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Aunty Rosaleen's Traditional Irish Christmas Cake. A cake made for generations that just keeps getting better.

Aunty Rosaleen’s Irish Christmas Cake

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Hi Bold Bakers!

One of our Christmas Traditions in Ireland is to eat fruit cake. A big part of that tradition is to make our Christmas Cake  in October, giving your cake enough time to mature its flavor and age. This Christmas Cake is rich and moist, and very delicious. This recipe is from my Aunty Rosaleen who is a fantastic baker. She kindly shared it with me and I’m sharing it with you.

Part of the tradition of making Christmas Cakes is to make a wish when storing the ingredients together. I have very clear memories of mixing the big Mason & Cash bowl in the kitchen with my mum. We would line up to make a wish.

Like I said, these cakes get better with age. Store it in a tin or air tight container for up to 6 months. Don’t worry, the booze will keep it from turning bad and it will actually get better with age.

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4.46 from 35 votes
Aunty Rosaleen's Traditional Irish Christmas Cake. A cake made for generations that just keeps getting better.
Aunty Rosaleen's Irish Christmas Cake
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
3 hrs 10 mins

Join in my family tradition and make an Irish Christmas Cake this holiday season. It's my Aunty Rosaleen's recipe and I'm excited to share it with you!

Course: desserts
Cuisine: Irish
Author: My Aunty Rosaleen
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 cups (15oz/426g) sultanas
  • 3 cups (15oz426g) raisins
  • 1 ½ cups (8oz/225g) glace cherries
  • ½ cup (2 ½oz/71g) chopped or sliced almonds
  • cup (2oz/60g) candied peel
  • 1 cup (8floz/225ml) whiskey
  • 1 ⅔ cups (13oz/367g) muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup (10oz/ 300g) butter, room temperature
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups (10oz/282g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg , ground
  1. The night before, steep the fruit, candied peel, orange zest and lemon zest in whiskey. Allow to sit covered overnight at room temperature. This lets the fruit plump up and all the flavors macerate.

  2.  The next day, pre-heat the oven to 280oF (140oC) then butter and line a 10 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches deep cake tin, set aside. 

  3. Rinse the cherries off then pat with a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid.  Quarter the cherries then lightly toss in flour (this will keep the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cake while baking). Set aside. 

  4. In a large bowl combine the flour and spices, set aside. 

  5. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

  6. Add in the eggs one at a time then fold in the dry ingredients. 

  7. Lastly, fold in the boozy fruit mix, chopped almonds, candied peel and cherries. At this point traditionally you make a wish while you stir. As kids my Mum always let us do this.

  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 280oF (140oC) for one hour then at 240oF (120oC) for about 2 1/2 hours.

  9. Once baked let it cool down completely on a wire rack. Wrap it up well in baking paper and store in a tin or air tight container for up to 3 months. Don't worry, the booze will keep it from turning bad and it will actually get better with age.



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Write a Comment and Review

  1. Bushra on October 13, 2019 at 4:08 am

    Can yo please let me know what all spices required for mixed spice.
    Can you please let me know the ingredients, quantity and method to make homemade mixed spice.

    I am from India.
    And I am biggest fan of all your recipes.
    Love from India.

    • Gemma Stafford on October 14, 2019 at 1:48 pm

      That is a bit tricky, as I am not sure about the proportions of each spice in mixed spice. It’s usually made up of cinnamon, coriander seed, caraway, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, and mace.

  2. Leilani on September 23, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Good day Gemma!
    I am preparing to bake this cake, but I just want to ask. In many videos I see people covering the cake tins with cardboard or baking it in a wooden box for equal heat distribution, but I notice you dont mention anything like that. Do you have any knowledge of doing something like that?

    Kindly thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on September 24, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Hi Leilani! I am not sure what you mean, but I’d love to see how that goes. Initially, I do not think that is necessary to making the Irish cake. The cake board I would use if I would be making a tiered cake to help support the weight evenly, but that is it. I am so sorry I am not much help here. Gemma

      • Bushra on October 13, 2019 at 4:04 am

        Hi Gemma!
        Learnt so much of baking from you.
        Can you please let me know what can be the substitute of whisky in this recipe and what quantity.

        • Gemma Stafford on October 13, 2019 at 10:57 am

          I recommend rum or brandy as a substitute. I hope your cake turns out well.

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