Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

English Christmas Cake

Cake, Christmas, Desserts, HolidayTove Balle-PedersenComment
English Christmas Cake

English Christmas Cake

December 4th.

Every year I see a lot of dried candied fruit in the grocery store, and I knew that most of them could be used for english christmas cakes. I have never tasted an English christmas cake, and of course this would be the perfect year to try it.

The cake is very heavy, but not as sweet as I had expected. Actually I thought that it would be to sweet for me, and to sticky, but it paired perfectly with a cup of coffee.


Adapted from a recipe by Andy Harris.

Serves 12-16 people.


  • 500 g  fruitcake mix
  • 200 g raisins 
  • 200 g dried currants 
  • 200 g mixed peel 
  • 200 g dried cranberries 
  • 140 g glace cherries 
  • 100 g mixed nuts 
  • 150 ml dark rum 
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence 
  • 3 teaspoons almond essence 
  • 400 g brown sugar. divided
  • 250 ml water, cold
  • 250 g all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice 
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 230 g butter 
  • 5 free-range eggs 
  • 130 ml tawny port 
  • 70 ml golden rum


  • raw pistacios


  • 100 g pasteurized egg whites
  • 200 g sugar
  • 30 ml dark rum
  • 30 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Sugared cranberries:

  • 10-12 cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • extra sugar for dusting


Combine dried fruits in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add nuts, dark rum, vanilla, almond essence and 60 g brown sugar. Cover and soak in the rum overnight, then transfer to a saucepan. Add cold water and heat over high heat until it begins to simmer, then reduce to low heat and cook 15 minutes or until fruits soften. Allow to cool.

Sift flour with allspice, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. 

In a stand mixer cream the butter and the remaining brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add fruit mixture and stir to combine, then add reserved flour mixture and combine well.

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Grease a 9-inch (28cm) springform with a little softened butter. Sprinkle flour around the sides and bottom and shake out excess flour. Spoon cake mixture into springform, and bake for 2 hours or until a cake tester comes out clean  when poked into the middle of the cake. Remove cake from the oven. Poke small holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer or cake tester. Combine port and rum  and pour over the cake. Allow to stand for at least 3 hours before removing from the springform. 

Sugared cranberries

Dissolve sugar in warm water, and dip the cranberries in the syrup. Roll the sticky cranberries in granulated sugar, until covered. 


When making meringue it is very important that there are no fat residue on your bowl and whisk, otherwise the egg whites won't get fluffy.

Whisk the egg whites until they just turn fluffy. Meanwhile heat sugar rum and water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and keep it simmering until it reaches 244℃ (118℃). Wipe any sugar crystals down the sides of the saucepan with a brush dipped in clean water.

Pour the scolding hot syrup into the egg whites while whisking. The meringue becomes pretty warm, but keep whisking for 10 minutes, until stiff peaks. Add the vanilla paste and whisk a few minutes longer to incorporate. The meringue should be firm and shiny.


Ice cake immediately with a palette knife, use a brûlée torch to lightly toast the meringue. Garnish with raw pistachios and sugared cranberries.