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Fruit Cake

by James Morton

Fruit cakes don’t have to be super dense and dry and heavy and boozy and filled with that oh-so-satanic invention; the glacé cherry. They can be as light as any cake, with a huge variation in style from one wee simple recipe.

Prep time

30 minutes

Cook time

1 hour






Want a Dundee cake? Put some almonds on the top. Want a Christmas cake? Double the fruit and drench it in whisky. You can use a single cake tin, but this works well in a wee loaf tin or even as wee fairy cakes with a little cream cheese icing.


Step 1

If you can’t get hold of some pre-soaked fruit, soak 300g of your favourite dried fruits in 50ml water, booze or fruit juice overnight.

Step 2

To get started, preheat your oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 2. Grease a high-sided 7-inch cake tin or a loaf tin with your baking margarine and line the bottom with cut-out baking paper (draw around your tin).

Step 3

You can just mix everything together in a bowl, but for a super-light cake, I’d start by beating both your sugars and baking margarine together in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Do this until they are nearly-white and super light.

Step 4

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, add the flour and baking powder and fold this in very gently. Try to use as large a spoon as possible, preferably metal, so that it can cut through the mix without forcing all the air out.

Step 5

Add the fruit (leaving behind any excess liquid) and mix it carefully and slowly until it’s all combined. Spoon it all into your tin and transfer to your oven and bake for an hour to start with.

Step 6

After an hour, it should be nice and golden brown. It may well still be wobbly in the middle – if it is, check it again in 15 minutes. If it seems bouncy to the touch, stick a sharp knife or skewer through the middle and check that it comes out clean. If it does, it’s done. Enjoy after cooling completely.


Top Tip:

For special occasions, add the finely grated zest of an orange in with the mix, and as soon as it’s out the oven drizzle sparingly with some triple sec.




  • 150g baking margarine
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300-400g pre-soaked dried mixed fruit