The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christmas cakes.

For years I have used this cake recipe. It makes 2 medium or one large (very large) cake. I made three little cakes and one large. 

There are so many options... a medium cake and a tray of muffin sized ones to use as puddings. Heat the little ones in the microwave and serve with ice cream, custard or cream and you have a good pudding desert!

Or make a dozen small cakes in individual casseroles or mini loaf tins and wrap beautifully for gifts.

This is so easy. It's all in the soaking.

Ok here's the recipe...

You need around 2 kilos of dried fruit. Use what you like. Andy loves apricot so I include chopped up dried apricot. I like cherries so lots of those. You can just get mixed dried fruit. 

1 tin crushed pineapple and all the juice.

1 and three quarters cups of sherry or whiskey or port... any spirit is ok. This is key. Once cooked there is no alcohol in your cake. This preserves your cake. It will last well over a year when cooked. Making it a great pantry or gift item, wedding cake even.

2 teaspoons bi carb soda.

2 teaspoons mixed spice.

500g butter.

10 eggs.

4 cups plain flour.

2 cups DARK brown sugar.

Thats it.

Ok in a big bowl empty all your fruit and pineapple and add your brandy or whatever you have.  Every time go go past this give it a stir. You want to soak this 12 to 24 hours, at least over night. You turn dried fruit into plump moist fruit that is just divine. add your bi carb and spices. 

In a separate big bowl beat your eggs, sugar, butter and add your flour and make smooth.

Pour this over fruit mix and with a big strong spoon stir it through.

Line your baking tins. Its fine to use a casserole dis if it has straight sides or anything like muffin tins... depends on the size you want.

Pre heat oven to medium... about 160 is right in my oven. You can start a bit higher but you don't want it to get too dark on top. You must keep an eye on it. A large cake is going to take around 2 hours, small around 1 hour. You are looking for a deep golden colour. Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean you are ready. I will not give times exactly as it depends on your oven and size of tins. Muffin tray cakes are maybe half an hour.

This cake tastes good on  day one but better after a couple of weeks and even better after a couple of months. Keeping one on hand through winter is wonderful. It is so yum and good, makes wonderful gifts too. I make this for my husbands birthday every year as it is by far his favourite!


  1. Oh, I am going to send you a gold star and an elephant stamp! I have wanted the recipe with the pineapple in it for so long!

    1. Thank you Earthmother... it is so moist and lovely I hope you love it! xxx

  2. Looks so yummy. I have always wondered if one makes the fruit cake in muffin pans if the cooking time is shorter?

    1. Hi Susan, yes the large cake will take around two hours, a small individual cake around an hour... muffin sizes test after half an hour. Even muffin pans vary in size so I would say after 20 mins if they look golden test with a skewer and if it comes out clean they are done. They look lovely in cellophane bags with a ribbon as a gift. Or heated and served as puddings. Good luck!

  3. This is definitely going in my 'recipes to keep' folder! Sounds so easy and so delicious!!
    Thanks, Annabel

    1. Thanks Little Moo. This one is so handy as if you keep one in a tin you always have it on hand for visitors etc as it never goes stale it just gets better and better! x

  4. Hi Annabel, I've just come back from my Mum and Dad's place where I left them raving about "Annabel's Cake". Made my first (but def not my last) batch of your christmas cake, and wanted to say thank you! It is sooo delicious. Mum said she hadn't had such a nice fruit cake in a long time.
    This lovely message came to me privately from Bert Dink but she has given me permission to post it. I am because it might give someone the confidence to try this lovely recipe! Thank you so much Bert! xx

  5. Hi Annabel, do you keep this in the fridge, or just in the cupboard? Thanks :)

    1. Hi Muppet! No need to be in the fridge. Just seal well ie wrap well in foil or glad wrap and maybe in a tin and keep in a cupboard or your pantry. It should get better and better for at least a few months... and be absolutely fine after a year. Very good to have on hand!

    2. Thanks Annabel, just thought I'd check, as I kept the top layer of our wedding cake in the cupboard for our 1st anniversary - and it went mouldy! Luckily it wasn't a sign of things to come, we had our 26th anniversary this year! :)

  6. Thank you for posting this recipe I've been wanting to make these cakes.
    I'm in the US and I'm trying to convert some of your things in the recipe, like the 500 grams of butter. Is that considered 1lb of butter or more. 1lb of butter is equivalent to 32 tablespoons but 500 grams is more than 32. So how many cups do you use for butter?
    And I was also wondering about the Spices you used in your mixed spics you add. I think those are all the questions, "smile".

    1. Dear Laurie, When I first started the blog I never imagined anyone overseas would be reading! Now I try to post recipes in cups etc so its easier! But anyway 500 grams = 17 and a half oz I see that 2 US cups = 16 ounces so use two cups and add a extra dollop!
      The mixed spice is nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. You can really go with what you like.
      I hope that helps! It keeps so long in a tin that it is very handy to always have! Good luck with it! With love

  7. Thank you! You made me smile with the extra dollop. ;)

  8. What size can of Pineapple do you use in this recipe please Annabel?

    1. Dear Edwina, I think it is 440g tin.. not the little tiny tins but the regular tin. You can use either sweetened or unsweetened plus all the joule goes it. Hope that helps! With love

  9. This cake sounds great and I plan to make it!! Another of your recipes I am really wanting to try is your sausage rolls!! Please put that on your blog!! Thanks in advance!!


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