Rich Fruit Cake


What celebration is complete without a dark rich moist fruit cake presented with great pride? It takes time to make and cook and is expensive, but always worth the effort. When cool, wrap well in greaseproof paper and foil and store for up to 3 months.

Prepare a 23 cm (9in) round or 20cm (8in) square deep cake tin and preheat the oven to 140°C, 275°F, Gas Mark 1.

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  • 375 g (12 oz) softened butter
  • 375 g (12 oz) soft dark brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 500 g (1 lb) plain flour sifted with 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons black treacle, warmed
  • 5 tablespoons brown ale or milk
  • 375 g (12 oz) currants
  • 375 g (12 oz) sultanas
  • 250 g (8 oz) seedless raisins
  • 250 g (8 oz) pitted prunes, chopped
  • 125 g (4 oz) glace cherries, quartered
  • 125 g (4 oz) candied peel, chopped
  • 125 g (4 oz) blanched almonds or walnuts, chopped
  • Grated rind 1 lemon
  • 3–5 tablespoons brandy or rum


  1. Cream together the butter and sugar well until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the beaten eggs, adding 1 tablespoon of the flour if the mixture looks like curdling. Fold in the spicy flour with a large metal spoon, stirring gently in a figure of eight.
  2. Gently mix in the treacle and ale or milk, all the dried fruits, cherries, peel, nuts and lemon rind. The mixture should be stiff but not dry. Spoon into the prepared tin, and level the top making a slight hollow in the centre so the cake rises level.

  3. Bake in the centre of the oven for 6–6½ hours. Test for doneness, then cool in the tin for 1 hour. Skewer the top and slowly pour in the brandy or rum. Turn out, peel off the paper and invert on to a wire rack to cool completely before wrapping.