Christmas Cake – Boozy Fruit Part 2

Christmas Cake - Boozy Fruit Part 2
So you’ve been lovingly stirring your boozy fruit for the past few weeks and enjoying inhaling the fumes as you do so! Now it’s time to turn that jar of loveliness into this years Christmas Cake. If you missed the Boozy Fruit post you can find it here, get going with it now, even a weeks soaking is going to create some Christmas Magic!


225g butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar
75g dark brown sugar
2 tbsps treacle
2 tsps mixed cake spice
285g plain flour
5 large eggs, beaten

1 x Boozy Fruit already prepared.

150ml brandy for feeding.

This recipe will make an 8″ Christmas Cake, if you prefer you can bake two 4″ cakes.

Preheat oven to a low 150c Fan/170c/Gas Mark 3.

Double line an 8” tin with baking paper.

Wrap a thick layer of newspaper around the outside of the tin and secure with string.  If you have children in your house this might be an epic adventure especially as it’s just been conker season!

Start by creaming together the butter and the sugars.

Add the treacle and beat until combined.

Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.

After the eggs are fully incorporated sift over the flour and cake spice and fold into the mixture.

Finally add the boozy fruit you lovingly prepared a few weeks ago and mix until the fruit is distributed evenly.

Add the mixture to the prepared tin and bake in the oven for approx 2 hours. Check after one hour and if the top is browning too quickly add a loose sheet of baking paper to the top. (If you’re making 4″ cakes they will need to be baked for approx 1 hour)

The cake is ready when the top is a dark golden brown and when inserted a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

Once the cake is cold remove it from the tin removing the baking paper from the sides of the cake but keeping the base disc in place, this will help keep in moisture as the cake is fed in the run up to Christmas.

On your worksurface lay out two large pieces of foil, one horizontally and one vertically. On top of that place two large sheets of baking paper. Finally position the cake in the middle.

Using a skewer pierce 30-40 holes in the top of the cake, only ¾’s of the depth of the cake though so that the brandy doesn’t run straight through!

I like to put the feeding brandy into a jam jar, that way it’s to hand whenever it’s time to feed the cake.

Using a pastry brush, brush over the entire top of the cake with the brandy. You are looking to add 1 or 2 teaspoons of brandy in each feed.

Once fed, gather up the baking paper and seal in the cake, repeating with the foil layer. No place the whole lot in a suitable container, I use an old Christmas sweetie tin which is just the perfect size!

Place the container into a cupboard or the pantry, it needs to be out of direct sunlight somewhere dry but don’t forget about it. Feed it every 3-4 days for the next few weeks or until the cake won’t absorb anymore.

Christmas cake – done! (well for now, I’ll be back at the end of November with some easy decorating ideas and maybe a tricky one too!)

Christmas Cake - Boozy Fruit Part 2

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

Finalist on BBC2 The Great British Bake Off

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75 Responses to Christmas Cake – Boozy Fruit Part 2

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Peter says:

    Excellent Ruth, thank you. That's my job for the weekend sorted!

  3. Happy Cook says:

    I love christmas cakes especially the Brittish one, I made few timesbut my family says they are so heavy especially after having a huge meal in the holiday, so i stopped making them, now you are tempting me to make them.

  4. Bernice says:

    Thanks Ruth, my boooozy fruit has just a little while longer to ferment! I love the smell of the cake as it's baking – it seems to infuse into the entire house and make me feel very festive. Really looking forward to trying your recipe this year. I'll let you know how mine turns out. Yours looks delicious. Your blog is so easy to follow and explains everything very clearly – you're a star x

  5. Sarah says:

    I put my fruit into its boozy bath on saturday only expecting to let it soak overnight and still haven't got round to making the cake yet……maybe I'll leave it sloshing for a little while longer! Love Christmas cake. x

  6. Victoria Plum says:

    Brilliant! There is nothing better than the smell of Christmas cakes in the oven … that's my job for the weekend sorted!!

  7. Janice says:


  8. Suzanne says:

    Thank you Ruth, I've enjoyed the show and your website very much. This will be my first English Christmas Cake ever. However, I can't find treacle here in the Netherlands. Could I substitute it with molasses?

  9. Ruth says:

    Suzanne, if you can't get hold of treacle moalasses will work just fine. x

  10. Ruth says:

    rum, bacardi flavoured brandies, whatever takes your fancy! x

  11. Craftilicious says:

    Now I know why mine is always burnt on the outside – newspaper! what a simple yet genious solution – thanks Ruth!

