I am always late making my Christmas cake. I intend to make one in October but, before I know it, December arrives and I still haven’t made one.

I used to panic that I wouldn’t have time to feed my cake. Then, last year, I came across Kirstie’s Fruit Cake Recipe in the Kirstie Allsopp Craft

This makes a lovely Christmas cake! Although it doesn’t hurt to feed the fruit cake, in this recipe you also boil the fruit in cider before you begin baking. This allows you to make the cake later as, even if you only have time to feed your cake once or twice, you still have the yummy alcohol element baked in.

Unfortunately, this has made me even later with my Christmas cake baking. When I was contacted by Clover, asking if I would like to try using Clover Block (a product that is similar to butter but with 30% less saturated fat) in a Christmas recipe I thought that this would help to kick start me into baking my cake.

Here is the recipe that I used and some photographs of my baking process.


900g of your favourite mixed dried fruit
* I used cranberries, cherries, a vine fruit mix (raisins, sultanas and currants) and some extra juicy raisins.
300ml dry cider
225g butter
225g soft brown sugar
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 tbsp black treacle (optional)
4 large eggs, beaten
225g plain flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
170g chopped mixed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans)
Approx. 6 tbsp apple brandy (ordinary brandy or whisky could
be used instead)


1) Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2 and line a 20cm cake tin.

2) If your dried fruit is not prewashed, wash it all thoroughly, and then chop up the larger pieces so they’re about the size of the sultanas and currants. Put all the fruit in a pan with the cider, bring to the boil and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Set aside and allow cooling. The fruit should absorb all the liquid, but if there’s any left, drain it off.

3) In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with the finely grated zests of the orange and lemon. Add the treacle, if using – it’s great for flavour and colour, but if it’s not to your taste, it can be left out. Pour in the beaten eggs and mix well. Sieve the flour with the mixed spice and ground nutmeg and fold into the egg mixture. Now stir in the soaked dried fruit, the chopped nuts and some of the citrus juices to produce a mixture that has a soft dropping consistency.

4) Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top, then make a shallow dent in the middle so that the cake will rise evenly as it cooks.

5) Wrap a thick layer of brown paper or newspaper around the outside of the tin – as high as the lining paper – and secure with string. Place the tin on a baking tray lined with more brown paper and bake for 3 – 4 hours. Check the cake halfway through the baking time – if the top is getting too brown, cover it with a piece of brown paper.
* I cover the top with a circle of brown paper with a little hole in the centre from the beginning. As the first year that I made this cake it had burnt by the halfway check. My cake was also cooked in 2 hours 10 mins.

6) Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer in the middle – it should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, prick it all over with a fine skewer and carefully pour the apple brandy into the holes. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin (usually around 2 hours).

Although my cake didn’t really need leveling off, I leveled it (cut a big slice of the top 😉 ) so that we could taste some. It was delicious! My husband wanted to eat the whole thing. There was no difference in taste or texture to when I have baked the cake using full fat butter.

Now I just need to decide how to decorate it. I always like to better last years attempt. This was my cake last year.

If you have any ideas on how I could decorate my cake this year, please let me know. You could tell me in the comments section below or you could post a photo on my Facebook page to give me some ideas. 🙂

We also made some Gingerbread Christmas Tree Decorations using Clover and they were delicious too!


 Posted by Charlotte on December 6, 2012 Baking, Reviews  Add comments

  29 Responses to “Kirstie Allsop’s Christmas Cake”


    wow, you are sooo clever, i would make a real mess up with this 🙁 looks ace xXx


    Love last years decoration, I always get inspired by the cakes you can buy from shops, and pinterest. x


    Hi I saw this on the repeats of the show and when googling the search found your recipe, hence the late comment. I wondered if this would work just as well without the nuts as my partner has an allergy. Or suggested substitute?




    Thank you for the recipe and updates on how you made it, as instructions are invaluable, as well as the pictures!x


    @Clare. My son also has severe anaphylaxis and I’m going to leave the nuts out and instead add more fruit- and brandy. 😉


    Ive made this every year for the last 3 and its lovely and everyone thinks its been made way ahead of time 🙂


    I havent done mine yet either. Thanks for posting Im sure everyone will love it x


    Hi – I’ve made this lovely cake a couple of times. Thanks for the recipe – everyone loves it.

    Could this amount of cake mix be baked in two tins instead of one large one, for the same amount of time? I have two Christmases to go to.and don’t think I’ll have time to make two. It’s also very large.


      It is lovely isn’t it? It could work smaller but I would use smaller tins, otherwise it will be quite thin. Maybe try two 4″ or 6″ and keep an eye on it so that you don’t over cook them. Hope that helps. x


    Thanks Charlotte – perhaps I could make two logs…


    Yes, rectangles – I’m in Australia, perhaps log tin is not a UK term – would have to be 2 correctly sized tins, which I don’t have… yes will let you know…!


    Good idea – I could then ice them – could be fun… thanks Charlotte, will have a go… xx


    I have made this recipe for 3 years and also used it for my daughter”s wedding cake – by quadrupling the ingredients and dividing into 3 different tins. In my fruit mix I include a lot of I dyed glacé cherries, some soft prunes and unsulphured apricots all chopped up- say a proportion of 20% of the traditional dried fruit of sultanas / raisins . It gives the cane a real fruitiness. For absolute luxury: definitely go for the apple brandy (calvados) – the combination of the cider soaked fruit with that is fab! Also You can easily substitute ground almonds as part of plain flour to give it a lovely texture – for a gluten free option you can use gluten free flour/ ground almonds.

    Lastly make your own marzipan – so easy and so much nicer – put a small amount of calvados in the the mix. I never ice mine but top a thick layer of marzipan with whole almonds, half cherries, angelic and crystallised stem ginger : it looks jewel like and very Christmassy! You then glaze the top wi
    By brushing on warmed apricot jam ! When I have done mine I will post a pic!

    I have used many different cake recipes but find this one full proof !


      I would love to see a photo of your cake when it’s finished! Sounds lovely! Would love to see your daughter’s wedding cake too! I have never made my own marzipan before. I will have to try it. I have made a few of these recently and, as they weren’t for an occasion, I sprinkled the top with almonds and brown sugar. They were delicious too! Thank you for sharing your tips! x


    Made his cake last year it was fab! so moist and fruity. just about to make again I expect it will be eaten on the build up to Christmas as we love it so much, Thanks Kirsty!!


    Is that 150 for fan or 130 for fan


    I found out that had way I put 130 but it took 6 hours to finish but was so nice and moist


    How long will this cake keep please


      I wouldn’t make it in advance like a normal Christmas Cake. It is nice made a few days before. It will keep longer but I wouldn’t store it in a tin and feed it for weeks. It’s more of a last minute Christmas Cake.

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