All About Food: Simple Christmas cake

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

All About Food: Simple Christmas cake

Gingergirl's festive loaf cake is quick and easy

Welcome to all about food. I can totally justify this week’s recipe now that Halloween is over! I must say, I would happily put up our Christmas tree now but I think my husband would strongly object I’m so in love with Christmas that my 2 young daughters (aged 9 and 7) have told me that they think I get even more excited than they do and I think they might be right! Happy baking!

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

I need to downsize my Christmas Cake recipe – I’m thinking that a 2lb loaf tin size would be best. I’m looking for a recipe that is more than the standard boiled cake. Can you recommend a recipe?

Thanks in anticipation,


Hello Claire,

It seems that most of us are moving away from the larger Christmas Cakes which is probably not a big surprise with the increase of availability for festive treats and the smaller family size, amongst other factors, at play. In my own family, only one of my daughters and I actually like Christmas Cake – I love a small slice with an espresso on Christmas morning; stealing a few moments to collect my thoughts before Christmas dinner preparation gets underway. This recipe is one I have altered to suit my own taste, like you, I want some tradition with a little twist. Do note that this cake is so full of flavour that you can wait until a few days before Christmas to make it; simply wrap up the cooled cake and store in an air-tight container until you can resist it no more!

Festive Loaf Cake

150g raisins

50g dried cranberries or dried sour cherries

50g dried apricots, chopped

100g dried figs, chopped

1 orange, zested and juiced

Zest of one lemon

250ml brandy

115g butter, plus extra melted for the tin

115g muscovado sugar

4 large eggs, beaten

120g of self-raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

60g bread crumbs

150g dark chocolate chips

80g chopped pecans and hazelnuts

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Icing sugar, to serve

Tip the fruit into a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 150ml of the brandy. Stir well, then leave at room temperature for 2 hours for the fruit to plump up.

Heat your oven to 150˚C fan. Brush a 900g loaf tin with the melted butter and line with baking parchment. Beat the muscovado sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the fruit, chocolate and the rest of the ingredients except for the remaining brandy and icing sugar. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hr 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean . Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the remaining brandy. Leave to completely cool before storing, Before serving, dust liberally with icing sugar.

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