The Last-Minute Christmas Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy Christmas cake that can be made just two days in advance! Packed with boozy fruits and baked low and slow.
Makes: 8" cake
  • For the fruit
  • 400 gms mixed peel
  • 50 gms glace cherries
  • 200 gms cranberries
  • 50 gms raisins
  • 1 cup beer, any kind
  • ½ cup whiskey, any kind
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsps honey

  • For the cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg powder
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • ¾ butter, room temperature (200 gms)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  1. First, prepare the fruit. In a food processor, blitz the peel and cherries tilI they are chopped small. Add to a a large, deep saucepan with all the other ingredients for the fruit.

  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring often. Set aside to cool completely at room temperature, then preferably transfer to an airtight tin and chill overnight.

  3. When ready to bake, grease an 8" or 9" springform tin, then line with three layers of baking paper*. Preheat the oven to 150 C.

  4. Sift the flour, spices and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar till fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture till combined.

  6. Add the cooked and cooled fruit and mix well. The batter will be thick. Spoon into the prepared tin, smoothening the top.

  7. Bake for 1 hour, then cover the top with foil and bake for about 2 hours more, until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. The batter is dense and heavy and so has more baking powder than normal, so some cracking might take place, especially if your oven has hot spots like mine does. It's all good.

  8. Let the cake cool completely at room temperature, then poke holes in the top with a toothpick or broader instrument, and drizzle spoonfuls of rum, brandy or whiskey over the holes. Allow to soak, then remove the cake from the tin, keeping the baking paper intact, cover completely in foil and let it rest overnight.

  9. Slice on Christmas morning and have a very merry time :)
*You should have about 700 to 750 gms of fruit, feel free to play around with the varieties. Dried fig works beautifully!

*You can add about ½ cup of any nuts to the batter.

*To line the cake tin, I pressed down three large rectangular sheets of baking paper into it, placing one vertically, then one horizontally, then one vertically again so that the sides are well-covered and there is enough of an overhang. If you have the time, and want to avoid the batter seeping into the folds between the sheets, cut out three round pieces of paper to line the bottom, then three long strips, pressing them firmly against the sides.

*Prep-time does not include overnight chilling or cake cooling time.
Recipe by The Desserted Girl at