Gramum's Christmas Cake Recipe

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 Updated 22/06/2015

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An excellent Christmas cake recipe passed down through many generations. Originates from Tring in Hertfordshire, England. Traditionally served at Christmas teatime.


  • 12oz (1 1/2 cups) raisins
  • 1lb (2 cups) currants
  • 12oz (1 1/2 cups) sultanas
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) almonds
  • 6oz (3/4 cup) mixed peel
  • 12oz (1 3/4 cups) moist brown sugar
  • 4oz (1/2 cup) glace/candied cherries
  • grated rind of half a lemon and the juice of 1 lemon
  • 12oz (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 12oz (3 cups) plain flour
  • 1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 level teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 level tablespoon black treacle
  • at least 2 tablespoons brandy, rum or sherry as preferred plus extra to "feed" cake when baked.
(see measure conversions for more information on quantites)


  1. Grease a 9-10 inch tin.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and grated lemon rind until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Mix dry ingredients together well.
  5. Add to creamed butter etc.
  6. Add treacle.
  7. Combine thoroughly.
  8. Mix in the chosen alcohol and lemon juice (add a little extra if the mixture seems too stiff) to form a dropping consistency.
  9. Turn into lined tin, ensure there are no pockets of air and the surface of the mixture is flat.
  10. Tie a double band of brown paper around the tin approximately 3 inches above the rim of the tin.
  11. Place in oven one rung below the middle at 160 degrees centigrade (see temperature conversions).
  12. Bake for 2 hours and then reduce heat to 150 degrees centigrade for a further 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  13. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.
  14. Remove paper and turn cake upside down and make holes with a steel knitting needle or cocktail stick.
  15. Pour in extra spirit and leave cake upside down until the spirit has been absorbed.
  16. Wrap the cake in fresh grease proof paper and leave for at least 48 hours before icing.
  17. Before icing, the cake can be stored for up to 2 months wrapped in foil.
  18. Keep "feeding" the cake with alcohol until you are ready to put almond icing and then royal icing onto it.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 240 minutes

Yield: 6 - 10 portions


I have used this cake recipe every year for the last 6 years every one who has had one or a piece of Christmas cake can't believe how rich moist and fantastic tast thank you so much for this cake 10 out of 10
#44 - alan - 11/12/2015 - 11:53
I'm really looking forward to making this cake at Christmas. One of my friends pointed me to your site and I'm impressed with the number or recipes.
#43 - peter - 06/22/2015 - 06:27
Please can u tell me how to make almond icing and royal icing and a photo
#42 - Rizmina Riyas - 12/08/2010 - 08:59
Is this cake light or dark?
#41 - Gloria Upton - 11/15/2010 - 10:49
i like the christman cake recipe pls could you send it to my mail box for thanks
#40 - - 11/08/2010 - 08:34
hi, could you please tell me, if i were to make this cake with this recipe, but put it into smaller cake tins[i.e like little individual cheesecake tins] would it still work and also how long would i have to bake them for? many thanks for your input
#39 - anne mestre - 11/07/2010 - 05:37
could you gave me a recipe for a 12" xmas cake please
#38 - rose - 11/03/2010 - 13:23
I loved your recipe Ithink it really looks so yummy which I will be doing it next week so when christmas comes we can have it and I will be passing your recipe to my indian friends please send more or your yummy recipes thank you
#37 - Ranju - 11/02/2010 - 05:02
Is Irish cream whiskey a suitable alcoholic drink to feed a Christmas cake with? I have quite a lot of whiskey left and need to find a use for it.
#36 - J M - 10/23/2010 - 08:41
Keep the cake moist by making holes in the bottom with a knitting needle and "feeding"brandy into the holes on a weekly basis.
#35 - mary - 10/07/2010 - 04:15
I have been looking for an traditional xmas cake and easy step cake making.
Is this a moist or dry Christmas cake?
Have you any tips on how to keep your cake moist?
#34 - emmy - 10/06/2010 - 10:25
I would love to have the recipe passed down from Grandma for the Xmas Cake that has just been shown on TV but I did not have a pen handy Sunday 29th August 2010 It looked delicious
#33 - Doris Goldie - 08/29/2010 - 03:09
No. One cup of flour = 4oz. Therefore 3 cups = 12oz.
#32 - mary - 12/31/2009 - 10:20
needs it 3 cups flour or 12oz?
#31 - dave - 12/31/2009 - 09:58
help me bake cake
#30 - jasper - 12/24/2009 - 05:58
i want a christmas recipe for dinner
#29 - anna - 12/21/2009 - 12:56
this cake allways turns out a mess but finally i have made it and it is nice
#28 - alison - 12/20/2009 - 10:58
Thank you for this! Have made an cake using this recipe and it came out really well. Just literally finished making another. (:

#27 - Rachal - 12/18/2009 - 14:29
this xmas cake looks good and nice every one who made it before must like it.
many thanks
#26 - paige acred - 12/14/2009 - 04:13
how do you mix the icing sugar and how to coat it to the cake
#25 - tango - 12/11/2009 - 07:28
your method point " tie the double band of brown paper around the tin- approximately 3 inches above the rim..." HOW Do we tie the
brown paper above the rim 3"...
Can you please explain.
Thanks N Regards.
#24 - anju - 12/09/2009 - 21:49
See wikipedia page on mixed spice for more info:

#23 - James - 12/03/2009 - 07:46
I live in Italy and can't find mixed spice.What does this consist of so I can mix my own?
Terry hughes
#22 - terrence hughes - 12/03/2009 - 05:46
Can I soak the fruit in rum for a week. Are the fruit and nuts added with dry ingredients, and what can I replace the treacle with. Thanks
#21 - Robyn Smith - 11/28/2009 - 02:20
thaks for the recipes
#20 - kantha - 11/11/2009 - 23:22
My mum alway's made my cake,and i have just tried your recipe out before making it for christmas, I can honestly say it is as good as the one's made by my mum..
#19 - marian wykman - 09/16/2009 - 16:21
Thank you so much for this recipe, I lost my old favorite and tried a few others but they were not as good. I am inspired once again!
#18 - carol hattam - 08/21/2009 - 01:53
I think this looks better & a good recipe I want find out how many days can keep this cake.
#17 - hiranthie peiris - 11/12/2008 - 00:20
just wondered if it would work ok if i substituted something else for the black treacle? possibly golden syrup??
#16 - Julie - 11/11/2008 - 07:25
is this cake the dark or light cake
#15 - lillian wichert - 11/03/2008 - 08:29
When do you add the treacle??? I presume also the flour is classed as dry ingredients?
#14 - Emma - 10/21/2008 - 09:33
this looks like a good recipe. I'm going to make three today. I have soaked my fruit in the alcohol for a week (i have added a little extra). This will make it have a good rich flavour all through the cake when cooked. Its ok for the kids too.
#13 - chrissy - 10/14/2008 - 01:20
is this cake really good?
#12 - THE girl - 12/19/2007 - 15:20
I have been making the christmas cake for the past 26 years, this year the top of the cake remained clammy or sticky. Can i know what happened and how i can improve it
#11 - marthy - 12/12/2007 - 03:35
i made this cake because it sounded really was really delious cake i ever had

thanks for the recipe
#10 - kista - 12/07/2007 - 09:39
i have made this cake using your recipe and i loved it so much im going to make it again im 14 and love to cook and hope i can try lots nmore recipes like this!
#9 - Louise - 12/03/2007 - 10:00
I have made this cake because it sounded so good. Should this cake be kept in the refrigerator? I do not have a cool place to keep it and wondered if a centrally house is too warm for it.

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

#8 - Glenys Norman-Kukurudz - 11/29/2007 - 10:57
i love ur recipes
#7 - - 11/26/2007 - 18:31
i look forward to making this cake ni usually make my own but i have lost my recipe it ws called kim's cake and it was a excellant one too!!

do you need to nadd all these spices?
i don't remeber putting all those in my cakes before '
#6 - mrs dawes - 11/23/2007 - 03:40
Joy Marlborough makes me laugh - giving a teaching lesson about "librum and libra" when she says she likes "the sound of the receipt". Didn't know receipts had such a nice smell!! Surely not a mistake???
#5 - Al - 11/18/2007 - 14:57
#4 - COLLEEN - 11/13/2007 - 08:57
Actually the origin of the abbreviation is the latin word libra a feminine noun with the plural librae. The s added to lb is just common usage to denote a plural.
#3 - ellie - 11/04/2007 - 11:07
Yes, if you grease the tin before lining it the greaseproof paper will stick to the tin and make it easier to fill the tin properly with the cake mixture (ie to get a better shaped cake). But feel free to follow your usual method! Dry ingredients includes fruit and nuts - anything that is not liquid.
#2 - mary - 11/04/2007 - 10:22
This sounds like a good old recipe but you say 'grease the tin' then later you mention the 'lined' tin. Do you do both? Also you talk of the dry ingredients being mixed together. Does this include the fruit and nuts?
#1 - gay gilhespy - 11/04/2007 - 06:31
I like the sound of this receipt and think I'm going to use it, but will have to wait as I don't have the almonds in the house.
At the side of your recipe there is a small oblong with a note about fat burning and it uses the lb. for pound in weight. How irritating it is to see lbs. as 'lb.' stands for both singular and plural being librum (s) and libra (pl).
#0 - joy marlborough - 11/04/2007 - 06:24
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