Christmas Cake

Here is a recipe for a simple, completely stress-free Christmas cake that Penelope, one of the Mana trustees, has made for the past 30 years.

It is rich, moist and delicious – and the only washing up is a pan, a wooden spoon and the cake tin you bake it in!


1 kg of mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas and currants)
½ cup chopped glacé cherries OR crystallised ginger
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup raw sugar
125 g butter
3 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of water
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 beaten free-range eggs
approx. 24 each whole blanched almonds and whole glacé cherries (to decorate)


  1. In a large pan combine the first nine ingredients. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Boil for three minutes then allow to cool.
  2. When cooled, sift in the flour and baking powder then gently stir in the eggs. Mix well.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a large greased or lined cake tin and decorate the top with whole blanched almonds.
  4. Bake at 160 degrees°C for up to two hours (test with a skewer after one and a half hours to see if it is ready sooner).

Note: Mini Christmas cakes can be cooked in large muffin tins (cooking time around 30 minutes at 160 degrees°C).

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