January 11, 2019

LIGHT FRUIT CAKE or a tale of two fruit cakes #1.

fruit cake

The first fruit cake I made in 2018 was for my dad’s 90th birthday last November.   He wanted a small family party and when I asked him what sort of cake he would like he said a fruit cake.  This rather took me by surprise. 

fruit cake2

All the years since Mum died I have been making him chocolate cakes, ginger cakes and many others, but never a fruit cake.  Maybe he was hankering after one for ages but was too polite to say!

I rarely make a fruit cake so I looked in my cook books and on the net for recipes and settled on one by Mary Berry called “Easy Fruit Cake”.

It comes from one of her cookery books that I don’t actually own called “Mary Berry’s Cookery Course” and you can see it on the internet here.

Fruit cake5

It really was delicious.  It had a lovely almondy flavour and nice light texture with the fruit evenly distributed.  (I have noticed that almond essence appears regularly in Mary’s recipes.)  It also kept well in an airtight tin.  I decided this would be my go-to fruit cake recipe for whenever I wanted to make another one – then along came fruit cake #2, Sandringham cake, as per a previous post……


225g softened butter or baking spread (I used Flora Buttery)

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self raising flour

100g ground almonds

½ tsp almond essence

450g mixed dried fruit

25g flaked almonds to decorate


Preheat the oven to 160C / 140Fan / gas mk 3.  Butter a deep 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides.

Cream the butter or spread and sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Fold in the flour, almonds, and extract and mix thoroughly.  Add the fruit and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.  Scatter the flaked almonds evenly over the top.

Bake for 1½ – 2 hours until done.  (Mine took 1¾ hours.)  Cool in the tin.

Cuts into 12 slices.


  1. Very belated birthday to your Dad! He certainly doesn't look 90! What a super choice of cake too. It's a shame fruit cakes aren't more popular (I guess they're not the most fashionable of bakes at the mo) as they're so comforting and full of flavour. I especially love ones topped with flaked almonds.

    Another good Mary Berry fruit cake recipe I've baked a few times is her Victorian Christmas cake. It's in her "Baking Bible" book if you fancy looking it up :)

    1. Jo, cakes do go in and out of fashion, the current trend being for cakes slathered in lots of icing, covered in fruit, veg or leaves and with chocolate dribbling down the sides I think!
      I looked at the Mary Berry recipe that you mentioned, might try that next time, now that my taste for fruit cake has been rekindled!

  2. My Mum used to make a light fruit cake which had a lovely open texture and was quite crumbly and soft. Does using granulated sugar rather than castor get this effect? Also, my fruit all sinks to the bottom. What can I do?

    1. I believe that the advantage of using caster sugar is that it dissolves more easily and makes for a more even texture. I suspect that the reason for the open and crumbly texture is more to do with the proportion of the ingredients than the type of sugar.
      I wish I knew a foolproof method of preventing fruit from sinking myself! Some do and some don't depending on the recipe I think.