Is It Too Soon?

Some would say, ‘Yes, it’s not even December’.  Some would say, ‘No, it’s the perfect time’. They always used to do it in November!

Of course, I’m talking about making my Christmas Cake.  I made mine last week and I’m so happy I have ticked that off my to do list.

The History

For the last few years I’ve been using a recipe shared with me by a grand old lady – my friend Tim’s Aunty Doreen. Today I’m going to share it with you. Of course, you could use this recipe to make a birthday cake or other special occasion cake.

After she shared her recipe with me, she instantly became my surrogate Aunty Doreen too (in my head anyways).

Unfortunately, Aunty Doreen passed away last week at the ripe old age of 90, so I wanted to take a moment to honour her and show you some of her work, as well as share with you her recipe.

Note: I have her family’s permission to share this and I know that’s what she would have wanted as she was so happy to share it with me.

Here she is at her 90th birthday party.  She didn’t make this cake but she made the ones that follow.

Isn't it amazing!

This one is my absolute favourite.

I received this recipe via a phone call where she literally gave me a list of ingredients and said, “bung it all in together" and put it in the oven.

I asked for more details and she explained. Now I’m going to share her best tips and recipe with you.

The Ingredients

The ingredients in this cake are very simple. Eggs, flour, butter, sugar, milk, a few more and of course fruit.  

Yes, that's right. 1.3 kilograms (2.86 pounds) of fruit!

This cake also has a good quantity of sherry or fortified wine. This is a staple in my pantry, I use it in so many things.

What makes this cake (and any other fruit cake) special are the spices.

We use a mixture of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Mixed Spice. I love a really spicy cake so I may have been guilty of adding a little more than the recipe called for.

Preparing the Cake Pan

For the last few years I have made my cake in two square tins but this year I decided to try something different so I made it in a round tin. This worked so much better.

I used a cake pan that is 23cm (9¼ inches) across and 8.5cm (3¼ inches) high. Mine is an old Ikea springform pan. My cooked cake rose to fill the cake pan to the top. If you wanted, you could split the mixture between two tins (which is what I’ve done in the past).

Unfortunately, the Ikea pans are no longer available but you could use one of these.

Rachel Ray Springform Pan from Amazon
Jamie Oliver Springform Pan from Amazon

Even though the cake tin is non-stick, I still line it.  This helps to ensure the cake comes out nicely but it also helps protect the cake a little from the heat.

Here’s How I Line It:

First, cut a piece of silicone baking paper on the bench. Place your cake on on the top.

Take a pencil and draw around the outside of the tin.

Cut the circle out and place it in the bottom of the cake pan.

Next, cut four pieces that are approximately 15cm (6 inches) wide.

Lay those around the sides of the pan, overlapping the bottom and folding them over the top as shown below. Make sure every piece of the cake pan is covered.

It doesn’t matter that the paper pops up a bit, it will sit down once the cake goes in.

Of course,if you don’t want to do this you could purchase a pre-cut paper lining but in my opinion it’s important to line the sides as well.  

You may wish to cut another circle at this time.  Sometimes during the cooking process you need to lay an extra piece of parchment paper on top of the cake to stop the top from burning.  I’ve never needed to with this cake, but I have with others. It really depends on your oven too.

Making the Cake

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees celsius (248 Fahrenheit).

This cake is really very simple to make. In fact, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make this amazing fruit cake.

First, break the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a whisk.

Next, add the melted butter and whisk again.

Mix the Golden Syrup with about a tablespoon of boiling water.  If you don’t know what Golden Syrup is, you can read about it here.

Mix the Golden Syrup/water mix and the Sherry into the mixture.

Then add the rest of the ingredients except the fruit. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Next weigh out the fruit.

Then mix the fruit into the cake mixture. Make sure you mix it well until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the lined tin.

Put the cake into the oven and bake for three hours. I checked my cake at two hours and 45 minutes.  It actually took about 3.5 hours for my cake to cook.  Check it by inserting a skewer.  When it comes out clean, your cake is cooked.

I took my cake out of the oven and left it in the cake pan on top of a cooling rack for a while to cool a bit before I carefully lifted it out onto the cooling rack.

Warning: This cake is really heavy. Be careful when you lift it to ensure it doesn’t crack.


As I made this cake six weeks before Christmas I will be storing it until I’m ready to ice it. I use my Tupperware Collapsible Cake Taker.

You could also use this one.

Rubbermaid Cake Keeper from Amazon

I do plan to ice my cake in the next few weeks.

Get the Cake Drunk

Over the time until Ice it, I might be seen sploshing a little whiskey over the top a few times a week. This gives the cake that extra little kick.

If you're not ready to make your Christmas Cake yet, pin this recipe until you are. You don't want to forget it!

This cake tastes amazing and is really easy to make.

Now let's get to the recipe.

Aunty Doreen’s Christmas Cake


  • 1.3kg  (2.86 pounds) Mixed Fruit
  • 4 Cups Plain Flour
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ¾ Cup Sherry or Fortified Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Boiling Water
  • 1 ½ Cups Brown Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ Teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 250 Grams (8.8 ounces) Melted Butter


Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celsius (248 Fahrenheit).

Line a 23cm (9¼ inches) x 8.5cm (3¼ inches) high springform pan with parchment paper. You could split the mixture between two smaller tins as this makes a giant cake – it will rise to fill the pan.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.

Add the melted butter and whisk again.

Mix the Golden Syrup with the boiling water, add the Sherry and mix into the egg/butter mixture.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add the fruit and mix well, ensuring all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Pour into cake pan and bake for 3-3.5 hours. If needed add a piece of parchment to the top of the cake while cooking to stop the top from burning.  

Cool and store until required.

November 26, 2020