Fruit and nut Christmas cake

Fruit and Nut Christmas Cake Recipe

Are You a Christmas Cake lover?

I am!  It doesn’t feel like Christmas if there isn’t a lovely big wedge of fruity, nutty dark cake topped with yellow marzipan and white icing and a big cup of warming tea.  If you are a fan, then you will love my Fruit and Nut Christmas Cake Recipe which you can print off below. 

When I lived in the Northern Hemisphere slices of Christmas cake would be carefully wrapped in foil and taken on long, cold walks across the moors or along a windswept beach.  Now I live in the Southern Hemisphere, eating my Christmas cake treat sitting in the heat of summer,  seems even more of an indulgence, but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

The kids aren’t keen on Christmas cake but they do love the task that I set them every year to come up with a scene to decorate the cake on top.  They especially love eating the fondant icing once we cut into the cake (which is good as I’m not a big fan of the icing – marzipan, that’s a whole different story!).  Here’s a few examples of past cake decorations: 

Christmas cake Polar Express design                                                                      Christmas cake paddington bear design


Anyhow, this recipe was adapted from Kim Morphew’s Fig, apricot and pistachio Christmas Cake which you can find here.

If you missed stir up Sunday, don’t worry, you can make this cake anytime right up to the last minute, it just tastes better the longer you can feed it alcohol! 


I’m sharing this post as part of the What’s on your plate link up party organised by Donna from Retirement Reflections and Deb at The Widow Badass.  You can check out all the posts in the link up here here 

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fruit and nut christmas cake recipe

Fruit and Nut Christmas Cake Recipe

New Leaf Health and Wellbeing
This Christmas cake is packed with a wonderful range of dried fruits, soaked in orange juice and alcohol (optional) plus nuts to provide a crunchy bite. It's super easy to make ahead and then decorate on Christmas Eve.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Overnight Soaking for fruit 12 hours
Total Time 15 hours 30 minutes
Course cake, celebration cake
Cuisine British
Servings 12 plus


  • 1 Food mixer optional
  • 1 round or square baking tin approximately 20cm diameter or 20cm square
  • 1 baking/greaseproof paper
  • 1 Baking foil


Soaked Fruit

  • 125g Chopped dried figs ensure wood stalks are removed
  • 75g chopped dried apricots
  • 125g chopped pitted dates
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 250g sultanas
  • 1 large orange zest grated and juiced
  • 50 ml rum, honey mead, brandy or alcohol of choice optional

For the Cake

  • 140g butter
  • 140g dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup or black treacle
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g unsalted pistachios (shelled)
  • 175g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp mixed spice
  • 40g ground almond (meal)


For Soaked Fruit

  • Add all of the dried fruit, orange juice and zest and alcohol into a large mixing bowl. Mix well and cover with clingfilm to soak overnight.
    fruit and nut christmas cake dried fruit mix

For the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 140C.
  • Grease and line baking tin with baking paper. See note below
  • Beat butter and sugar either by hand or with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add the syrup, then gradually beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Stir the pistachios into the dried fruit mixture.
    Fruit and nut christmas cake dried fruit and nuts mix
  • Combine the sifted flour, ground almond and spices.
  • Add the fruit mix, alternating with the flour/spices to the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Get everyone to have a go at stirring and make a wish!
    fruit and nut christmas cake mix
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the top off with a spoon.
    fruit and nut christmas cake pre baking
  • Bake in the oven for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Check on the cake after about an 1 1/2 hours - if the top is browning too quickly, place a sheet of baking paper over the top of the cake to avoid it burning.
    fruit and nut christmas cake with paper on top
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning out.
  • Wrap the cake in two layers of greaseproof paper, followed by a layer of foil.
    fruit and nut christmas cake wrapped in baking paper
  • Keep the cake in an airtight container, in a cool place. The cake can be made up to three months in advance.
    fruit and nut christmas cake wrapped in foil
  • Feed the cake regularly by unwrapping, and making holes in the top and dropping small measures of alcohol into the holes. Rewrap and store again.
  • When ready to serve, spread apricot jam on the top and sides of the cake. Encase the cake with rolled marzipan, followed by royal icing.
  • Get the kids to come up with ideas to decorate the top, or decorate with Christmas themes using fondant icing or cake decorations.
    Christmas cake paddington bear design


To line the cake tin: 
Draw around the base of the cake tin onto some folded double greaseproof paper and cut out two circles or squares. 
Measure the circumference or outer edge of the tin and cut a length of greaseproof paper to fit.  Fold the paper in half to make a long rectangle.  
On the folded edge, make another fold about 2.5cm deep.  Then make snips with scissors along this fold every 2cms.
Grease the base and sides of the tin.  Slot in the long folded paper with the folded-slotted edge lining the base of the tin, with the larger piece of paper lining the sides of the tin.  The slots will help the paper lie flat, particularly in a round tin. 
Layer the two circles of baking paper on the base of the tin.  Rub some butter over the uppermost sheet.
The long rectangle strip of baking paper should come well above the height of the tin.  This will help protect the top of the cake from burning.   If however, when you are baking the cake you notice the top is browning too quickly, place another circle of baking paper of the top to help protect it.  
Keyword celebration cake, Christmas cake, fruit and nut cake, fruit cake, special occasion cake

If you are looking for other fruit cake ideas you could try my Vegan Tropical Fruit Loaf and a couple of other festive recipes are: 

Festive Chocolate, Raspberry, Brazil Nut Overnight Oats

White Chocolate and Ginger Cheesecake

Ricotta Tiramisu Overnight Pots

Self Saucing Chocolate Pudding

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Fruit and nut christmas cake

7 thoughts on “Fruit and Nut Christmas Cake Recipe”

  1. Pingback: Book Reviews December 2023 - New Leaf Health and Wellbeing

  2. Hi Janine, how clever to give the kids a project of decorating the cake and I love the paddington one especially! I’m not a fan of making fruit cakes but I’ll always eat a slice 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this Christmas Cake recipe with us. I absolutely love the cake scenes that you and your children have come up with. So creative!
    I must confess that I had not been a lover of fruitcake but…I tasted one made by Deb (the cohost to this linkup) and it was truly delicious. Perhaps I just don’t like most storebought ones? Yours looks very tasty indeed!:D

    1. Ah you are very kind Donna. The kids do all the creative work – I just supply the base. It might be worth persevering with Christmas/fruit cake. There are lots of variations, some are more ‘cakey’, some more fruity and some can have lots of alcohol which makes a big difference to flavour and texture. Personally I don’t like too much alcohol in my mine and more fruity and nutty.

    1. Hi Sue, apologies for my late response to your comment. Unfortunately you ended up in my spam box – not quite sure why. Anyhow, I hope you made your Christmas cake OK. Which recipe do you usually use?

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