Great-grandma's Christmas cake

My mum recently handed me a real treasure – an exercise book that was used for recipes by my great-grandmother. I never knew my great-grandmother, but I certainly recognise some of her recipes from my visits to Nan’s house. It has been compiled with patience and love, and gives me an insight into a woman I never met. It is a privilege to now have her cookbook. This cake is from an era where home cooks were incredibly frugal, as everyday ingredients, such as butter, were in short supply.

  • 1 hr 5 mins cooking
  • Serves 10
  • Print
AWW Dec 2009


Great-grandma's Christmas cake
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 60 gram butter, chopped
  • 1 cup (150g) sultanas
  • 1 cup (150g) currants
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) brandy
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • icing sugar, to decorate


Great-grandma's Christmas cake
  • 1
    In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, except the eggs, flours and icing sugar; boil for 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, cool to room temperature.
  • 2
    Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Grease a 20cm-round cake pan and line base and sides with baking paper.
  • 3
    Stir eggs into cooled fruit mixture; fold in sifted flours. Spread mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a thin knife or skewer. Cool in pan.
  • 4
    To decorate, place a paper doily on cake and dust liberally with icing sugar, then carefully remove the doily. Serve sliced.

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