Seasonal, Sweet Treats, Yummy Recipes

Boozy Baking and a Squeeze of Lemon in My Tea: Rich Fruit Cake (DIY Wedding Cake)

I thought I’d re-post this recipe for any one getting ready to bake a rich fruit cake for Christmas. Enjoy!  If you have any questions ask them in the comments section and I’ll answer as best I can. I also posted  photo tutorial of How to Feed Your Rich Fruit Cake if you’re planning to mature your cake for a few weeks (or months) you’ll want to keep it nice and moist.

Rich Fruit Cake Recipe Rum I’ve recently been on a mission to make the perfect rich fruit cake and I think I’ve cracked it!  If you’re looking into making your own wedding cake or want a home made fruit cake this Christmas then this recipe is easy, tasty and stores well for months.  I’ll mention alternative ingredients (it’s really flexible) at the bottom of this post.  This recipe is for an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake or a 7 in (18 cm) square cake.  Head over here for the different quantities for different sized tiers.


  • 450g (1 lb) of Currants
  • 175g (6 oz) of Sultanas
  • 175g (6 oz) of Raisins
  • 50g (2 oz) of glacé cherries (rinsed and finely chopped)
  • 50g (2 oz) of mixed peel, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of Brandy
  • 225g (8 oz) of Plain (All Purpose) Flour
  • 1/2 a level teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 a level teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 a level teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 50g (2 oz) of Almonds (chopped, skins on or off)
  • 225g (8 oz) of Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 level dessert spoon of Black Treacle
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
  • 225g (8 oz) of Unsalted Butter
  • 4 eggs
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lemon
  • Grated Rind of 1 Orange

1/ In a large bowl place the currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel and glace cherries.  Add in the spirits (I used dark rum this time).

Give it a stir and cover the bowl with a cloth (I use a clean tea towel).

Leave to soak for a bare minimum of 12 hours.  I soak mine for up to 5 days.  If you’d like to soak them for even longer I’d recommend a glass jar with a lid.  I’ve heard of people soaking their dried fruit for as long as a whole year in a sealed jar in their pantry and just giving it a gentle shake every so often.

2/ Grease and line your tin with greaseproof paper/baking paper.  I’m notorious for throwing caution to the wind and not lining  my cake tin but for fruit cake it’s a must! You’re slow baking this baby for a very long time and you don’t want it to get too brown on the outside.  I even go as far as to double line my tin (I know, shocking given my general laziness).

3/ Preheat your oven to 140C (275F, gas mark 1)

4/ Sift the flour, salt and spices into a bowl. In a seperate large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Whisk your eggs in a small bowl or jug.

5/ This bit is crucial to the success of your cake so don’t rush it. One tablespoon at a time you’ll be adding the eggs to your creamed butter and sugar.  After each addition I find giving it a gentle stir before beating thoroughly with my mixer works best. At some point (normally a few tablespoons in) your mixture may start to look like its going to separate (break/curdle).  Prevent this happening by adding a teaspoon of your flour mixture before continuing on adding the egg.

6/ After the egg has been added fold (don’t beat) in your flour and spice mixture.

7/ Gently stir through the black treacle and the vanilla extract.  Add the grated lemon and orange rinds.

8/ Fold in your soaked fruit and almonds before spooning the mixture into your prepared cake tin.  Smooth the mixture out with the back of a spoon.

9/ Before placing in the oven place a double square of greaseproof/baking paper resting over the top of your cake tin.  Cut a small hole in your square to allow steam to escape (about the size of a 50p coin).

10/ If your oven is fan forced turn the fan off.  Bake your cake on the lower shelf of your oven and resist the urge to open the door for a peek until its been baking for at least 4 hours.

11/ Bake for 4½-4¾ hours

12/ If your oven runs hot or cold and you are baking this cake for a wedding then it may be wise to invest in a thermometer to check the temperature of your oven.  After ending up with black edges a few times I found I needed to bake mine for only 4 hours and at 130C rather than 140C.

{ I always feel bad for the poor naked lemon used and abused for his zest.  The orange naturally gets gobbled up in no time but the lemon sits around till it goes mouldy a day or two later.  In the interest of not wasting the lemon I’ve taken to sitting down with a cup of tea (or 2…or 3) with a squeeze of lemon whilst waiting for the cake to bake }

13/ Remove your cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  Once completely cold wrap it in a double layer of greaseproof paper followed by a layer of aluminium foil.  Store in an airtight tin in a cool, dark spot (like the pantry).

14/ I would recommend leaving your fruit cake to mature for at least a month feeding it with your chosen spirit at regular intervals.  I’ll post a photo tutorial of how to feed your fruit cake next time I feed mine!  For now, basically every now and then (weekly if you’re eating it in a month or even once a month if this is a 6 month endeavor) unwrap your cake and make a few holes with a skewer in the top.  Using a pastry brush and a few tablespoons of spirits in a glass or bowl gently brush over the top of your cake.  It will soak in nicely then wrap your cake back up in its layers and store it back in its tin.   For a photo step-by-step here’s my post on Feeding Your Fruit Cake. Recipe adapted from Delia’s found here.


