Mamta's Kitchen

Boiled Fruit Cake (Christmas Cake 2)

Boiled Fruit Cake

Terry Hickingbotham

This fruit cake recipe is quite old. I originally got it from the internet, where there are numerous, minor variations; my mums cake, my dads cake, my grandmas cake and so on. It is a quick fruit cake to make for Christmas, picnics, travel or simply for tea. It does not require you to soak the fruits overnight, so can be made at the last minute. It keeps well & tastes delicious. The recipe is virtually fool proof. I have never had a failure yet. I love it because it is so moist, delicious! It keeps well in a tin.

If you do not want booze/alcohol, you can just use water or some fruit juice, but it tastes much better with the alcohol. Some of the flour can be wholemeal, if you want to be healthy. The top can burn a little sometimes, but you can slice this off & turn it upside down, as with most fruit cakes. Or, you can cover it with aluminium foil for last 25-30 minutes. This amount makes one 7 inch cake or 10-12 cupcakes.


  • 4oz/125 gm. butter or margarine

  • 6oz/180 gm. granulated sugar*

  • 1lb/500 gm. mixed dried fruit**

  • 6 fluid oz./180 ml. water

  • 2 fluid oz./60 ml. sherry or brandy or water or fruit juice

  • 1 level tsp. bicarbonate of soda

  • 1 heaped tsp. mixed spice

  • 2 standard size eggs, lightly beaten

  • 4oz./180 gm. plain flour

  • 4oz./180 gm. self-raising flour

  • *You can use any type of sugar apart from icing

  • **You can use any combination of dried fruit, some glace cherries, cut into quarters, are particularly good.


  1. Grease/line a cake tin approximately 8 inch/20 cm.

  2. Put margarine, sugar, fruit, water, alcohol, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice into a largish saucepan. Bring it to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and allow the fruit to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 150C/ 350F/ Gas mark 4.

  5. Grease and line a 7 inch/17.5 cm. square or 8 inch/20cm. round cake tin.

  6. Mix flours together, keep aside.

  7. Beat the eggs lightly, keep aside.

  8. When the fruit mixture has cooled slightly, it does not have to be cold, transfer it to a mixing bowl.

  9. Sift the flour mix in and add eggs. Fold the flour and eggs in gently.

  10. Pour into prepared tin and cook in the centre of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 to l 1/2 hours. Oven performances vary. Keep an eye on it and if it is getting too brown towards the end of cooking, cover it with a layer of aluminium foil.

  11. Test with a skewer to adjust timing. A skewer or sharp knife inserted into the cake should come out clean when the cake is ready.

  12. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then slide it out gently onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

  13. For making small cakes, use ramekins or a muffin tray, lined with muffin or cupcake liners. This amount will make about 18-20 cupcakes, depending upon how much you fill them. I would fill each cup 2/3rd.

  14. Cook cup-cakes in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked. Test with a skewer to adjust timing. It should come out clean.


  • Notes from Mamta;

  • 1. Christmas cake has some alcohol in it traditionally. This is usually done by feeding it with small amounts of alcohol after baking. Let the cake cool completely. Make a few holes from top, going all the way through, using a skewer. Spoon a little alcohol of choice, like a couple of tablespoons of Sherry or Armagnac or brandy. Place a large piece of coil on kitchen top. Line it with parchment/baking paper. Wrap the cake well in it and store in an airtight box. You can feed it a couple more times at weekly intervals. Store until needed.

  • 2. The day I made it and took pictures, we were in a hurry and it happened to be snowing. So we cooled our boiled fruit by dipping the bowl in the snow!! See picture.

  • 3. Dry Apricot Cake made the same way: This cake can be made with other fruit like dry apricots. You can also add melon/other seeds. See last picture

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