  12. Pauline says:

    Hi Ruth, I have 2 batches of the fruit soaking as I type, I have another couple of weeks to go with it then i'll attempt the second part of the recipe…. I have never made a Christmas cake before, but this year have decided to be the chief Christmas cake maker of the family, lol…. Brilliant recipe, just love how you explain it all so clearly and especially love the added pictures, superb….. 🙂

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I have made my fruit which is soaking even though I was a little late, but I am now thinking that making one for work would be a good idea, but I can not put brandy in it as some are alcohol dependency could I add orange juice or tea instead? Your help would be appreciated. Many thanks Leeanne

  14. Ruth says:

    Leeanne – yes tea or orange juice make good non-alcoholic alternatives x

  15. Anonymous says:

    Just like to say that i thought you were brilliant on the programme and i thought you should have won. Thanks for all these lovely recipes I cant wait to try them all x

  16. lindyloo says:

    Hi Ruth I started my Boozy Fruit tonight…late I know !!… 2 queries could u help. !… when I added my booze to the syrup it crystallized… Why ? .. I just whisked and strained it hopefully it will be ok 🙁 2… Do I store the fruit in or out the that a silly question ?? you don't say. Thanks for your help Linda xx

  17. Audrey Watson says:

    would this cake do as a wedding cake too?

  18. Ruth says:

    Audrey – yes this would make a lovely cake for a wedding cake.

    Linda – The crystallisation is usually due to water droplets, the syrup needs to be cool before adding the brandy. But is should be fine.

    Store the fruit in a cool place out of direct sunlight, it doesn't need to go in the fridge.

  19. J says:

    Hi Ruth,

    how about a fruitcake cupcake recipe? One that will sit in cupcake wrappers for a good few weeks without the wrappers peeling, etc.

    Loved your vanilla cupcake recipe. Works a treat.

    Jude XX

  20. Gilly says:

    Hi Ruth
    thanks for this -its in the oven as I type. I've never done Christmas cake before as im the type who likes to be in denial about Christmas unitl about the 20th December by which time its way too late! However you made it look so easy and once I smelled how good the boozy fruit was I knew I had to make it! Who knows maybe I'll be a bit more organised about presents too this year 🙂

  21. Rosie H says:

    Hi Ruth, I have 2 of your fruit cake mixes soaking now and plan to bake them at the weekend. I'm now making Halloween Cupcakes for my Step-Daughters school. Love your recipes and well done to you on your sucess on Great British Bake Off.

  22. Lisa P says:

    Baked two cakes today, however they were in for almost two hours and did not go dark golden brown, more of a mid tan, but the skewer was clean – they are very soft and moist too…. they are cooling down right now.. will they be ok?! Great blog full of recipes by the way!

  23. Ruth says:

    Lisa mid-tan is fine, a lot depends on the type of sugar used etc they'll be fine and will taste great! x

  24. Anonymous says:

    house smells lovely with chrismas cake baking thank you Ruth!!was thinking i would love to see you do a christmas special with all your festive ideas,i would def love to see u on tv againxx

  25. Katy Ford says:

    Hi Ruth.
    I know its a little late but I have just prepared my boozy fruit today.
    When I get round to making the cake I want to use a 10" square tin. Would you be able to scale up the recipe for me. Thanks

  26. Anonymous says:

    Mine has risen a long way over the top of the tin and cracked across the top. What causes that? It's also a bit burnt around the top so might have to scalp it before icing! Nicky x

  27. Ruth says:

    The cake shouldn't rise way above the tin like you describe unless you've used flour instead of plain. The cake needs to be baked in a deep sided tin. The cake will naturally crack a little across the top but will seal itself back up as it cools and over the next couple of weeks as you feed it. If a cake is browning on too much on the top as it cooks add a loose sheet of baking paper to protect it.

    Katy – for a 10" sq tin I would add an extra 50% to each quantity, you will need an additional 50% boozy fruit too x

  28. Elizabeth says:

    I am so excited about your excellent blog. I usually produce a very passable Christmas cake but am going to do yours this year. However, advice please – do you foresee any problems if I bake the cake in a metal bowl, instead of a traditional tin, so it comes out domed? My thinking is that I am rubbish at decorting but even I could then cover it in icing and call it an igloo !

