Jamie Oliver’s Christmas cake

When I saw this traditional English Christmas cake in the Sep/Oct Jamie Magazine issue, I knew immediately that I would have definitely baked it for Christmas (yeah, I know, I love Christmas and I start thinking about it as soon as I put away my summer T-shirts and light dresses, I can’t help it).

As you already know how much I love the British side of life, you will easily understand how I desperately fell for this delicious fruit cake: rich, sumptuous, full of dried fruit and, above all, very English! It’s traditional to make this a few weeks before Christmas, so that you can feed it by pouring over booze of your choice, to further enrich the flavor of this extraordinary fruit cake.

The brandy aroma, combined with dried fruit and nuts, reminds me of season greetings, snowy Christmas carols, twinkling lights, rustling paper and satin ribbons… I can’t wait to finally bite into a thick slice of fruity Christmas cake, as until now I could only nibble something, while gradually adding some brandy to my creature!

Traditional Christmas Cake – from Jamie Magazine Sep/Oct 10

Jamie Oliver's Christmas cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Serves: 16
You'll need
  • 600 g raisins
  • 200 g currants
  • 100 g dried sour or glacé cherries
  • 250 g mixed dried fruits (try prunes, apricot, apples, pears) finely chopped
  • 400 ml booze, plus extra to 'feed' the cake (brandy, sherry, Tia Maria, rum... all work well)
  • 300 g butter, at room temperature
  • 200 g dark brown sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp treacle (I used golden syrup)
  • 300 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 150 g walnuts, chopped
How to make it
The night before.
  1. Place the dried fruit in a saucepan with the booze and bring to a simmer. Pour into a bowl, cool, cover and leave to soften.
The following day
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2 and line the base and sides of a 23cm round tin or a 20cm square tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper. You’ll need the side lining to be a good 8cm higher than the tin.
  2. If you’d like your cake to be particularly moist, blitz half the soaked fruit in a food processor to make a paste, and stir back into the rest of the fruit. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Grate in the zest of your lemon and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the treacle. Sift the flour and combine with the spices and ground almonds. Mix into the butter mixture, alternating with the soaked fruit. Finally, fold in the walnuts. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for about 3 hours. Check after 2½ hours and then every 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  3. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush with a little more booze. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove, placing it directly onto a large sheet of tin foil. Wrap it up twice to retain the heat for as long as possible. After a few hours, remove the foil and wrap the cake up again in a double sheet of greaseproof paper and a double sheet of tin foil, making sure you can access the cake from the top. Store in an airtight container for 2–12 weeks. During this time, feed the cake the alcohol of your choice by gently pouring it over the top and rewrapping.
  1. I decided to frost this traditional cake with a soft topping made by whipping together mascarpone cheese and cream with 2 tbsps of icing sugar. Spread evenly the frosting over the cake and decorate with some glacé cherries or Christmas decorations.

Tasting test. It isn’t a traditional Italian cake and you won’t find it within our family Christmas recipes… Well, until this year, I dare say. I’m sure that next year this will become an unmissable Christmas sweet treat, a new tradition to built year after year, sweet fruity crumble after sweet fruity crumble. It is a rich, full-bodied, fruity and flavorful cake, in which all the ingredients are perfectly balanced. It slightly resembles our typical panforte (a kind of gingerbread), but is less sweet, I do prefer the English version.

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  1. says

    It looks delicious! Christmas cake is wonderful.




    Heather Risposta:

    Love the cake but the ‘icing’ is a let down. Hey, what happened to the traditional home made ground almond marzipan coating and the topping of snowy white royal icing?


  2. says

    The Jamie Oliver magazine is wonderful isn’t it, it’s kind of a British answer to Martha Stewart. I must confess though I tend not to buy it during the year then I buy the compilation recipe edition at Christmas!!


  3. says

    I’m always so wary of recipes from food magazines – thinking that they don’t work but you know what, I might even start subscribing to Jamie Oliver’s magazine. I enjoy browsing through delicious mag but this looks so good I’m tempted to give it a go too! :) Lovely blog Juls, sorry I haven’t visited in a long while. Looking forward to reading the eng version of the mag (yours that is) x


  4. says

    Christmas cake is such a good tradition! Though usually by the time we get to Christmas day we are all so full that it’s the last thing we want to eat as it’s so rich… that Jamie recipe looks good. My grandmother has been feeding hers since early November, it should be good :)


  5. says

    You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I believe I would never understand. It seems too complex and very large for me. I am taking a look forward in your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the cling of it!


  6. says

    Thank you for another excellent article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.


  7. Kim says

    I made my very first Christmas cake last year with this recipe, it went down so well I’ve already been asked to make it again this Christmas. I don’t need asking twice it’s on my to-do list for every festive season.


  8. says

    Have just made this great fruit cake. I have gone against my usual “wedding cake fruit cake” to make Jamie’s Xmas cake it looks great. Will let you know how it tastes in a month filled with a sprinkling of grog! Happy Xmas from Australia.


  9. Imogen Jarvis says

    Hi there!
    I made the Jamie Oliver Traditional Christmas cake Nov 2014. I usually always uses Delia Smith recipe, oh how I wish I’d stuck to it!!!
    The Jamie Xmas cake is just TOO moist!! Don’t get me wrong I like a moist cake but this one is just sooooo moist that it doesn’t really taste like a cake!!
    I whizzed up half the fruit as suggested, I shouldn’t have done!
    The marzipan didn’t set and is all gooey!
    It was very expensive to make and a bit of a disaster really!!
    I promise I can cook I’m actually a very good cook so makes me even more unhappy as I’m used to my cooking working out well and being very nice.
    Do you think the prob was in the whizzing up of half the fruit?? I cooked it at 150c for just over 2 and a 1/2 hours, the skewer came out clean.
    What went wrong!!???
    Thanks for reading would welcome any comments :0)


    Giulia Risposta:

    Hello Imogen, I am so sorry to hear ti was a disaster. I actually baked this three times, and I see other people were happy with the result, so I don’t know which could have been the problem.
    If the skewer came out clean probably the cake was perfectly executed, and it was something due to the marzipan?


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