Traditional English Rich Fruit Cake


This traditional English Rich Fruit Cake recipe makes a rich fruit cake that is perfect for Weddings, Christenings and other Celebrations as well as for the traditional English Christmas Cake. With the rising popularity of traditional styled and Royal Iced cakes fruit cakes are again getting fashionable!

This fruit cake recipe gives a dark moist cake, sweet and fruity. We used this recipe at Party Animal for over 20 years and it never failed to get a good response whether used for Christmas, weddings or any other special occasion.

It is best to bake the cake at least one month and preferably about 3 months before use so that it matures and the flavours develop.

This recipe makes an 8″ square / 9″ round cake approximately 3″ deep.


The fruit Mix

Fruit and Nut mix for Rich Fruit Cake

  • 295g raisins
  • 295g sultanas
  • 280g currants
  • 145g dried apricots
  • 175g glace cherries
  • 100g mixed peel (some people leave this out but as long as it is well soaked
    it adds an extra ‘bite’ to the mix)
  • 100g chopped nuts (I personally use a mix of almond nibs, almond flakes and chopped walnuts)
  • 12ml finely grated lemon rind
  • 35ml fresh lemon juice
  • 60ml brandy or we use what we know as ‘soaking mix’ – 2 parts sherry: 1 part rum: 1 part brandy – a perfect mix for flavour and the alcohol content is unimportant as that will burn off during cooking – that’s why you can use this even for teetotallers!

The Cake Batter Mix

Ingredients for the fruit cake batter

  • 325g dark brown sugar
  • 325g butter
  • 30ml a mix of treacle and golden syrup – I use a 50:50 mix but if you prefer a darker less sweet cake just use treacle
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 20ml (4tspn) mixed spice
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 370g plain flour


Soak the fruit

Chop the apricots and cherries to taste – You can chop finely for a more even dispersion but I like to have some larger pieces of cherry in the mix as I find this give a moister taste to the cake.
Adding Lemon Juice to the Fruit Mix
Add all the dried fruit, cherries and apricots to a bowl along with the lemon juice and rind, chopped nuts, and soaking mix. Mix well and cover or place into a sealed food box.

Leave for at least overnight but preferably for 3-4 days and up to about 1 week is fine. This will allow the fruit to soak up the liquid. Shake or stir occasionally to make sure all the fruit gets soaked thoroughly. This helps with plumping up the fruit for a moist cake finish.The fruit ready to soak

Bake the Cakes

Line a greased tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and grease well.

Preheat oven to approx 140°C
cake batter for rich fruit cake
Cream together the sugar and butter then add the eggs. Mix in the remaining ingredients including treacle, spice, almonds and flour. Mix until smooth and then stir in the soaked fruit and any juice that is left. I find this is a good time to get clean hands involved! It is much easier to mix evenly using your hands when the fruit is added.
The finished rich fruit cake mix ready to bake
Fill the prepared tins with the rich fruit cake mixture and smooth with a damp spoon. (A good trick to make sure the mix is even is to bang the tins down a few times which should remove any air pockets.) The damp spoon should leave the top damp. This will help the top surface to cook without drying out.

Bake in a preheated oven at approx 140°C. for about 3 – 3½ hours.

Ovens vary greatly so if you find that the cake is beginning to peak or crack turn down the oven and cook for a little longer.

To test – press surface of cake lightly – it should feel firm to the touch. Take out cake and listen to it! If it sings (whistles) it is not quite ready so pop back in for a minute or two.
Leave to cool in the tin until you can pick up the tin easily without gloves. This gives the cake time to settle and set up a bit. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To Store

Brush the cake surface with some brandy or other spirit. You will need about 60ml. We usually use what we term our ‘feeding mix’. This is 2 parts brandy: 1 part rum: 1 part sherry and gives a good flavour to the cakes. Unlike when you are soaking the fruit, you will need to use fruit juice or sugar syrup to feed your cakes for teetotallers as the alcohol remains in the cakes. If you pierce the cake surface with a fine skewer before feeding you will get the feeding mix deeply into the cake.

Cut some greaseproof paper for the top of the cake and then wrap in foil. Finally wrap in Cling Film and store in a cool dry place.

Rich fruit cakes can be stored for up to 6 months before using. From time to time open up and feed with more feeding mixture to add more flavour and keep moist. Do not overdo it or your cakes will be soggy and difficult to decorate.


  1. Hi I already have soaked fruit. So if I’m following your recipe, hw much of the saoked fruit should I use

  2. sorry to be a pain but this is all quite new to me and i have messaged before on this i now have my t-shirt tin i had idea they came in different sizes mine is 13.5 by 14,5 by 3 inches deep so what size do i go by please im getting pretty desperate now please xx

    1. Use the water from the t shirt pan to fill a standard size cake tin that you own and know the recipe for. For example you might find that you need 2 x 8″ round cake tins to take the same amount of water. Therefore you will need to make the same mixture as for 2 8″ round cakes. Because t shirt and other novelty pans are different depths and awkward shapes it is difficult to give an accurate answer. The alternative is to bake a much bigger cake and use the unused mix for cupcakes! If your tin measures 13.5 by 14.5 with no cut out sections a 14″ square mix (equivalent to 4 x 8″round/ 7″ square) will be the correct amount.

