Fruit cake recipe

(202 ratings)

This fruit cake recipe takes 20 minutes to prepare and once baked will keep for three months.

fruit cake recipe
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time25 mins
Cooking Time4 hours 30 mins
Total Time4 hours 55 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories831 Kcal42%
Sugar120.8 g134%
Fat23.4 g33%
Saturated Fat13.7 g69%
Salt0.56 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein8.2 g16%
Carbohydrates145.7 g56%
Salt0.56 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Our fruit cake recipe is easy to make and has a subtle boozy flavour thanks to the addition of Cointreau. 

Delicious at any time of year, this Mary Berry fruit cake is sure to be a popular choice at Christmas and Easter. This recipe is easy to prepare and takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes to bake as it’s cooked at a low temperature to keep everything moist.   


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 level tbsp ginger
  • 1 level tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely zested rind and juice of 1 orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1kg packet dried mixed fruit
  • 340g packets dried cranberries
  • 4-6tbsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier




  1. Heat the oven to 140C (120C fan, Gas 1). To ensure that the cake will be central in the oven, position a shelf just below the centre.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, adding a little flour with each egg. Beat well before adding the next egg. Beat in the orange juice and remaining flour.
  3. Fold in dried mixed fruit and cranberries. Spoon mixture into a 20cm round or square cake tin that has been lined with baking parchment. Level the surface, and smooth with a wet hand.
  4. Place the cake in the centre of the oven. Round and square cakes take about 4-4½ hours to cook.
  5. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes then spoon over the Cointreau or Grand Marnier and leave to absorb.
  6. Let the cake cool completely in their tin. Wrap well in baking parchment, then foil. Keep in a cool, airy place for up to 3 months. To finish the cake, decorate with marzipan and fondant icing, if liked.

Top tips for making our fruit cake recipe

If you have an oven-proof pudding bowl or basin, you could bake the cake in a dome shape and then decorate it to look like a Christmas pudding. For this recipe you’ll need two 1 litre basins that are well buttered and dusted with flour.

Bake for 3 hours before checking if it is cooked through. It may require an additional 30 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack to cool completely before wrapping and storing until Christmas.

How to freeze fruit cake?

You can freeze this cake for up to 3 months, but defrost before decorating. Wrap tightly in clingfilm once the cake is completely cool.

Do you put eggs in a fruit cake?

Yes, this recipe has four large eggs in the ingredients. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature and beat well between each addition.

How long to leave fruit cake in tin after baking?

We recommend allowing the cake to cool completely in the tin. This not only ensures that the booze doesn’t seep out, it also ensures it is firm enough to wrap for storage. 

Why does my fruit cake crumble when cut?

A helpful tip to try to prevent your fruit cake ending up crumbly is to make sure you measure your ingredients properly. It might sound like an obvious instruction, however if you have too much fruit, there simply won't be enough batter to hold it all together.

Can a fruit cake be non-alcoholic?

Of course it can! We know that boozy desserts aren't always someone's cup a tea (or kid friendly!), so an easy way to make a fruit cake non-alcoholic is to use a substitute juice instead of the listed alcohol.

A good replacement for brandy is grape juice, or if you're looking for a lighter coloured fruit cake you could use orange or apple juice. If you are choosing to make your fruit cake alcohol free, make sure you soak your dried fruits overnight in a glass bowl so the cake doesn't lose any of it's moist qualities.

Although you could combine the cake batter by hand, the quickest and easiest way to cream the ingredients together is by using an electric hand mixer. Check out this one from Kenwood which is recommended by food editor, Jessica Dady

Kenwood Hand Mixer - View at John Lewis 

Kenwood Hand Mixer - View at John Lewis 

This mixer is lightweight, compact, and easy to use. There are five speed settings and two sets of beaters. One for whisking and another set for kneading dough. 

You might also like our tea loaf or this Earl Grey fruit cake. Fay Ripley's fruit cake is another easy bake and it only takes 45 minutes to cook. 

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.