Christmas Fruit Cake with Brandy

Christmas Fruit Cake Slice

The time has come to get your Christmas Fruit Cake action on! This recipe, for me at least, needs to be made with brandy. I’m sure there are many wonderful alcohol-free recipes on the web, but this is not one of them. But if you really want to substitute the brandy, you can happily use freshly squeezed orange juice.

Once the cake has been baked it will need cool to the point where you can remove it from the cake tin and you can place it on top of a large sheet of foil. You’ll then brush the brandy on top, wrap in foil and then wrap in gladwrap. Once a week you’ll unwrap the cake, flip in upside down and brush brandy over it. Wrap it in foil and gladwrap again and then wait a week. You’ll flip it each time prior to adding more brandy. You7’ll need a minimum of a week’s worth of soaking for this recipe but you can soak it for a maximum of 4 weeks, which is the ideal soaking period. I know Christmas is around the corner so if you get started now then you’ll have a delicious fruit cake ready for you and your guests. Also, this recipe yields a large cake that’ll happily be able to serve 12-15 pax.

You can also add a buttercream frosting on top of the cake if you’d like but again, I prefer it as is – dangerously so!

Christmas Fruit Cake South African

Christmas Fruit Cake Before Bake

Christmas Fruit Cake Slice

Christmas Fruit Cake with Brandy

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Servings: 12 -15


  • 500 g dried fruit mix dried raisins etc.
  • 200 g orange peel finely diced
  • 200 g glazed cherries whole
  • 200 g pecans roughly chopped
  • 250 g dried dates roughly chopped
  • 250 ml brandy
  • 50 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g butter room temperature
  • 300 g light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs room temperature
  • 200 ml golden syrup
  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g cacao powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 30 g fresh ginger finely diced
  • 2,5 g baking soda
  • 30 ml brandy


  • Add the dried fruit to a large bowl and pour over the brandy. Mix and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. You could also take the traditional route and allow the fruit to soak in the brandy mixture overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celsius and prepare a 25cm cake tin my lining it with one layer of baking paper on the base but 4 layers on the sides. This is to prevent the cake from burning whilst in the oven. Finish off with a spray of non-stick cooking spray.
  • Add the 50g flour to the soaked fruit and set aside.
  • Whisk the butter and sugar together until lighter in colour. Gradually add in the eggs until pale in colour.
  • In a separate but large bowl, add the 360g flour, cacao powder, fresh ginger, baking soda, mixed spice and salt together. Mix slowly until well incorporated.
  • Add the golden syrup and brandy and mix until incorporated. Gradually add in the dried fruit mixture and mix until well incorporated.
  • Add dollops of the fruit cake batter to the lined cake tin. The batter is very thick so gently push it into the corners of the cake time to prevent large air pockets being trapped. Evenly spread the batter, ensuring an even surface.
  • Bake the cake for 25mins at 140 degrees celsius and then lower the heat to 120 degrees celsius and bake for 3 hours.
  • Poke with a toothpick and if there's a smooth release without any batter then your cake is ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled, remove from the cake tin and place on top of a large sheet of foil. Brush 30ml of brandy on top and tightly wrap it in the foil. Finish off by wrapping it in glad wrap and allowing it to rest on the kitchen countertop - away from direct sunlight.
  • The cake must be soaked with 30ml brandy once a week for a minimum of 1 week / maximum 4 weeks. Unwrapping the cake every time, turning it and brushing the brandy on top - ensuring it receives an even coating throughout the weeks. I have pushed the soaking process by soaking it every 4 days for 2 weeks and that was also acceptable.
  • Serve it as is or with custard, cream or even add a layer of buttercream frosting on top if you'd like.


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