  29. Anonymous says:

    Just made my first Christmas cake in Singapore – smells gorgeous! Had to substitute treacle for blackstrap molasses but according to the kids, the mixture tasted just as good! Looking forward to decorating it – thanks Ruth for a brilliant recipe x

  30. Bernice says:

    I made my cake this weekend. The smellof the fruit when I mixed it in was divine and the whole house smelt of 'Christmas'. It worked a treat and I can't wait to decorate it and then eat it. Suspect it will not last very long at all.

  31. Anonymous says:

    My cake's made thank you for an easy to follow recipe

  32. Ruth says:

    Elizabeth – good plan for the igloo look! Just make sure the whole bowl is insulated by the newspaper then I think you should be okay! xx

  33. Anonymous says:

    Could I make this in a 7 inch square tin instead of an 8 inch round one?
    I feel like departing from my usual recipe this year and giving this one a try- looks lovely!

  34. Rich says:

    Hi Ruth,

    Thanks for the great recipe. I've been feeding the fruit for weeks now with Brandy and Rum!! Made the cake earlier and it's been in the oven for nearly an hour so gonna check it soon. Sam my wife has made Christmas puddings I got the job of the cake!! Looking forward to it!
    Thanks again have a great Christmas

  35. chris.griffin says:

    Thanks for this gorgeous recipe. It filled the house with Christmas! Can't wait for the decorating installment.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth, how can I store a larger cake without using a tin?

  37. Ruth says:

    I tend to use large tupperware boxes for larger cakes x

  38. Debs says:

    Hello again. Last night (way later than everyone else but never mind) I made my first ever Chrismtas Cake using your recipe. I'm confident enough to make adaptations so binned the mixed peel which I dont like and subsituted apricots. I'm hoping it tastes as good as the house smelled. My only problem was being engrossed in the Masterchef final as the cake cooked. A few urgent sprints into the kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration. Debs x

  39. Anonymous says:

    Ruth just wondering is this a moist Christmas Cake or a more dry one? or does that depend on the soaking of the fruit and the cooking time?

  40. Ruth says:

    It's a fairly moist christmas cake with a good proportion of fruit x

  41. Emma D says:

    Hi Ruth

    Made my fruit a few weeks ago and today have made my first ever Christmas cake!! It is in the oven as we speak, so will let you know how it turns out. My only problem now is that my mother in law in coming for tea and I can't get my joint of pork in as the cake is cooking, think tea will be late tonight!!

  42. caroline says:

    At long last, I finally made my cake this afternoon, it's now in the oven. Fingers crossed! I won't be able to resist cutting a tiny skelp off the side tomorrow to check that, heaven forbid, the frut hasn't sunk. This is my first cake, so my Mum, who has made dozens over the years, helped me!! In her opinion, she thought the mixture was quite runny, compared to her usual recipe, so we'll see..but I'm confident it'll be gorgeous :-))

  43. Elizabeth xx says:

    Firstly, I really appreciate your blog and the effort you take with the photography. Secondly, I am happy to bake this cake after soaking my fruit for only 10 days (after all this is 8 days more than I ever have!! And I am running out of time!!) but will there be consequences in terms of wetness when baking? Let me know if j need to do anything different when baking the cake otherwise Wednesday is cake day!

  44. Ruth says:

    Thanks Elizabeth! – I would just check the fruit it should be very moist but there should only be a tiny bit of liquid not absorbed – if you have more liquid either drain it off or put it the whole lot in a pan and heat over a low heat to reduce the liquid and encourage the fruit to absorb more – that should do the trick! xx

  45. Elizabeth xx says:

    Ha what a greedy heathen I am – made it in a 7 inch tin with a tiny additional one which I am eating straight from the oven !!!
    Yum yum!!

  46. Ruth says:

    Such a good plan Elizabeth – why didn't I think of that? xx

  47. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ruth, I used the boozy fruit but don't want to feed the cake with alcohol – can it be fed with some sort of juice instead? and if I don't have a big enough tin to store it in, will it be ok in layers of greaseproof paper and tinfoil? Thanks, Barbara

  48. Ruth says:

    Barbara – you can feed with tea or a fruit juice – apple or orange but I prefer to just wrap it tightly and leave it to mature on its own without feeding. It will be fine in greaseproof and foil if you don't have a big enough tin. xx

  49. Karen says:

    Hi Ruth, I've not had chance to make my cake yet but my fruit smells quite strong of alcohol. Do you think it will still be alright or might it have fermented?



