A traditional brandy-soaked rich fruit cake is as boozy as it can get. The secret to making this boozy cake is making it ahead of time so the flavors mature and the alcohol has macerated with the fruit. Which is why I call it a boozy Christmas cake or make-a-head Christmas cake.
Have you ever tasted a boozy fruitcake? If you have then you will know that though it has so much alcohol in it, it's not really like drinking alcohol. You are almost lost in the fruit flavors until the alcohol gets to your head. Oh, that happens, don't ask me how I know that.
A few years ago, I made this boozy fruit cake for a few friends who usually don't drink alcohol. They loved it very much and have been making my boozy fruitcake since. Today, I want to share the recipe with you as well.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Fruits - Personally, I think you should use what you like and omit what you don't like. For example, if you don't like black current add more raisins or cranberries. The most important is to keep the quantity the same. So you can substitute - 1 cup black currents for 1 cup cranberries or ½ cup raisins and ½ cup cranberries.
- Liquid -Alcohol has a long shelf life which is why they used alcohol to store the fruitcake for weeks. The combination of alcohol and dried fruits is absolutely heavenly. And if you can, let the fruits sit for a few weeks like the traditional fruit cake and you will bake fruitcakes every year, I promise. The alcohol mellows down the flavor mixed over time with the fruit so while it can be overwhelming when fresh it softens later over the weeks.
- Black treacle - Back when grandma and mom made it, it uses to be a must but nowadays I omit it. A good substitute for treacle is the same amount of molasses or dark corn syrup.
- Mixed spice - Mixed spice is generally made with cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves, allspice, nutmeg sometimes even caraway seeds, cardamom, and cayenne. A good substitute for mixed spice is ⅛ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground clove, and ground allspice. Alternatively, if you don't like spices you can also use just 1 teaspoon vanilla with ½ teaspoon almond extract or ¼ teaspoon rose extract.
Tips for Success
- The real secret to making a good boozy fruitcake is in the preparation and what I mean by that is making it ahead of time. So the alcohol has time to mature and the flavors go mild. The fruit in the cake gets infused with alcohol at the same time the alcohol gets fruiter.
- Adding more alcohol over the next few weeks is optional but highly recommended. Storing the cake correctly is very very important with make-ahead fruitcakes. Always wrap well in a greaseproof paper twice and then in aluminum. The aluminum works to give the cake a dark cool atmosphere. Any outside influence can cause the cake to mold rendering all your hard work useless.
- Store it correctly wrapped in a tin and you will have a wonderful boozy Christmas cake. Don't forget to come later and let me know how it was. OK?
Absolutely. Use orange juice instead of alcohol. Try my other Rich Fruit Cake Recipes - Rich fruit cake recipe uses orange juice, dark fruitcake recipe, Candied fruit fruitcake recipe (coming soon), Ultimate Chrismas pudding and traditional Christmas pudding, Eggless fruitcake recipe
I usually cut my fruit two months in advance, like in October. And, this is the cake I make for the grown-ups - not the kids.
I place the fruit in a glass jar with a lid. And, add enough rum or brandy to soak the fruit completely.
Then, I leave the jar in the corner of the fridge. And, the fruit stays soaked in rum for the next two months.
When it’s time to bake my cake, I just drain all the alcohol from the fruit completely.
Next, I add the fruit to the cake batter and bake as normal.
Lastly, add extra brandy or rum after baking, and only if you do not mind the extra boozy zing.
Often, over-baking a fruit cake is the cause of dry fruit cakes. A fruit cake must be baked at the right temperature. And too-high oven temperature will dry the cake. Therefore, follow the recipe closely, including baking times.
- 250 grams (1¾ cups) Golden Raisins
- 250 grams (2 cups) Black Currants
- 100 grams (¾ cups) Dried Sultanas
- 50 grams (⅓ cups) Dried Apricots chopped
- 50 grams (0⅓ cups) Candied Peel chopped
- 100 grams (½ cups) Glace Cherries undyed
- 100 grams (¾ cups) Dried Cranberries
- 150 ml (⅔ cups) Brandy for soaking
- 50 ml (¼ cups) Cherry Brandy for feeding
- 110 grams (½ cups) Dark Brown Sugar
- 113 grams (½ cups) Unsalted Butter
- 3 Eggs large
- 150 grams (1¼ cups) All-Purpose flour sifted
- 1 tablespoon Black Treacle (optional for dark color)
- 1 tsp Orange Zest
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
- 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg fresh grated
- 75 grams (½ cups) Mixed Nuts (almonds, macadamia, pecans)
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Soak fruits - Add all the fruit to a large glass bowl and combine with the brandy. Cover and leave overnight. Pro tip - use glass or plastic bowls, do not use metal bowls for soaking alcohol. You can soak the fruits for up to a week in a bowl or a few months in a glass jar in the fridge.
- Oven - Preheat the oven to 300°F/ 150°C/ Gas Mark 2
- Pan - Grease, and line with parchment paper a 7-inch square deep loose bottom pan. Pro tip - the pan must be lined with paper to prevent the edges from burning or sticking to the pan.
- Wet ingredients - In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time followed by the treacle, vanilla, orange, and lemon zest.
- Dry ingredients - Add the flour and combine well. Followed by the soaked fruits along with the alcohol. Finally, add the nuts. Pro tip - Combine well but do not overmix at this point or the fruit will sink to the bottom of the pan.
- Pour into the prepared baking pan
- Pan - Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with a damp tea two. Pro tip - Dip a tea towel in water and squeeze out the water so it's damp but not wet. Then wrap it around the cake. If necessary use a pin to secure it in place. This will prevent the cake from becoming dry.
- Bake - Place the cake pan on a baking tray and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the center comes clean. If the top starts browning too quickly tent loosely with a foil
- Cool - Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Feed - When cooled turn upside down - use a skewer and make some holes in the base. Carefully spoon the cherry liquor over letting it soak as you spoon the alcohol. Place it back upside on a place so it will continue to soak any leftover alcohol on the plate.
- Store - Double wrap in greaseproof papers well. Followed by aluminum foil making sure the foil does not come in contact with the cake. Store in a tin in a cool dry place.
- Weekly feeding - Feed once a week with more brandy or cherry brandy up to Christmas. Making sure to wrap it well before storing it again.
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