If I’m not making my super easy boiled fruit cake with stout and I want to go all the way, I make my all time favourite fruit cake with loads of fruit and nuts. I especially love whole cherries in a fruit cake. It makes me feel like I’ve hit the cake jackpot. I also believe that fruit cake is not only there for Christmas or other special celebrations. Its my favourite kind of cake for any tea time. 

For convenience, this recipe doesn’t require the fruit to be boiled in advance and it works equally well with roasted or raw nuts. You will need a total of 200 g of whatever nuts you enjoy. I use cashews, Brazils and hazelnuts. The cake itself is light in colour which I prefer, and overall its super moist but with the required density. You can of course ice it, but I like to serve it naked with a light dusting of icing sugar and fresh fruit such as figs piled on top. 

The double lining of the cake tin is important because this cake is in the oven for so long.

This recipe and image come from my second cookbook ‘sweet’which was published by Penguin Random House in 2015. I was honoured that my book won a Gourmand Cookbook award in the national competition under under pastry category and went on to be a finalist in the World Cookbook competition. To buy my book, you can find a hardcopy if you live in South Africa on Takealot or a ebook version (for international purcahses) here

Tip: I sprinkle brandy over the cake every 10 days or so; this adds a lovely flavour and helps keep it moist and well preserved.

Recipe – makes 1 large cake

  • 230 g golden sultanas
  • (or raisins or both)
  • 150 g candied pineapple, coarsely chopped
  • 100 g candied orange peel, coarsely chopped
  • 50 g crystalised
  • ginger, chopped
  • 230 g whole cherries
  • 50 g whole almonds, toasted
  • 50 g Brazil nuts
  • 50 g cashews or pistachios
  • 50 g hazelnuts, toasted
  • without skins
  • 230 g cake flour, sifted
  • 230 g castor sugar
  • 230 g butter, room temperature
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60 ml brandy, plus extra for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 140 °C. Double-line a 20-cm round cake tin with baking paper.

In a bowl, combine all the fruit and nuts with a little of the flour to prevent them from sticking together.

Cream the castor sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, then mix in the zests. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition. Add the remaining flour and salt. Stir in the fruit and nuts, lemon and orange juice, and brandy.

Bake for 2 3/4–3 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. When cool, turn the cake out and sprinkle with brandy. Wrap tightly in aluminium foil and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.


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I cant believe my blog is 8 years old already! what an amazing journey its been.

Take a look back in time:

1 year ago – espresso chocolate chip cookies

2 years ago – carmelised pear and gorgonzola toasties

3 years ago – red wine roast chicken

4 years ago – ‘pizza’ jaffles

5 years ago – coconut & lime ice cream (vegan)

6 years ago – smoked red pepper flat bread with roast beetroot, zucchini and goats cheese

7 years ago – seared salmon with orange, teriyaki & ginger







  1. I love fruit cake. As I am the only one that eats it in our house, my waist line can’t afford it.

  2. Hi! Whats the quantity of zest n juice of lemon n orange? Cos there’s a typo there….theres a question mark…shud there b a slash instead? Does it mean 1/2? Also what can v tetotallers use instead of brandy? Pls do reply…

  3. Sam

    Hi Faiza – its zest and juice of half a lemon and orange (Ive fixed the recipe). Im not too sure what replacement for brandy – I would just say eat it soon after its been made – (up to 2 weeks and keep it well wrapped and sealed) It will be fine. The brandy acts as a preserving agent if you are keeping it for months.

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