  3. Omg I need to make my sister her wedding cake here in USA as we Brits
    I have baked in pst but absolutely novice
    She wants a bottom cake of 10 inches and top cake at 8 inches
    She want both traditional marzipan and Royal icing….
    Can you give me measurements for these cake please.
    I need to start like, Now as wedding is in September x

  4. Hi this recipe looks great i have questions please will this quantity be enough for a t shrt tin please and also will it be ok to use a fruit cake recipe for a t shirt tin im a bit new to all this and need a little help please many thanks

    1. Hi
      Yes you can do this in a t shirt tin though because it is likely to be shallower it will not take as long to cook so keep an eye on it!. The way I reckon sizing for any shaped tin is to fill the tin with water and transfer to a square tin. Trial and error will get you to the right size. The water should be about 2.5 – 3″ deep in a square tin and that will then be the size of cake you need to make to fit the shaped tin. Hope that makes sense! This works for any weird and wonderful shape and saves a lot of maths work!

  5. Hi Debbie, can I use the supermarket sold packet of mix fruit for Christmas cake?
    Thank you n God bless.

    Warmest regards William

  6. Hi, I would like to scale up to a 9 inch square cake tin. Could you recommend quantities and baking times.
    Many thanks

    1. 9″ square recipe
      375g raisins
      375g sultanas
      350g currents
      185g Apricots
      220g cherries
      125g peel
      125g nuts
      3 tsp lemon rind
      45ml lemon juice
      75ml brandy etc to soak
      410g sugar
      410g margarine/ butter
      37.5ml treacle / syrup
      22.5ml mixed spice
      90g ground almonds
      470g plain flour

      The baking time is more to do with the depth of the cake so as this is for the same depth the time will not be a lot different. Add about 15-20 mins and test.

  7. I need to make a 16″ round fruit cake. Please tell me the correct quanties and cooking times. Many thanks

    1. For a 16″ square the mix is 4 times the mixture in the recipe.
      I don’t have the quantities for the 15″ square but I would just use this amount and get a very slightly deeper cake (not a bad thing for a large cake like this). or you could use 4 times the amount and make a small 5″ square ‘testing cake’ with the extra mix to get the depth the same.
      The baking time is mainly dependant on the depth of the cake so I would probably add about half an hour to start with and check the cake regularly after that until it feels firm in the centre and stops ‘singing’.

  8. Hi i just wanted to ask if it makes a difference leaving fruit mix in a bowl with a tea towel over it to stand? There is no liquid in the bottom of my bowl that is soaking is this ok as i dont want to add a little more liquid in case it turns out crumbly.
    Also this is for a wedding cake using a 10inch round tin and a heart tin that is 8inch at the top. Should this be ok orwould i need to make another half of the mixture?
    Look forward to hearing from you soon

    1. Hi Janine

      The fruit will soak up the liquid giving you nice juicy fruit with the flavours of your soaking mix so you shouldn’t have liquid left in the bowl after soaking. You can leave it in a bowl to soak or quite often I put it into a tupperware or similar container with a lid which lets you give it a bit of a shake every now and then to ensure all the fruit soaks evenly.
      To make a 10″ round cake and 8″ heart of the same depth as this recipe you will need to double up the mix. (It does depend on the heart tin but in general a heart tin that is 8″ takes about the same amount of mix as an 8″ round.)

  9. My rich fruit cake is delicious but is not firm- it’s just fruity mess. I wonder if I used insufficient flour or just too much brandy. It dosnt taste un cooked.

    1. If it isn’t undercooked then the probability is that you have been a bit too generous with the brandy! Don’t use too much before cooking it is better to keep your mix quite firm before baking. If you followed this recipe you should find that the mix is quite stiff – don’t be tempted to make it more liquid at this stage. You can always add more brandy when feeding while you are maturing the cake!

  10. Hi Steph’

    Pls help clarify this for me.
    When baking, do I use x1 round 9” pan or x2?
    Do I also line the sides of the pan/s with baking paper as I normally would do with the surface?
    When storing, you said to cut the greaseproof paper for the top of the cake, does this mean that the whole cake must first be covered with greaseproof after feeding, followed by foil paper then wrap with a cling wrap?
    I’m a newbie In the cake world, pls forgive me if some questions are too funny.
    But I need help to prepare a 4tier fruit cake for my sister’s wedding.
    Kind Regards Sammy

    1. Hi Sammy,

      You just use 1 x 9″ round tin, it creates a cake around 3″ deep.
      We line all our tins with baking parchment and melted butter to help the baking parchment stay in place.
      When storing we leave the grease proof on from baking and then feed. If you have taken the greaseproof off just simply put more on and then feed as normal. Once done wrap in foil then clingfilm to keep fresh.

      Hope this helps 🙂
      Kind regards,

    1. Sorry I don’t have a conversion to cups – but I will try to add in lbs and oz as I think that may be easier for the US cooks

  11. Hi, we dont like peel or nuts (ground almonds are ok) so should I up the volume of other dried fruits to compensate or just omit? Also what size eggs, med or large? Thanks Debs

    1. Hi Debs
      Yes you can add different fruit such as cranberries etc or just more of the same. As long as the weight remains about the same you won’t have any problems. I use medium eggs

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