Debbie’s Mum’s Christmas Cake (and who knows where she got it from )


  • 275 gms butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 10 oz brown sugar
  • 6 well beaten eggs
  • 12 oz flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 lb’s fruit Almond vanilla & lemon essence
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp milk


  • Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, then essences, fruit, and flour. Add soda and mix well.
  • Bake 3.5-4 hrs at 140c in a 9”square tin.
  • *The handed down verbally stuff:
  • Fruit is soaked in a liquor/tea mix for at least a day beforehand - brandy/rum/whiskey that type of thing (aka what you might have on hand that’s not cream based or fancy mixers) and 2-3 cups of strong (ie steeped so long you could stand a spoon in it) tea.
  • The American version of the fruit used in cakes is a little different than in NZ. I find I mix a few things into the store bought fruitcake mix -- I’ve not bought any for a while but I think I mix in a packet of golden raisins (the equivalent to our sultanas) and also a separate small package of citrus peel. For our family at least, we don’t go ga ga over the coloured glace cherries so no extra’s of those for us.
  • Mixed spice is, as far as I can see a NZ thing - I’ve not found it in America at this point. Here’s what’s in it: blended, sweet flavour. A selection of coriander, cinnamon, pimento, ginger, cassia, nutmeg and cloves -- to flavour desserts, cakes, biscuits, confectionery and Middle Eastern dishes.
  • And as for brown sugar, use the light brown, not the dark brown. Though this is something you can play with depending on taste preference, but NZ brown sugar is the light brown.
  • The tin - Mum’s tin is tall (3-4inches) (and I eventually found a tall one (at Kohls I think) too, though it’s a springform, but that’s actually kind of good), and she lines it with newspaper (4-5 layers of paper) cut to fit, then a layer of tinfoil, then a layer of greased, greaseproof paper. Parchment paper might work well I think. I’ll be trying that this year. The newspaper was cut to fit the bottom, then a long strip cut to wrap around the edges. For the rest it’s cut into strips as wide as the pan then, layered like a cross in the pan.
  • This is all to help stop the edges of the cat getting too tough or crispy from the metal pan.