date and walnut fruit cake

This delicious and moist fruit cake makes the perfect basic Christmas cake. Just bake, and decorate to your heart’s content!
Makes: A 20cm (8in) round cake or a 18cm (7in) square cake
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 3 hrs
Total time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Skill level: Easy peasy



    • 250g (8oz) butter, softened


    • 250g (8oz) dark muscovado sugar


    • 4 large eggs


    • 300g (10oz) plain flour


    • 1 level tbsp ground mixed spice


    • 750g (1½lb) dried mixed fruit


    • 250g packet soft dates, chopped


    • 200g (7oz) walnuts, chopped


    • 4-6 tbsp brandy


    • 20cm (8in) round, or a 18cm (7in) square, cake tin, lined with baking parchment





    1. Position a shelf just below the centre of the oven so that the cake will be in the middle of the oven while it’s cooking. Set the oven to gas mark 2 or 150°C.


    1. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg to help prevent the mixture curdling. Sift the remaining flour and mixed spice into the bowl, then add the dried mixed fruit, dates and walnuts and mix together.


    1. Spoon mixture into the lined tin and level the surface. Rub over the top with a wet hand to get the surface smooth, then bake cake in centre of oven for 3-3½ hours, or until the cake is firm to touch, and a warm skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake.


    1. Remove cake from the oven, place the tin on a wire rack and leave the cake for 10-15 minutes, then spoon brandy over. Leave the cake to cool in tin. When it’s cold, if it’s not being decorated immediately, it can be stored for up to 3 months wrapped in baking parchment and then foil.



Nutritional information per portion



This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.