Traditional English Fruitcake

Fruitier Than A Nut Cake

photo credit ED Bottone

Edward Bottone

Edward Bottone is a food and lifestyle journalist, a former chef and restaurateur, TV and radio presenter, and culinary educator.

Fruitier Than A Nut Cake

Mrs. Beeton’s Fruitcake

Bake Mrs. Beeton’s fruitcake by the 15th of December, no later, (if you are making for Christmas.)

The time has come to reinvigorate this fruit and nut compendium. Don’t lose a minute, and soak your dried fruits in the best dark rum you can find. If you want to add nuts, go right ahead.

Cool it, soak it, wrap it well, store it a cool place. Douse it again, and once more before serving it on Christmas day to the delight of one and all.


  1. Preheat the oven to 163°C (325ºF). Butter and lightly flour a ring, Bundt, or 23 x 13 cm (9 x 5″) loaf pan. Tap out excess flour.

2. Mix together well the flour, sugar, ginger, drained raisins, and drained candied peel and cherries (save the rum for dousing).

3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until pale and fluffy (at least five minutes). Mix in the butter, cream, treacle, and beat the mixture for a few more minutes.

4. Dissolve the soda in the vinegar, add it to the dough until all are well incorporated with the others.

5. Put the cake batter into the prepared mold or tin, and bake it until the tester comes out clean, from 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours.

6. Cool on a wire rack. While still upside down poke holes in the cake with a skewer, douse liberally with dark rum or brandy, and allow to cool. When cooled completely unmold and douse again. Wrap well in plastic wrap. In a few days unwrap and douse again. Re-wrap. The cake will keep well in no small part due to the alcohol. Slice and serve, if desired, with dollops of whipped cream or eggnog ice cream.