tun to be wrapped in brown paper, do I have to do this or is it not necessary

    • Junior Baker on October 23, 2023 at 8:25 pm

      I’ve found it just usually keeps the colouring of the cake even throughout the cake.

  19. Kelly on October 10, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Can you recommend any nuts to add to this recipe please and if so how many grams? Will adding nuts change the ratio of any of the other ingredients?

    • Silvana Zuccala on October 23, 2023 at 5:36 pm

      Hi, making your Christmas cake, does the tin need to
      be 8inch deep as well, or just 8 inch round/square?

  20. Claire on October 10, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    Can you substitute the flour for gf flour ?

  21. Christina on October 10, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Hi, how deep should the 8″ cake tin be?

  22. Dawn on October 10, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    What size square tin would I use for this recipe plz ?

  23. Phyllis on October 9, 2023 at 5:22 pm

    Ho deep does the tin need to be please

  24. Jenny Dwyer on October 9, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Jane,
    Love the idea of this recipe. Great that you can change the number of slices to give you the ingredients, but what about tin size and cooking time?

  25. Shirley on October 9, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    If I wanted to do this in a loaf tin what size would I need please?

  26. Hazel on October 8, 2023 at 1:22 am

    I made two Christmas cakes(first time making one). I put them both in the oven together on the same shelf. After 2hrs I used a skewer but they were still gooey in the middle. I kept checking them every 15min. After 4hrs I pulled them out, as skewer was clean finally, but the tops are hard. Have I over baked them? Were they not ready after 2hrs at 130c because I put two in together?

    • Sarah on November 13, 2023 at 7:54 pm

      Yes, because you would not have given the heat enough room to move around unfortunately.

  27. Katie on October 7, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Will you be posting a method for the marzipan and decorating?

  28. Sandra s on October 7, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve one in the oven as Iam writing this ,smells lovely,I was thinking of making another one with tea instead of brandy but what would I feed it with?more tea?

  29. Emma on October 7, 2023 at 7:26 am

    Can you use this recipe but bake in mini loaf tins? What would the timings be please?

  30. Jill on October 6, 2023 at 10:40 am

    Could I use Earl Grey tea to soak the fruit?

  31. Dawn price on October 6, 2023 at 8:58 am

    Hi, what would the recipe be for a 6 inch cake? Thank you x

  32. Suzanne on October 5, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    5 stars
    Hi just wondered what you doing with the tea instead of alcohol, do you just do it once and then leave it or do you spoon tea over it every two weeks it’s my first time wanting to make it x

  33. Marie on October 4, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Sounds delish as all of your recipes a question do you have to use the mixed peel?? Thank you x

  34. Marian Mulligan on October 4, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Did you line the sides of the tin twice? How much higher than the tin did you leave the paper? Just looking at the image.

  35. Rachael Evans on October 4, 2023 at 9:03 am

    Would a 8” tin, 3” in depth be ok?

  36. Bernie Daly on October 3, 2023 at 8:21 pm

    I always cover my cake with a circle of card cit from a cereal box from the start to prevent the top fro burning and cracking. It will sit on top of lining paper so the cake mix doesn’t stick to it. I remove it if cake looks pale on top for the last 10 to 15 minutes although I rarely need to.

  37. Mandy on October 3, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Jane do I have to let the cake sit could I make it and eat it a few days later if I use tea instead of alcohol ?

  38. Abi on October 3, 2023 at 6:23 pm

    Can I pre soak the fruit with brandy?

    • tanesha on November 8, 2023 at 2:38 pm

      i want to decorate my cake with marzipan and icing, and was just wondering how soon i should do this before christmas?
      thank you!

  39. Kylie on October 3, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    Can you soak the fruit a few days before? If so what should I use to soak?

  40. Jo Royston on October 3, 2023 at 11:55 am

    I am make my Xmas cake this week!
    Do you think this would work in the Ninja 15 in 1?
    I made your air fryer brownies and they were atunnkng

    • Ellen Haigh on November 5, 2023 at 7:36 pm

      Can this be done in a loaf tin please

  41. Lauren on October 3, 2023 at 7:09 am

    You say store the cake in a metal tin so that it’s not sealed. Do you still put the lid on a metal tin?
    Can’t wait to make this cake!
    Thanks Lauren

  42. Angela on October 3, 2023 at 6:10 am

    5 stars
    Hi, can i ask ehat size tin you recommend – is deeper or shallow better. Thanks

  43. Carran Williams on October 3, 2023 at 5:24 am

    Can I bake this now if using tea instead of alcohol or will it not keep as long?

  44. Elizabeth on October 3, 2023 at 2:24 am

    How do you apply the brandy “feeding”? First time baker here…

    • Junior Baker on October 23, 2023 at 8:21 pm

      I just did 2-3 tablespoons of alcohol and poured it as evenly as I could around the top of the cake. Make sure to prick holes evenly round the cake too!!

  45. Ruth on October 2, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Following question re making smaller versions of the Christmas Cake – thank you.

  46. Amanda on October 2, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    Hi, if I was using tea instead of the alcohol, do you still feed it each week?

    • Chelsea on November 3, 2023 at 7:57 pm

      I haven’t ever made a Christmas cake before once I’ve done the cake and wrapped it and put it in the tin where do I store it just a cool/dark place or do I store in fridge. Sorry if this is a silly question but I just wanted to check.