  50. Ruth says:

    The boozy fruit mixture does smell quite strongly of alcohol, like it might blow your socks off, I'm pretty sure yours will be fine xx

  51. iJod says:

    Hi Ruth – this is the first time I have tried a fruit cake. I have it wrapped up and I have the alcohol in a jar. I have been adding 2 teaspoons every 3 or 4 days and it looks like i have added less that half the total amount, but it seems a bit wet on top. Is this normal..? I have no idea! thanks! 🙂

  52. Ruth says:

    iJod – if it seems wet on top the cake has been fed enough – every cake will vary in the amount it can absorb. Just leave it wrapped up now until it's time to decorate xx

  53. m4f3 says:


    Turned my boozy fruit into a sumptuous cake at the weekend and it turned out fantastic. I have never made a Christmas cake before, thank you so much for the inspiration to have a go!


  54. Anne Marie says:

    Hi Ruth,

    Thats my first ever attempt at making a Christmas cake in the oven baking now – I so enjoyed making it this afternoon and can't wait to share it with my family in a few weeks time. Love your blog 🙂

  55. DaringSpirit says:

    I made this cake a few weeks ago. It cooked in a little under 2 hours and now everyone I tell says that it can't have cooked properly. I tested it in the time honoured way – skewer and pressing the top – and it seems fine. Finally gave in and used an apple corer to remove a section from the middle – was extremely yummy and most definitely cooked.

    I've been feeding it regularly with brandy and it's a thirsty little beastie.

    I covered it in marzipan a few days ago and it's now sitting waiting to be iced.

    Can't wait to see your decorating method 🙂

  56. Hannah says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe – we finally got to eat it for my father's birthday yesterday, and it was fantastic – thankfully there's enough left to hopefully see us through Christmas! Will definitely be making it next year as well.

  57. Jackie says:

    The scrummiest Christmas Cake I have ever tasted! Everyone who has tried it agrees. Thank you so much for this recipe – it's the one I'll use in future!

    Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year¬

  58. Pingback: Boozy Fruit Soak for Christmas Cake | Baking, Recipes and Tutorials - The Pink Whisk

  59. cherrill says:

    my fruitcake is really chewy? i put a bit extra fruit in – figs too, so the skewer never came out completely clear but i had it in 3 hours- so its gotta be done. any clues?

    • It sounds like the fruit hasn’t softened and matured giving you a chewy feel – you don’t mention how long the fruit soaked or the cake was left to mature after baking. Try feeding the cake with brandy whilst it’s maturing which should help to soften the fruit for you x

  60. Lindylou says:

    Hi Ruth, made my cake yesterday which was very easy and made the whole house smell chrismassy! However, the cake did crack quite a bit on top and I wonder if the oven was too hot. Have another batch of boozy fruit nearly ready to make my second cake so wonder if I should reduce oven temp a little?

  61. mandie says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I had my fruit soaking for almost 7 weeks, the cake is now cooked and I’m in the process of feeding it. It looks and smells wonderful and I can’t wait for your instructions on how to decorate. xxx

  62. man cook says:

    Baked mine a little late this year, but with still three weeks for feeding, one to allow marzipan dry, and the last evening to ice, I may just get away with it… Have enough fruit for a second, could do that tomorrow, or keep it and double it for next year….

  63. SwissTwist says:

    I baked my very first christmas cake based on this recipe. It was fun to make and soooo delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  64. Pingback: Christmas Pudding Cake Pops « Tales of pigling bland

  65. claire says:

    Hi can I use dark muscovado and cut the treacle out?

  66. Alison says:

    Hi Ruth,
    I’m baking the cake for my mum and she loves nuts, plan on adding almonds, would 100g require any alterations to your recipe? Thank you for any tips:) x

  67. Milica says:

    Hi Ruth,
    It’s been a month now since I baked my cake, and it is nice and wet now (not too wet, it could soak up a little more), and I was wondering what would happen if I leave it until Christmas, or even New Year’s Eve? I wouldn’t want it to get moldy, it smells great!

  68. Darren Wright says:

    great recipe, i’ve made this two years in a row now (from the book) but have never got the pudding to the point where the skewer comes out clean.

    i figure it’s the amount of sugar + fruit in the mix and the sticky fruit is whats coming out of the cake (have cooked up to 2 hours and still had sticky skewers)

  69. Joyce says:

    Hi Ruth,

    thank you so much for this recipe! I had soaked fruits in the first week of December (having found your website just then) and finally made the cake yesterday just in time for Christmas. This recipe is brilliant! I used molasses instead of treacle and cashews instead of almonds. Thank you! My usual recipe requires beating the egg whites until firm and then combining with the butter-sugar creamed mix. Your recipe was much easier and yet the results were spectacular. thank you!

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