Alcohol for Soaking I’ve used Brandy, Dark Rum and Apricot Brandy with great results.  A few other alcoholic options are Cointreau, Sherry and Red Wine & Brandy.  For a non-alcoholic version you can use strong black tea or orange juice.  If you choose not to use alcohol you will need to store your cake in the freezer after the first few weeks to prevent spoilage without alcohol to preserve it.  I’m going to try soaking in Tia Maria for my next attempt.  I’ll report back on how it goes.

Dried Fruit I like the meatiness of the currants in this recipe as they’re not overly sweet (goodness knows there’s enough sugar in this recipe) but you can mix and match really any dried fruits of your choice as long as the weight is the same.  A few suggestions:  dried cranberries in place of raisins, chopped dried prunes in place of sultanas.

Other Flavours You can use ground cinnamon in place of nutmeg.  You can add a little orange juice/lemon juice or a bit of marmalade.  Just keep in mind that for every tablespoon of added liquid you’ll need approximately 1 ounce of extra flour.

16 thoughts on “Boozy Baking and a Squeeze of Lemon in My Tea: Rich Fruit Cake (DIY Wedding Cake)”

  1. How does this taste right out of the oven? I don’t think I could wait for it to be mature. 4 HOURS?? It bakes for 4 HOURS?? Is this why fruit cake has such a lousy reputation? Because it was baked months before hand and it’s basically harden like a rock? Does the alcohol keep it moist?

    I can’t get black treacle here. Vegemite and Marmite, yes, black treacle, no. That wouldn’t be like molasses, would it?

  2. It is a bit fiddly and I curse the “bright idea” to start making a fruit cake moments after I start adding the eggs 1 tablespoon at a time (painful!) but it’s worth it to me in the end. I must admit the “soaking” taking 5 or so days comes down to me procrastinating starting the silly thing…oops 😉

    It tastes fine straight out of the oven Irene! The flavours just won’t be as developed. It is still very moist after months, even the fruit cake I pulled out last month that I had forgotten to “feed” with alcohol since February (oops) was very moist. Feeding it does definitely keep it more moist though so I’d definitely recommend it, more booze is always a plus too 😉

    Just did some googling and yes, black treacle is the same thing as molasses!

  3. Now you see, this wouldn’t last 2 days in my house. The kids would demolish it! I would have to hide it or keep yelling at them not to taste it.

    How on earth does it stay that moist for so long? I guess the alcohol acts like a preservative.

  4. The cake’s pretty dense with all that fruit and it doesn’t rise as much as, say a sponge cake so there’s not a lot of fluff in between all the fruit. The alcohol and high sugar content in the dried fruit definitely helps to preserve it too (along with keeping it in an air tight container and in a cool dark place).

    I normally bake these when the kids aren’t home and then hide them, lol. Much easier to hide baked goods from under 12’s then full grown adults though!

    To be honest I only got into the fruit cake making thing because I’ve ummed and ahed over starting a wedding cake business from home. Which is probably why I’m so “into” it. I do think its pretty yummy too 🙂 I’ve experimented with lots of different combos for that reason too (give brides options) but I’m not so sure how my decorating skills will hold up. I can bake just about anything but making it look pretty isn’t in my skill set.

    I haven’t given up hope yet though…and at least baking “practice” cakes makes me seem productive 😉

  5. Excellent! I love fruitcake and a Jamaican friend used to make us a Jamaican “Black Cake” (their version of fruitcake made with dark rum) every year. Now she’s too old. I don’t understand why fruitcake is so maligned. Your post may just jog me into giving it a try. Fine, illustrative photos–tack sharp and well-composed! Thanks.


  6. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Ken! I love a good fruit cake too, especially at Christmas time. My mother-in-law always brought along the rich fruit cake at Christmas but then we moved across to the other side of the world and the task fell on me. I hadn’t heard of Jamaican Black Cake but just googled it…wine AND dark rum, sounds delicious! Thank you for the comments on my photos, I’m definitely a beginner but nice to know I’m moving in the right direction.

  7. just made our fruit cake yummy smell, will enjoy eating it on christmas day….and will try not to feed it to much 😉


  8. Hi Annabel 🙂

    So glad the recipe worked well for you, we’re looking forward to gobbling up our fruit cake on Christmas day too!

    Thanks for letting me know how yours turned out, I love the feed back 🙂

  9. Hello I know this is an old post but its the best looking moist fruit cake iv come across, so I hope you reply.
    I am making my own wedding cake and just wondered how deep your 8″ cake tin you used was? I am hoping to make this for a round 8″ x 5″ deep tin. Can anyone tell me if I should do the recipe 1 1/2 or just double it to be safe.
    Kat x

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