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Traditional Christmas cake recipe rich with fruit

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This is our family’s traditional Christmas cake recipe. It’s a fruit cake similar to a Dundee cake recipe. It is very rich and utterly delicious. 

Traditional Christmas cake recipe

Traditional Christmas cakes come in lots of shapes and sizes.

Most traditional cake recipes involve large quantities of dried fruit enriched with spices and alcohol.

At their best, Christmas cakes are luxuriantly moist without being heavy or sickly sweet.

We have our own traditional Christmas cake recipe that has been used in our family for over 40 years. 

It’s based on a Scottish recipe, it’s most like a Dundee cake and I think our recipe meets every traditional standard. 

The recipe is based on a Dundee fruit cake from my mum’s wonderful old Bero cookbook.

Her adaptation of the recipe includes a large glass of sweet sherry. 

Stir up Sunday 

We tend to make our Christmas cakes on Stir Up Sunday, which is the last Sunday before Advent. 

But you can make the cake closer to Christmas. It just won’t have quite as much time to achieve maximum richness!

I can assure you it will still taste delicious though – I have skipped Stir Up Sunday in the past and still had success. 

We then ice the cakes around the 20th December – or five days before it will be first eaten. 

We put a layer of almond paste under royal icing to decorate our cake. 

I’ve included ingredients for the cake, almond paste and royal icing below. 

Traditional Christmas cake recipe rich with fruit

Ingredients for the cake

  • 10 oz Butter
  • 10 oz Soft Brown Sugar
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Treacle
  • 10 oz Plain Flour
  • 14 oz Currants
  • 10 oz Sultanas
  • 10 oz Raisins
  • 2 oz fairly finely grated orange, lemon & lime peel


  1. Soak all the dried fruit & candied peel in a glass of sweet sherry over night
  2. Cream butter & sugar
  3. Stir in treacle and beaten eggs
  4. Sieve and stir in the flour
  5. Mix in the dried fruit and candied peel
  6. Put the cake in a lined tin … 9 inch round or 8 inch square … and cover the top with a double layer of brown paper interleaved with a layer of greaseproof paper
  7. Cook for 4 to 5 hours at 135-150c / 275-300f
  8. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven wrap it in foil in it’s cooking tin to cool
  9. When the cake has cooled, remove from foil and tin, wrap in clean foil and put in a good storage tin

Ingredients for the almond paste

  • 8oz Icing Sugar
  • 8oz Caster Sugar
  • 16oz Ground Almonds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 ml vanilla essence


  1. Sift icing sugar
  2. Mix caster sugar and ground almonds
  3. Add the vanilla essence and keep adding the beaten eggs until it all comes together into a dough which is stiff enough to be kneaded
  4. Cover the fruit cake with a very very thin layer of sieved marmalade or apricot jam or egg white
  5. Roll out the almond paste into two pieces to fit the sides and then the top
  6. Leave the almond paste to settle for at least 24 hours and ideally 2 or 3 days before icing

Ingredients for the Royal Icing

This royal icing recipe will make enough for one lot of rough snow storm icing or two layers of smooth icing.

If you’re doing two layers of icing, you need to leave the first layer for 24 hours before adding the second.

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2lb icing sugar


  1. Double or even triple sift the icing sugar.
  2. Separate the eggs, gently stir them and then mix in half the icing sugar and beat firmly for a good five arm-aching minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes covered with damp cloth or greaseproof paper.
  3. Slowly stir in the rest of the icing sugar until the spoon will temporarily stand in it for smooth icing or it will form stiff peaks if you’re doing rough icing
  4. You can either ice straight away with it … or even better … let it sit in an airtight container for 12 hours before using

I hope that you absolutely love this cake as much as we do. 

I’d love to think this recipe goes on to become a traditional recipe in your family. 

If you’re looking for inspiration for decorating your Christmas cake, we’ve got a post packed with ideas for traditional and non-traditional ways to ice your Christmas cake

There’s also a whole Christmas section with plenty of ideas and inspiration for every aspect of creating a lovely Christmas for you and your family. 

Plus a special Homemade Christmas section for ideas on making Christmas decorations, gifts, food and more. 

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This tradtional fruit Christmas cake recipe has been used in our family for over 40 years. It's based on a Dundee cake, which is a popular rich, moist and light dried fruit cake in Scotland. I really hope that you try this recipe, love it and that it becomes part of your family's Christmas traditions too. The recipe includes a recipe almond paste and royal icing #Christmas #Xmas #ChristmasCake #ChristmasCakeRecipe

Abhijit Sarkar

Monday 9th of December 2013

wonderful recipe, I just cant wait to try to make this christmas cake

Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes

Thursday 21st of November 2013

This sounds like a wonderful cake :) Thanks so much for linking up to last week's Freedom Fridays :) I hope you'll join us again this week! {hugs}

cooking with curls

Friday 15th of November 2013

I will never forget the year my grandmother hand carried her Christmas Cake all the way from Newcastle to California, back when you could carry food onto planes! I had forgotten all about the old Bero cookbook!! I will need to add that to my mother's list for her will, lol :) Thanks so much for the memories Alice!!

Jaime Oliver

Thursday 14th of November 2013

I love Christmas cake but no one else in my house does :-(

Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

Monday 11th of November 2013

I love Christmas cake, I made mine one week ago. Visiting from marvellous Monday's. Laura@baking in pyjamas