Fruit cake

Fruit cake

Leiths How to Cook
1 x 22–24 cm round cake
Peter Cassidy

The fruit needs to be soaked overnight, so start this cake the day before.


Quantity Ingredient
100g glace cherries
50g chopped mixed peel
450g raisins
275g sultanas
100g currants
1 lemon
2 tablespoons black treacle
200ml beer or sweet sherry
225g butter, softened, plus extra to grease
225g soft dark brown sugar
5 eggs
300g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground mixed spice
100g ground almonds


  1. Halve the cherries, place in a large bowl with the mixed peel, raisins, sultanas and currants. Finely grate the lemon zest and add to the fruit along with the treacle and beer. Stir well, cover and leave overnight in a cool place for the fruit to soak up the beer and become plump.
  2. Heat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 22–24 cm round, deep cake tin.
  3. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy, using a hand-held electric whisk or a wooden spoon.
  4. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork, just to break them up. Add the beaten egg to the creamed butter and sugar in additions, beating well after each addition (about 5 additions will do).
  5. Sift the flour and spice into the bowl and, using a large metal spoon, fold into the mixture. Fold in the ground almonds and finally incorporate the fruit mixture.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Turn a plastic spatula through the middle of the mixture to make a well in the middle, to help to prevent the cake from ‘peaking’ in the middle.
  7. Bake in the lower to middle part of the oven for 2–2½ hours, until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the middle emerges clean, or with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. If there is any soft or undercooked mixture on the skewer, return the cake to the oven for a little longer.
  8. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 10–15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the cooled cake in the greaseproof paper and over-wrap well in foil until ready to use.

A note on storing/maturing…

  • Fruit cakes can be made several months in advance of eating, and their flavour matures with keeping. To avoid the cake drying out, wrap well with foil and ‘feed’ the cake with brandy every 2 weeks. Unwrap the foil and insert a skewer into the cake several times, pushing the skewer almost through to the base. Pour about 2–3 tablespoons brandy over the entire surface of the cake, allow it to seep in, then rewrap well in the foil.
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