Last Minute Christmas Cake

Keep up the traditional fruit cake at Christmas time, but here is a homegrown version that needs no “ripening” beforehand.

Makes one large or ± 20 large muffin or tuna-tin size mini cakes


Cake batter

  • 1 kg fruit cake mix
  • 200 g cherries, cut in half
  • 125 g pitted dates, chopped
  • 3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 ml) canola oil
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) soak water from fruit
  • 1 x 650 g Ina Paarman’s Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 T (30 ml) mixed spice
  • 200 g pecan nuts, chopped
  • ½ cup (125 ml) brandy

White glacé icing


Adjust the oven rack to one slot below the middle. Preheat the oven to 170°C for a large cake and 180°C for smaller ones. Use one 30 cm diameter round cake tin or 24 smaller containers. Butter tin/s and line base/s with baking paper.

Place the cake fruit, cherries and chopped dates in a mixing bowl and just cover the fruit mixture with boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup of the soak water for mixing the cake and drain away the rest.

Mix the Chocolate Cake by beating the eggs and oil. Add the ¾ cup of soak water and mix it in. Add the dry mix and the mixed spice and stir with a spatula until roughly blended.

Add the fruit mixture and nuts. Fold everything in by hand with a spatula until evenly blended. Fill the pan/s almost to the top as the mixture does not rise much. Bake large cakes for 1½ hours and smaller cakes for ± 30 minutes. As soon as cake comes out of the oven, pour brandy over and leave to cool. Wrap tightly in foil before storing in an airtight container.

White glacé icing

Our Vanilla Icing gives a much better result than plain icing sugar. I suggest you keep the bag and nozzle to use at another time.

Sift the icing sugar and milk powder together.

Heat butter and lemon juice in the microwave on high for 45 seconds. Add the sifted mixture gradually while whisking with a hand whisk.

You should get a thick but still runny mixture that coats the back of a spoon. If too thick add a little boiling water (1 T).

Spoon icing over the cakes and encourage the icing to drip over the sides as we have done with our mini cakes.

Decorate with holly or any small Christmas decorations.

Glacé fruit topping
  • 4 T (60 ml) super fine apricot jam
  • 250 g assorted glacé fruits
  • ± 6 stalk cherries in maraschino
  • ± 1 metre red ribbon
  • 3 red topped florist pins

Melt the jam in the microwave for ± 30 seconds.

Cut the glacé fruit into smaller wedges and toss with the warm jam to glaze the fruit. It is still looks too sugary, microwave for ± 30 seconds. Arrange the fruit on the cake.

Top with the cherries and secure the ribbon around the cake with the florist pins.

Ina's Tip

The cake can be used the same day or the next, or keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. It also freezes exceptionally well.

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