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Christmas Cake Recipe by Jacqueline Lanigan Ryan

Makes 1 x 26cm/10inch cake

I have used a lot of recipes for Christmas cake and I like this one the best. It’s a moist rich but not very dark cake with lots of good flavour. If that’s what you like this is the one for you. It is a different recipe from the traditional type you are used to but worth giving it a try. If there are certain dried fruits/nuts that you do not like just use your favourites. It may be currants or cherries so replace whatever you don’t like with your choice of dried fruit/nuts but make sure the total fruit/nut weight remains the same so that the balance/ratio of ingredients is correct.


  • 3 tbsp rum
  • 3 tbsp port
  • 3 tbsp cointreau
  • 3 tbsp whiskey
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 level tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • l level tsp ground cloves
  • 400g/14oz sultanas
  • 400g/14oz seedless raisins
  • 100g/3 ½ oz mixed peel
  • 100g/3 ½ oz mixed cherries
  • 50g/2oz chopped pre soaked prunes
  • 50g/2 oz preserved ginger
  • 50g/2oz glace pineapple
  • 100g/3 ½ oz chopped nuts (almonds/brazil/hazelnuts)
  • 250g/9oz soft butter
  • 250g/9oz soft light brown sugar
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Place all dried fruit, nuts, spices, alcohol and 1 tbsp brown sugar in a large saucepan and warm very gently for 15 minutes not allowing the mix to get very hot. This helps the fruit absorb the alcohol and plump it up. Allow this mix to cool overnight or longer if you wish. Keep it covered. Make the cake batter. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time until they are all added. Sieve flour and baking powder and fold into butter mixture. Stir the fruit mixture into the batter and place in a 26cm/10inch round lined cake tin. Allow this to sit in a cool room overnight and bake the following day. Wrap two layers of brown paper around the outside of the tin and secure with twine. Bake at 150C/300F/Gas 2 for about 3 ½ to 4 hours until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. You may need to cover the top after 2 ½ hours.


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