Ben’s Rich Fruit Cake

This delicious fruit cake is a crowd-pleaser all year round, because the cake isn’t too dark.

You can change the mix of fruits, but stick to the overall total and don’t drop below 500g of vine fruits.

For a festive twist, use dates and cranberries, decorate as shown, or with marzipan and icing. But it’s perfect plain, too.

Ingredients (Serves at least 20):


  • 900g mixed vine fruits
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 75g mixed peel
  • 400g glacé cherries
  • 6 tbsp orange liqueur
  • Juice and zest of a large clementine (or orange)
  • 250g butter, softened (or dairy-free spread)
  • 250g soft brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 250g plain flour (or GF flour)
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 100g almonds, chopped


  • Marmalade/apricot jam
  • 6-8 pecans
  • 30 mixed glacé cherries
  • 30 blanched almonds, halved


  1. Put the fruit, apricots, mixed peel and cherries in a bowl and add the liqueur, orange juice and zest. Soak for at least 12 hours, or up to one week, stirring occasionally. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 130ºC. Grease and double line a 23cm x 7.5cm deep cake tin. Wrap the outside of the tin, to prevent the sides from overbaking (see tip).
  2. In a very large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between. Fold in the flour and mixed spice, then the treacle and almonds. Finally, fold in the soaked fruit, drained, if any liquid remains.
  3. Spoon into the tin, and level off. Bake in the oven for about 3 hours, until a skewer comes out clean. If the top is becoming too dark, cover loosely with foil. Leave to cool in the tin, then wrap in greaseproof and foil until needed (up to 3 months).
  4. To decorate as shown, heat 3 tablespoons of jam until bubbling, then sieve. Paint onto the cake, then add the fruit and nuts in rings, starting at the centre. Finally, lightly brush more jam over the almonds and pecans. The cake will keep for weeks in a tin – serve in small wedges or slices, as a little goes a long way!

TIP: We line the outside with those brown paper strips used to package online deliveries – perfect!

The Pennoyer Centre’s volunteer BakeForce make delicious cakes for sale in the café, which won the EDP Norfolk Food & Drink “Best Baking” Award.

The café is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm. 01379 676660

The Pennoyer Centre, Station Road, Pulham St Mary, Norfolk, IP21 4QT.

Tagged with: