Christmas Cake by Martin Dwyer

Christmas Cake by Martin Dwyer

Christmas isn't Christmas without a Cake. A lot of households still make the traditional Christmas Cake and this is Martin's own tried and trusted recipe. If you don’t want to go to the bother of icing the cake glaze the top with some warmed sieved apricot jam, make a pattern on the top with some toasted nuts and some cherries and then glaze these with the jam as before.

Makes an 8" cake | 5 hours


  • 110g (4oz.) Yellow Sultanas
  • 110g (4oz.)  Raisins
  • 225g (8oz.) Glace Cherries
  • 110g (4oz.) Crystallized Pineapple
  • 60g (2oz.) Crystallized Ginger
  • 60g (2oz.) Angelica
  • 110g (4oz.) Walnuts
  • ​60g (2oz.) Candied Citron Peel
  • 60g (2oz.) Candied Orange Peel
  • 60g (2oz.) Candied Lemon Peel
  • Glass of Irish Whiskey
  • 5 Eggs
  • 280g (10oz) Butter
  • Grated Rind & Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 225g (8oz) Caster Sugar
  • 280g (10oz) Plain Flour
  • Good pinch of salt


To prepare the tin, butter well and line it with two layers of baking parchment deeper than the tin and coming up over the edge. Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark  3, 160C, 325F. 

Soak the Sultanas and the Raisins in the whiskey for two hours.

Halve or quarter the cherries and chop the peel (if you are using whole peel) and cut the angelica, pineapple ginger and nuts into dice.

Beat the eggs until thick and foamy.

Beat the butter with the sugar and the lemon rind until pale and fluffy.

Add the beaten eggs a little at a time and stir well after each addition. (If it starts to curdle fold in some of the flour)

Mix the salt into the flour and stir this into the mixture thoroughly but lightly. Then stir in the lemon juice. Stir in the fruit, a little at a time and then the whiskey. Put the mixture into the prepared tin and make a hollow depression on the centre of the top to help it to rise evenly.

Cook at the prepared temperature for one hour and then reduce the temperature to Gas 2, 150C, 300F and cook for another hour at this temperature. (If you have a fan oven I would reduce it to Gas 1, 140C, 275F at this stage.)

From this on it is in your hands. Use a skewer to test the cake into the centre. It should come out clean. Depending on the actual temperature of your oven on top and still not cooked in the centre cover the top with some bake well paper,

Once it is cooked leave it to cool in the tin. (If you like you can pour some more whiskey over it at this stage and more from time to time afterwards should you like a strongly alcoholic cake)

The following day take it out of the tin but leave it in the baking parchment and wrap in tinfoil until needed.

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