Beginners Christmas Cake

20 minutes + 3 hours Serves 36


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1.5kg mixed dried fruit
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ cup sweet sherry plus 2 Tbsp extra
  • ¼ cup blanched whole almonds
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1. Preheat oven to 125°C. Line base and sides of a deep 19cm-square cake pan with three layers of baking paper, bringing paper 5cm over the sides of the pan.

2. Beat butter and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined between additions. Mixture may curdle at this point but will come together later.

3. Scrape mixture into a large bowl. Add marmalade and fruit, mix thoroughly.

4. Sift flours and spice over mixture. Add sherry and mix well.

5. Drop dollops of mixture into the corners of the cake pan to hold paper in position. Then spread remaining mixture into the pan.

6. Drop cake pan from a height of about 15cm onto the bench to settle mixture into the pan and to break any large air bubbles. Level the surface with a wet metal spatula and decorate the top with almonds.

7.Bake for approximately 3 hours or until a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Brush the top with extra sherry. Cover pan tightly with foil and leave to cool in the pan.


If both butter and eggs are at room temperature, this will help avoid the mixture curdling.

You can use dark brown or black sugar rather than brown sugar for a more richly coloured cake.

Cover cake loosely with foil during baking if it starts to overbrown. Give the cake quarter turns several times during baking to avoid uneven browning.

Cake can be frozen for up to 12 months.