  47. Sandra Scott on October 2, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    If making this using tea would I feed it tea also?

  48. Adam on October 2, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Do you have any recommendations or tips to make a gluten free version?

  49. Jen on October 2, 2023 at 4:17 pm


    I want to order these to my US friends, and I’m curious about the storing process.

    I get wrapping them in parchment and then aluminum foil. My question is…do you store them in a dark pantry or do you freeze them? We don’t typically do cakes like this is the US so a slight learning curve. Any guidance on the storing/feeding process would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!

  50. Caroline on October 2, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    If I don’t add peel, what is the best ingredient to use instead please?

  51. Helen on October 2, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    Can I use apple juice instead of brandy? If so how would you suggest feeding it, storing it etc?

  52. Jenny on October 2, 2023 at 10:35 am

    If I add in whole nuts such as almonds should I put in less fruit?

  53. Isabella on October 2, 2023 at 10:26 am

    Does doing the dried fruit, butter, and alcohol in the microwave vs hob differ massively? I’m wondering if doing it on the hob would result in the alcohol evaporating off and being less strong in flavour whereas doing it in the microwave would prevent that from happening?

  54. Jo on October 2, 2023 at 6:50 am

    It looks lovely and moist! It looks a lighter colour than a lot of traditional Christmas cakes, why is that? Thanks

  55. Esther Houghton on October 1, 2023 at 11:23 pm

    Could I use a 7″ square tin using the same amount of ingredients and could I replace the vanilla flavouring with almond flavouring ? Any advice much appreciated

  56. Scouse Liver Bird on October 1, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Jane
    Have a bag of Mixed Fruit
    Could I use this as well ?
    Thank you

  57. Chris on October 1, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    Hi, if I do use apple juice instead of alcohol, do I still feed the cake every two weeks?

  58. Sarah on October 1, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Jane. Not a fan of ginger. Can i change it up for something else or add a tad more of another please? X

  59. Jacey on October 1, 2023 at 9:15 pm

    I know it has ground almonds in, but could I swap out the cranberries and use some form of nuts instead? I love the texture of fruit cake with nuts in

  60. Karan on October 1, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Can I use something else instead of eggs?

  61. Jo on October 1, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Jane I will be making this cake this week! If I want to make a larger cake can I just double quantity and use a 12” tin? Would the baking time be 4 hours?

  62. Emma Drew on October 1, 2023 at 3:49 pm

    Hi. How do I make this in 10 inch round please?

  63. Catherine Clay on October 1, 2023 at 1:59 pm

    How much would I decrease the recipe by for 6” tin please, and what cooking time?

  64. Mel on October 1, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Just a note – when you adjust the slices, the amount of lemon juice / zest doesn’t change! (Love the feature otherwise)

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2023 at 12:57 pm

      It’s an automatic feature of the website that can’t be changed unfortunately, it’s only meant to be a guide as it also doesn’t change timings. Sorry!

    • Helen on October 31, 2023 at 8:48 pm

      If the fruit is soaked in the alcohol overnight would you need to add more alcohol when it comes to baking it?

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 7, 2023 at 2:44 pm

      This recipe doesn’t need soaking as it’s heated. x

  65. Janet Taylor on October 1, 2023 at 10:46 am

    Can this cake be made without the ground almonds? Would I use more flour?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2023 at 12:57 pm

      Yes, as mentioned on the post!

    • Kerry on October 13, 2023 at 10:13 am

      Hi I am just wondering if I can also add chopped almonds?

  66. Nikki on October 1, 2023 at 9:35 am

    What is your advice for this recipe regarding people who cannot consume alcohol? Would you prepare it closer to the time? And would you omit the alcohol, or swap it with a fruit juice?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2023 at 12:57 pm

      I’ve personally made it but using tea instead, but I’m sure apple juice could work as well.

  67. Jenny on October 1, 2023 at 8:57 am

    5 stars
    Thanks Jane! Is there anything else I can use instead of Alcohol for the moisture?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2023 at 12:57 pm

      I’ve made it using tea instead.

    • sonia on October 2, 2023 at 2:26 pm

      tea or apple juice x

  68. Monica Theobald on October 1, 2023 at 8:54 am

    5 stars
    This sounds amazing 🤩 I will be doing this one this year. Always do my Christmas cakes first week of October

  69. Helen on October 1, 2023 at 8:41 am

    Could you replace ground almonds with chopped almonds please?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2023 at 12:58 pm

      No, this doesn’t work the same – it needs to be ground almonds. x

    • Angie on October 1, 2023 at 3:14 pm

      5 stars
      Thanks for the recipe x x Last time I attempted it was a disaster🤦🏽‍♀️ Have just got this baby out the oven and smells delicious. Have switched the Brandy for Amaretto and can’t wait to taste it😋

  70. Gina on October 1, 2023 at 8:35 am

    Would this be stable enough to put marzipan and icing on? Like a typical Xmas cake?

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 1, 2023 at 12:58 pm

      Yep, this is just how to make the actual cake part, not decoration x

  71. Robyn on October 1, 2023 at 8:27 am

    Can you make smaller versions of the cake to give as gifts? How would cooking time change if halved or quartered in size?

    • Penny on October 1, 2023 at 2:14 pm

      I made them this morning I used the full recipe as sometimes they just don’t work as well reducing the quantities, I just used 3 smaller tins

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