Super easy rich fruit cake recipe …

I have never got on with making fruit cakes.  The complicated long winded ones always defeat me.  I bet if I just was more patient I would succeed but you know what, with two children, two jobs and a hell of a lot of other things to do I want simple, easy and quick.  I even once bought a Mary Berry’s Christmas special fruit cake mix in Sainsburys reduced to a fiver and guess what – I got distracted by my youngest trying to get into the cooking cupboard and eat a whole packet of large marshmallows and as a consequence I put the packet of royal icing sugar into the cake mixture instead of the packet of flour!  It didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped.

Easy Fruit Cake

Easy Fruit Cake – either make one big cake or two loaf tin cakes with this recipe.

My good friend Barbara shared her recipe with me after I told her my tales of fruit cake woes.  I love it and have used it ever since.  I would almost go as far to say that it is foolproof.  It is how fruit cakes should be, deep, rich, full of fruit and above all else simple to make!  For me anyway …

Easy Fruit Cake

Difficulty – If I can do it anyone can do it!


120 grams/4oz margarine

170 grams/6oz Billingtons Molasses Sugar

340 grams/14oz dried fruit – whatever you fancy, raisins  sultanas, cherries, peel, prunes, whatever!

225 ml water (you can substitute some water for black treacle for colour and added flavour)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons of mixed spice

2 lightly beaten eggs (beat with a fork)

120 grams/4oz plain flour

Pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease and line (twice!) an 8 inch round cake tin or you can make a couple of 2lb loaf cakes with this mixture.  Just grease the tins and don’t bother lining if loaf tins.

3. Put the margarine, sugar, fruit, water, spice and bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan and over a medium heat bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute.

4. Allow to cool.

5. Add your eggs, flour and salt to the mixture and stir well.

6. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes and if it looks like it is browning too much on top, place a piece of brown paper over it.

7. It is cooked when a skewer comes out clean.  Check a couple of times in case you have skewered a raisin!

8. Allow to cool and slice or decorate with some marzipan and icing.

This cake is very forgiving!  Trust me you can’t go too badly wrong.  Well if you do let me know so I can sympathise with a fellow fruit cake battler.

TIP – If you want to add some extra extra flavour pre-soak your fruits in whiskey, brandy or apple juice for a few days.  When ready to use, pour any left over liquid into your measuring jug and top up with water and use in the cake.

Fruit topped Christmas Cake

An easy fruit cake for Christmas topped with fruit and nuts and glazed with apricot and brandy.


Have fun decorating your fruit cake!

Have fun decorating your fruit cake!

About Claire Sullivan

Bake - Slice - Eat - Enjoy! An Irish girl living in Norfolk, sharing everything I know about baking and everything I learn along the way. The beautiful County of Norfolk is full of wonderful gems and I can't wait to share them with you.
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11 Responses to Super easy rich fruit cake recipe …

  1. Heather Illingworth says:

    Why didn’t my cake rise, was it because it didn’t have baking powder in it? Apart from that it was really delicious

    • I’ve thought alot about this and done some research. I’ve never noticed the problem of not this cake not rising, it should rise a little but not a great amount. It turns out reasonably level so I don’t luckily have to carve it. mmmmm I think fruit cakes don’t really rise that much? This recipe uses bicarbonate in the mixture to create some lift.

      Thanks for the sweet comment about it tasting nice. I do like it and it’s simple to do. Which I love.

      Does anyone else know if cakes are supposed to rise much or what is expected of them?

  2. Mary Atkinson says:

    I really am pleased to have found this recipe. Thank you Claire. This is a truly delicious cake. I only wanted a recipe to use up left over ingredients from a Christmas cake recipe. It does not rise much, but being a rich fruit cake I do not think this matters.I have made it several times now with a variety of fruits which I increase to 450grms. The recipe has been requested and passed onto some friends, who now share the ease of making it with the delights of eating it.

  3. bali tour says:

    This article is great
    Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  4. Laraine says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Claire. I will definitely use it again. I did have to cover the top with aluminium foil after a while (but in my little bench top oven I have to do that with all cakes, barring muffins) and I still landed up with hard edges that I had to cut away, so I think I will lower the temperature (probably to 140°C, especially as the oven has a fan) and cook it longer. I might also try somebody else’s idea of a pan of hot water on the bottom of the oven (if I can fit one in). Instead of the expensive sugar in the recipe, I used ordinary soft brown sugar and put two TB of treacle (which is always in my pantry) in the bottom of my measuring cup before filling it to the 225 ml mark with boiling water. Oh, I also used butter. I’m a Kiwi and no respectable Kiwi housewife would use margarine for baking. (I never use it at all.) I was able to compare the cake made from your recipe with one that I bought for about $15.60 kg and there is no contest. Thanks again.

    • Sounds awesome. I’ll try all that too!! I think this recipe is so adaptable which is fab. I fiddle with it all the time too. Mmm I have started wrapped a newspaper around the outside of the tin and tying with thick string. That seems to work last time. So the paper was about 2 inches about the tin and I cover it lightly in foil. Thank you for your comment xx

      • Laraine says:

        I made one a few weeks ago, Claire, and my husband Roger had friends around yesterday so I brought out the fruit cake for him. They made a great big hole in it and they all said how nice it was. I’m about to make another one so we have something for Christmas visitors. I don’t ice it or anything. We don’t like icing anyway. However, I do have to admit I never have expensive dark brown sugar in the house so I use ordinary soft brown sugar and add a little treacle (as I always do when a recipe calls for any sort of dark brown sugar). I do the same with my mince recipe for Christmas mince pies, of which I make eight dozen every year. They make wonderful gifts and there is no way the recipients could buy anything like them (because they’d be too expensive).

  5. Jean Mitchell says:

    Hi Claire! I hope this thread is still live. This cake is stunning, I made it close to Christmas because we were finding it difficult waiting until Christmas day to taste the official iced cake I baked 3 weeks back. Like Kiwi Larraine I always use butter and I upped to flour to 200g as the boiled mixture looked very slack, I included brandy in the liquid allowance. I cooked it in a 2lb loaf tin at 135C for 2 hours and ten minutes on top/bottom heat setting. Perfect result! Such an easy recipe that I’ll bake again maybe trying different fruits and sugars. Thank you Claire for sharing this gorgeous recipe, It’s now my go to fruit cake recipe.

    • We thank you Jean. I love this cake too. I’m so short on time that I can’t be doing with a month of soaking fruit and 20hrs baking lol. Thank you let me know how you get on with any changes 👍🏻👍🏻

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