I have a family who love cake and are so appreciative for anything homemade. As I scorn them for the amount they are eating, I am told;

“It’s ok Mum, it’s homemade therefore healthy, all good ingredients and no preservatives”… so it must be then!!

Perhaps that’s the reason I’m now making my third Christmas cake, not that they are in a tin waiting to be decorated…they’ve been eaten!

My first was a light coloured fruit cake, then a rich dark Creole one, my third one, and it will definitely not be cut until Boxing Day, will be my mothers Christmas cake recipe. 

Mum used this recipe year after year, it’s very basic but would actually stay moist for a year if wrapped in greaseproof paper and placed in an airtight tin.

Before starting the cake I line the tin, which was my grandmother’s, with greaseproof paper, and also give the outside of the tin a jacket of double thickness brown paper, this helps prevent the sides of the cake burning as it has to bake for 3-4 hours.





  • 1x 20 or 24cm Cake tin, the 20cm will give you a slightly deeper cake and take a little longer to cook 
  • 350g Plain flour
  • 225g Butter
  • 225g Moist brown sugar
  • 700g Dried mixed fruit, I also include some chopped stem ginger and cranberries within my fruit mix
  • 1 tbsp Black treacle
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp Marmalade
  • 1 wineglass of stout
  • A little milk if needed


  • Cream together butter and sugar
  • Gradually add beaten eggs, adding a little of the flour if eggs start to curdle
  • Add the marmalade and treacle, mixing well
  • Gradually fold in flour, baking powder and nutmeg, alternating with the stout.
  • Continue folding the mixture until evenly mixed, add a little milk if required to give the mixture a soft dropping consistency.
  • Spoon the mixture into the lined tin, resting a piece of brown paper over the top of the lining of the tin, this will help prevent the top of the cake becoming too brown, bake for 3.5 to 4hrs.
  • Leave in the tin to cool slightly before removing from the tin and onto a cooling rack.
  • When cold, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container until you’re ready to decorate it.