Felicity’s Tried and Tested – Best Ever Christmas Cake

Nov 21, 2022

School and community fund-raising recipe books hold so many gems. Always the most tried and true recipes that have been passed down for generations.

This recipe is no exception . . . Here is the introduction on Felicity’s recipe in the Waihi School Cookbook ‘Fuel for your Family’.

This is an old recipe of my Grandmother’s which my mother made for me on my wedding day and which I have used for over the years for family 21st birthdays and weddings. Now I regularly use it for Christmas each year”.

With the permission of Mrs Felicity Trolove I am thrilled to be able to share this recipe with you.

You will need:
Dried fruit
Lemon Zest
Port, Sherry or Brandy
Brown sugar
Golden syrup
Coffee Essence
Lemon Essence
Vanilla Essence
Almond Essence

For the icing you will need;
Icing Sugar

You can choose whether you would like to use a pre-prepared Christmas fruit mix in this recipe or make up your own mix of dried fruits. What you need to consider though is that if you use a package fruit mix you will NOT need to add the lemon peel (there will already be some in the mix).

Mixing bowl;

I like to use my large mason cash bowl that I got as a wedding present to mix my Christmas cake. I’m sure it brings our marriage extra love.

My husband is not a fan of glazed cherries and so I tend to use my own mix of fruit and add the lemon peel as instructed in the recipe.

What size cake tin do I need?
To bake the cake you will need a;
25cm (10 inches) square cake tin
27cm (11 inches) round cake tin

The most important thing about this bake is to make sure the cake tin is lined and prepared as best as you can.
You do not want the outside to burn or over cook before the middle. Watch these you tube clips for the best methods.

Or you could simply use a wooden cake box. Mine is from Cardock Design

How long do I cook it for?

I bake my cake using the fan-bake setting and cook for 4 hours at 140 degrees Celsius (280 degrees Fahrenheit), placed in the middle of the oven to get the best result. If you do not have a fan-bake oven you will need to increase the temperature by 10 degrees and adjust your cooking time for a longer cook.

Felicity’s Tried and Tested – Best Ever Christmas Cake

With Felicity's permission I am able to share this fabulous Christmas Cake recipe.
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 4 hours


Christmas Cake Recipe

  • 1.8 kg dried fruit (you could use a prepared Christmas fruit mix or your own mix of favourite dried fruits)
  • 1 lemon zest (not needed if using a packaged fruit mix)
  • 250 ml port, sherry or brandy
  • 500 grams butter
  • 500 grams brown sugar
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence (or 1 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 1tbsp of boiling water)
  • 600 grams plain flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon essence (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • 2 tsp almond essence (optional)

Brandy Icing

  • 300 grams icing sugar
  • 50 grams butter
  • 25 ml cream (or milk)
  • 25 ml brandy


Christmas Cake

  • Place the dried fruit in a very large bowl and pour over the alcohol. Cover and leave for 24-48 hours (If the fruit looks thirsty you could always add a little more).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (360 Fahrenheit).
  • Line your chosen cake tin (this is the most important step).
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light, pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs two at a time. Mixing well after each addition.
  • Fold through the golden syrup and coffee essence to the creamed mixture.
  • Add the creamed mixture to the large bowl of fruit and alcohol.
  • Fold through the flour, nutmeg and remaining essences. Mix well to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
  • Place in the prepared tin and into the oven. Turn the oven down to 140 degrees Celsius (280 Fahrenheit) after ten minutes and set a timer for 3 hours time.
  • Use your finger to test the top of the cake. It is dense so it will not spring back, but you don't want your finger to make an indent. Test with a skewer. You want the skewer to come out clean when inserted in to the middle of the cake. Cook for up to 4 hours.
  • Cool on a wire rack (this is best done overnight because it will take some time to cool, as it will hold heat for a long period of time). Once cool wrap on brown paper and tinfoil until needed. This is easily prepared a month in advance.

Brandy Icing

  • Melt the butter.
  • Place the icing sugar into a small bowl and pour the melted butter, cream and brandy over the top. Mix until smooth.
  • Roughly ice the top of the Christmas cake making peaks with your icing knife.
  • Leave for two hours or more to set.