Many moons ago my Mum gave me the Delia Smith Complete Cookery Course. Mainly because she was fed up with me pinching her copy! Regardless the book contains many recipes I have tried and loved for over two decades now. Gosh that’s weird to write! As I was flicking through I came across the recipe for the loveliest rich Christmas cake, and I have been making it ever since!

I have been asked to make this so many times over the years because it is such a wonderfully rich Christmas Cake. It is also adaptable to suit tastes, for example the original recipe called for cherries, which none of mine like so we swapped them out for more dried fruit. And to be honest we are usually more than a bit lax with measuring the tipple that goes in too. Well I mean 3 tablespoons look so little!

Don’t worry about getting in brandy for this cake either, we have used whatever strong liquier we could find in the cupboard, and for some reason that is usually some form of whiskey. This year ours had the healthiest slug of apricot brandy and I cannot wait to slice it open and have a taste with my cup of tea.

The original recipe can be found in Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course book, page 553 or on her website.

Let me know if you give it a go.


Sophie x

Rich Christmas Cake

This is my all time favourite and although we have ommitted some things from the original recipe, you will not be disappointed with the out come.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Author Adapted from an original Delia Smith recipe


  • 900 g Mixed Dried Fruit
  • 3 tbsp Brandy
  • 225 g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 225 g Dairy Free Spread (Vitalite or similar)
  • 225 g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 50 g Ground Almonds
  • 1 tbsp Black Treacle


  1. pre soak your dried fruit in the brandy for as long as possible, a minimum 12 hours or over night if you can.

  2. Pre heat the oven to 140 degrees celcius.

  3. Grease an 8 inch (20cm) round tin, place a circle of grease proof paper on the base and line the edges with paper too. For extra measure I add a second circle to the bottom of the tin at the end.

  4. Place the dairy free spread into a bowl with the sugar and cream together. In a seperate bowl put all the dry ingedients together.

  5. Slowly add one egg at at time, adding a spoon of flour if the batter looks like it is starting to curdle.

  6. Once all the eggs have been added, fold in the rest of the flour until combined.

  7. Next add the black treacle. Stand the tin in a cup of hot water for a minute or so to loosen the treacle and make it easier to scoop out.

  8. Lastly fold in the soaked fruits until evenly distributed and pour into the lined tin. To prevent the cake from rising too much make a well in the middle of the batter.

  9. Before placing the cake in the oven make a collar of lining paper and tie it around the tin with string, and genlty place a grease proof disk with a 50p hole in the middle, on the top (without it resting on the cake). Place in the oven for 4 hours.

  10. Set a timer, and don't open the oven door until an hour is up. Check the cake at this point with a scewer to make sure it comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin, once baked, to completely cool before removing.

Recipe Notes

To Store:

Wrap the cooled cake in grease proof paper and tin foil and keep in a cool cupboard until you are ready to eat it. To feed the cake, take a skewer and poke holes into the top of the cake before gently pouring a couple tablespoons of brandy into it. Rewrap and store.



Should you wish to ice the cake I do recommend grabbing some ready to roll white marzipan and royal icing from the shop. I usually just top the cake with icing, so use the tin i baked it in as a cutter then 'fix' it to the cake with some warmed apricot jam. Alternatively it is just as delicious with no icing at all and a hot cup of tea!

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  1. 5 stars
    I agree this rich fruit cake is a really good recipe. I have cooked a couple of them on each of the last 3 years and given one as a present. It is easy to make if you follow the instructions. Delia says the most important thing is the creaming of the butter and sugar, I would also add that checking the oven is the correct temperature with an independent thermometer and also following the instructions to tie brown paper round the cake tin. I find that the cake comes out flat and also without the sides of the cake cooking before the centre of the cake.

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