> Skip to content

Recipe  •  13 May 2016


Christmas cake from Margaret

Try this free recipe from The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander.

This recipe originally came from a family friend and, as always seems to happen, there have been a few changes made along the way. As with all products that use dried fruit it is important to buy the best quality, as the final result can vary considerably. The cake is best made a few weeks before Christmas and can be covered with a layer of marzipan and iced with Royal Icing, if desired. (I do not do this, as many people, especially children, dislike the bitter almond flavouring in marzipan and will pick it off the cake.)




  • 270 g sultanas, roughly chopped
  • 270 g currants
  • 270 g seeded raisins, chopped
  • 120 g Australian dried apricots, chopped
  • 60 g prunes, stoned and chopped
  • 140 ml brandy
  • 270 g softened unsalted butter
  • 60 g mixed peel
  • 40 g slivered almonds
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250 g dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon black treacle or golden syrup
  • whole blanched almonds for decoration


Put dried fruit into a large glass or ceramic bowl and add 100 ml of the brandy. Soak overnight. Next day, preheat oven to 150°C (if you have a fan-forced oven, preheat it to 140°C). Grease a 22 cm x 7 cm deep round cake tin well with 20 g of the butter and line with a double thickness of baking paper or brown paper.

Put mixed peel and slivered almonds into a large bowl and coat with a little of the flour to prevent clumping. Sift remaining flour with baking powder and spices. Cream brown sugar and remaining butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flour mixture alternately, then add soaked fruit, treacle, and almond mixture. Mix well. Turn mixture into prepared tin and scoop centre into a slight hollow to allow for rising. Place whole almonds in a circular pattern around edges of cake.

Bake for 3 hours. Insert a fine skewer and, if it does not come out clean, reduce oven to 110°C and check again after 15 minutes. When cooked, remove from oven and drizzle remaining brandy over cake. Allow to cool completely in tin before turning out. Wrap cake in several layers of greaseproof paper and then in foil and store in an airtight cake tin until Christmas Day.

Smaller cakes: If you wish to make 3 smaller cakes, use 3 x 13 cm x 6.5 cm deep round tins. For 2 log cakes, use 2 x 25 cm x 10 cm x 6.5 cm rectangular tins. Cook for 2 hours.


The Cook's Companion Stephanie Alexander

The Cook's Companion has established itself as the kitchen 'bible' in over 500,000 homes since it was first published in 1996. In 2004, Stephanie Alexander added over 300 new recipes as well as 12 new chapters in an updated edition. This latest revision includes two major new chapters, two expanded chapters, 70 new recipes and a complete revision of the text to reflect changes in the marketplace and new regulations.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all recipes
Glaze for baked ham

Try Stephanie Alexander’s Baked Ham Glaze from The Cook's Companion.

Roasted Christmas turkey roll

Try this free recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook's Companion.

Berry pancakes

Thick, spongy pancakes from The Cook’s Apprentice – perfect for a special breakfast.

The versatile meatball

Burgers, curry, pasta and parties – this meatball recipe from The Cook’s Apprentice works for them all.

Chocolate self-saucing pudding

A sumptuous pudding with a magical, delectable sauce from The Cook’s Apprentice.

Pumpkin and honey bread

A delicious loaf from The Cook’s Apprentice that’s perfect for morning or afternoon tea.

Porcini ragù

Mushroom lovers rejoice! This flavour-packed vegetarian main dish from the co-author of bestselling Ottolenghi FLAVOUR, Ixta Belfrage, is sure to impress


This divine paella dish is sure to be loved by all.

Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean-Stuffed Peppers

These delicious stuffed peppers are a hearty addition to your weekly meal rotations.

Pork and Caramelised Apple Sausage Rolls

We’ve sealed the deal on these pork sausage rolls by adding a sweet apple mixture to bring them to life.

Creamy Garlic Chicken (Slow Cooker)

This irresistible creamy garlic sauce will work well with chicken, pork or veal, or for a vegetarian option use root vegetables.

Tray-Bake Ginger Beef Meatballs with Vegetables

A tray-bake twist on the standard stir-fry!

Looking for more recipes?

See all recipes