Wednesday 17 November 2010

Quick and Easy Christmas Fruit Cake

A few days ago, I suddenly had a huge craving for fruit cake. Maybe because the nights are coming in and every shop is dressed up for Christmas already. Maybe because I'm starting to get excited about going home and having Christmas with my family. 

Or maybe just because our boiler has broken and we're in the middle of some cold, damp weather without any heating or hot water. Making this cake meant I could fill the house with comforting warm scents as the fruit mixture bubbled away on the stovetop, and that I could use the oven and get some warmth at least into the kitchen.

I really like this recipe - it's so unbelievably simple and all made in one big pan. It has great taste and doesn't go dry like a lot of fruit cakes. I like mine almost fudgy in the middle, but you can cook yours for a bit longer if you like.  I'm also not a huge icing/marzipan/masses of glace fruits fan on fruit cakes, but feel free to go for it. Personally, I think a good fruit cake is glorious in its own right. 

So if you don't fancy stirring up a cake this weekend, be safe in the knowledge that you could happily make this one in several weeks time and still have a gorgeous cake. 

Quick and Easy Christmas Fruit Cake
(adapted from Nigella's Feast)

515g good quality mixed dried fruit - I used currants, raisins and sultanas
115g unsalted butter
165g dark muscavado sugar
165g chestnut puree
85ml brewed tea
juice and zest of an orange
zest of a lemon
2 large eggs, beaten
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Put the dried fruit, butter, sugar, puree, tea, orange juice and zests in a large saucepan. Bring gently to the boil, stirring regularly.  Simmer for ten minutes then turn the heat off and let the mixture cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150C. Line a 6" tin (or large if you want a shallower cake) with two layers of baking parchment and then secure two layers of brown paper around the outside with some string - all of these should be twice as high as the tin. 

After the 30 minutes is up, stir in the flour, baking powder, spices and beaten eggs. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, until the top is firm and slightly cracked and a tester comes out slightly sticky.  Take the brown paper off and then cool in the tin. 

(Around 20 slices)


  1. Christmas isn't complete without fruit cake :) every year stores would fill up with these rich cakes in the weeks preceeding the festival. I love them. Yours looks like I just want a slice right now! :)

  2. I just love your fruit cake!

  3. The addition of chestnut puree is great! I must try it!

  4. hi, i discovered your lovely blog just today and came across this recipe while browsing. my family loves fruit cake and this recipe sounds simple. except i don't know if i can easily get chestnut puree in singapore ... is there a substitute?

  5. poiresauchocolat17 May 2013 at 20:51

    I'm not sure actually, I've never tried any substitutions. Could you get hold of some frozen or fresh chestnuts? Then you could puree them yourself.

  6. will try it as soon as i can and let you know how it turns out. thanks for the quick replies, really appreciate it!


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