Xmas Boiled Fruit Cake: A Moist and Delicious Christmas Treat

xmas boiled fruit cake
xmas boiled fruit cake

image of the whole fruit cake placed in the centre with lights, santa claus, and tree in the background

There’s nothing quite like an old-fashioned boiled fruit cake, especially during the festive season. This recipe yields a super moist, soft, and dense Christmas fruit cake that lasts for a long time. And here’s the best part – you only need one saucepan and a spatula. No fancy equipment, no stand mixers, and no pre-soaking required. It’s a simple yet incredible recipe that will impress your friends and family.

What is a Boiled Fruit Cake?

A boiled fruit cake is a moist and sticky fruit cake made by boiling the dried fruits instead of soaking them. This method yields the same result as soaking, creating a cake that is moist, sticky, and bursting with juicy flavors. It’s a classic approach to making a delicious fruit cake with a unique twist.

Christmas Cake

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to bake a Christmas cake that meets all your expectations. Here’s what an ideal Christmas cake should be like:

  • Dense: A Christmas fruit cake should have a dense texture, different from regular light birthday cakes or tea cakes. It should be sturdy and satisfying.
  • Soft and Fudgy: Despite its density, the cake should be soft and fudgy, melting in your mouth with every bite.
  • Loaded with Dried Fruits: A real Christmas cake should be packed with a delightful combination of sweet, sour, and juicy citrusy flavors from dried fruits.
  • Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic: While traditional fruit cakes are made with alcohol, the non-alcoholic version allows you to share it with a wider audience and avoid the bitter aftermath of alcoholic cakes.
  • No Nuts: Traditionally, dried fruits were the star of the show in fruit cakes, so there’s no need for nuts.

If all these criteria resonate with your idea of a perfect Christmas cake, then this recipe is for you.

ingredients needed to make the cake

Ingredients Needed:

Dry Fruits:

  • 125 gms Diced Dates
  • 125 gms Cranberries
  • 60 gms Dried Apricot, diced
  • 252 gms Mixed Fruit for Fruit Cake (a readymade pack made exclusively for making fruit cakes from the market)

For the Actual Cake Batter:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Leavening Agents: Baking powder and baking soda
  • Golden Syrup (or molasses)
  • Spices: Allspice and cinnamon (or a combination of ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger, and cinnamon powder)
  • Brandy (optional)
  • Zest of Orange and Lemon
  • Vanilla Extract (optional)

Step by Step Tutorial

Step 1 – Boiling the Fruits

collage of images showing how to boil the dried fruits

  1. Dice the dried fruits and add them to a large saucepan along with brown sugar, butter, and water. You can substitute 50% of the water with brandy if desired.
  2. Stir constantly and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the flame slightly and let it simmer for 2 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely.

Preparatory Steps:

collage of images showing sifting of dry ingredients and preparing the cake pan

  1. While the fruits are cooling down, sieve the dry ingredients, including plain flour, spices, and salt.
  2. Beat the eggs and set them aside.
  3. Prepare the cake pan by covering the base with aluminum foil and lining the inside of the cake ring with parchment paper for added height.

Step 2 – Preparing the Fruit Cake Batter

collage of images showing how to prepare the cake batter

  1. Proceed only when the boiled fruit mixture has completely cooled down.
  2. Add the beaten eggs, golden syrup, lemon and orange zest to the fruit mixture and fold gently.
  3. Finally, add the dry ingredients and combine them into a cake batter-like consistency.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smoothen the top.

Step 3 – Baking

image showing the double pan method of baking

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place an inverted cookie pan in the oven and then place the cake pan on top.
  2. Bake for 65 to 80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. If the cake starts browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.
  4. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Brush the top of the cake with apricot glaze for added moisture and flavor. To make the glaze, boil 2 tablespoons of apricot jam with 2 teaspoons of water.
  6. Let the cake cool for a few hours before slicing. This dense cake needs time to cool completely.

How to Store the Fruit Cake?

This moist boiled fruit cake stays fresh for a long time. After allowing it to cool completely, store it in an airtight container. It can stay fresh for 10-15 days if stored properly, and sometimes even longer. In fact, the cake tastes even better the day after it is baked. If you have made the alcohol-free version, you can store it in the fridge for up to a month. If you prefer, you can also freeze the cake by wrapping it in cling wrap and placing it in the freezer for 3 to 6 months.

Fruit Cake Decoration Ideas:

sliced image of fruit cake with even distribution of dried fruits

While traditionally, boiled fruit cakes are covered in marzipan and decorated with roses and leaves, you can keep it simple and accessible, especially if you’re a beginner. Here are a few ideas to amp up your Christmas cake:

  1. Marzipan Icing: Seal the cracks on the cake with a thin layer of marzipan. Brush the cake with vodka or apricot glaze and cover it entirely with marzipan. Decorate it with roses and leaves.
  2. Plain: Leave the cake plain and apply a shiny glaze on top.
  3. Nuts and Fruits: Top the cake with additional nuts and fruits and glaze it with apricot glaze for a shiny effect.
  4. Icing Sugar: Give it a simple dusting of icing sugar.
  5. Drippy White Icing: This works especially well if you bake the fruit cake in loaf pans. Use our eggless royal icing and pour it on top of the cake.

How to Serve Fruit Cake?

Being a dense and heavy cake, a small portion is all you need to serve. The fruit cake is packed with flavors, both fruity and zesty, making it absolutely delicious on its own. No need for fondant, marzipan, or cream. Simply serve it plain with a side of coffee or wine.

Baker’s Tips:

  • Dice the fruits instead of adding them whole to ensure even distribution.
  • Chop the dried fruits yourself to retain their natural moistness.
  • Boiling the fruits softens them and makes the cake moist.
  • Fold in the spices and zest at the end to keep the cake aromatic and zesty.
  • Be careful not to overmix the batter; stop when there are no dry bits of flour left.
  • Baking the fruit cake in a cheesecake pan makes it easier to unmold.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing; it takes time due to its density.


Q: Can boiled fruit cake be frozen?

A: Yes, the boiled fruit cake freezes very well. Simply wrap it in cling wrap and freeze it for 3 to 6 months.

Q: How long does the boiled fruit cake stay fresh?

A: When stored properly in an airtight container, the cake stays fresh for 10-15 days and sometimes even longer. The alcohol-free version can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.


Xmas Boiled Fruit Cake is a delightful Christmas treat that brings joy and delicious flavors to the festive season. With its moist and dense texture, it’s a cake that satisfies every palate. Whether you choose to decorate it with marzipan, nuts, or keep it plain, this fruit cake is sure to impress. So gather your ingredients, follow the simple steps, and enjoy the delightful aroma and taste of this festive dessert. For more culinary inspiration and recipes, visit Takeout Food, your go-to resource for culinary exploration and enjoyment.

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