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How to Make An English Fruit Cake : Easy to follow Recipe

Andrew has been making home made foods for years and can be found in the kitchen experimenting with all kinds of different recipes.

English fruit cake

English fruit cake

For my son's 19th birthday we decided to bake an English fruit cake using a recipe from my 92 year old mum's kitchen notebook! Although the finished product had an unusual appearance it tasted divine. After about an hour with his teenage friends only crumbs remained!

The UK is known for creating dozens of different kinds of fruit cake, from simple sultana slices to dark and mysterious Christmas cakes, steeped in rumfustian juices.

This cake is somewhere between the two and should be a delicious addition to any family meal, or a tea or coffee break party! In fact it would grace any table on any occasion!

You'll find this cake sweet but not as sweet as many other fruit cakes out there! Sugar has been minimised. The goodness of three eggs - with iron and vitamins and protein - has to be a bonus.

Please note that the addition of small amounts of spirits are optional! My mum loved to put a 'good drop of sherry' in her fruit cakes but you may wish for something different!


Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

1 hour

1 hour 20 min

Medium size cake serving up to 12 people one slice

Alternative Fruit Cake

For a healthier version try olive oil mixed with butter, egg whites only, use dried chopped apricots, cherries and dates, wholemeal flour and white flour combined and lower the sugar content further, according to taste.


  • 250g self raising flour
  • 200g soft butter
  • 50g dark/demerara sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 2 medium sized apples
  • 250g sultanas/raisins/mixed peel
Molasses go into mixture.

Molasses go into mixture.


  1. Heat oven to 180c / gas mark 4. Grease (butter) your medium sized cake tin and leave to one side. Peel apples, core, cut into small chunks and leave in lemon water so they don't get brown.
  2. Mix flour, butter, sugar, eggs, baking powder, mixed spice and molasses until thick and creamy.
  3. Add apple chunks and sultanas and raisins. Stir into creamy mix. Make sure the mixture is stiff enough to suspend all fruits. If not the cake will be bottom heavy in fruit, and the top too dry and crumbly.
  4. Transfer creamy mix to cake tin.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes (depends on efficiency of oven) or until dark golden brown.
  6. Use a probe/skewer/thin knife to check if cooked in middle. When cooked the implement will be dry and not have uncooked cake stuck to it!
  7. Leave to cool on a rack.
  8. Wrap in foil or greaseproof paper and keep in fridge a few hours to allow cake to firm up.
Fruit cake ready for the cream and yoghurt! And the appetites.

Fruit cake ready for the cream and yoghurt! And the appetites.

Handy Tips and Suggestions

  • Soak your fruit in cold black tea overnight for darker fruit and a darker cake.
  • Darker sugar eg muscavado could also be used for similar effect.
  • Instead of sultanas and raisins add cherries, chopped dried apricots, pineapple pieces.Other additions include : raspberry liquer or rum/brandy, ginger, cinnamon, applesauce or cranberry sauce. Please note that these should be used separately and not combined!!
  • Baking powder can be made by mixing 15ml bicarbonate of soda with 30ml cream of tartar.
  • To avoid burning the cake and exposed fruits lower the oven temperature and slow bake until cooked.
  • If you wish, sherry/rum/brandy can be added after the cake is finished and ready to be served.
  • For very special occasions small amounts of brandy can be dripped carefully over the cake and lit to produce the traditional blue tinged with yellow Christmas flames, well known in the UK and Europe.


More Simple Recipes Here


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Help stop plagiarism. This is the original article and should not appear anywhere else! All photos by the author unless otherwise stated.

© 2012 Andrew Spacey


SDB from Australia on May 15, 2020:

This looks like a lovely recipe.

Claudia Tello from Mexico on August 20, 2013:

Yummy! Your cake looks very appealing. I love the texture and the nice brown color it has.

Andrew Spacey (author) from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on May 20, 2013:

Many thanks for the visit and comment jcl. As regards the expression, well, you never know!

jonnycomelately on May 20, 2013:

Sounds delicious.

"Other additions include : raspberry liquer or rum/brandy,...." did this give rise to the expression, "You can have your cake and eat it too?"

Andrew Spacey (author) from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on December 23, 2012:

Thank you all for the wonderful comments.

Mary - 1 cup flour = 125g, sugar one third of a cup, butter three quarters of a cup and the fruit one and a half cups.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on December 23, 2012:

Oh, dear...I'm not smart enough to know how to convert grams into cups or "whatever". The recipe looks really good, though.

Ms. Immortal from NJ on December 22, 2012:

Looks good, I love that there are apples in it. I will try it and share it with my family.

Peter from Australia on November 21, 2012:

This recipe reminds me so much of the Fruit Cake my mum used to make when we were kids. I am a lover of Sultanas and I will be getting my wife (Oliversmum here on HP) to come and have a look. If I talk nicely to her she may make it for me:)

Andrew Spacey (author) from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on November 11, 2012:

Many thanks for the visit and comment. If you bake this cake for a large family I hope you manage to get a decent slice! Bon appetit.

Shelley Watson on November 11, 2012:

Definitely will be trying this recipe, looks delicious. 5 Star and sharing!

Andrew Spacey (author) from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on October 24, 2012:

Many thanks for the visit and comment - I hope your fruit cake is as popular as ours was! Best of luck.

Peter from New York on October 24, 2012:

This looks great. I usually do Fruit tarts bu cake will be a new venture for me. Will be giving it a try!

Andrew Spacey (author) from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on October 23, 2012:

Many thanks Eddy, I hope you can make and then share this cake amongst your family and then have the family make one for you!

Eiddwen from Wales on October 23, 2012:

Another great recipe for me to save into my recipe book. Here's to so many more to follow by you.


Mary from Cronulla NSW on October 22, 2012:

This looks delicious and must be fantastic if a group of 19 yr olds devoured it...can't wait to try it...thanks for the share...U U A & shared...cheers

Andrew Spacey (author) from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on October 22, 2012:

Thanks very much for the visit and comment. I hope your cake tastes as good as the one we made. I also hope it lasts a little longer!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 22, 2012:

Looks and sounds delicious. Definitely going to try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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