Yorkshire Recipes


Christmas Cake

This regional recipe for ‘plain’ Christmas Cake dates back to the early 19th century.  And not so ‘plain’ when you look at the ingredients!


  • 1lb (450g) butter
  • 1lb (450g) soft brown sugar
  • 2lb (900g) plain flour
  • 6 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1lb currants, or half sultanas and currants
  • 2 oz (55g) candied peel
  • 2 tablespoons each of rum (or brandy) and milk
  • 1 level teaspoon mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  2. Mix together the sifted flour, spice, baking powder and salt, and add this gradually and alternatively with the beaten eggs
  3. Stir in the fruit and chopped peel
  4. Finally add the rum and milk.
  5. Sir well and put into a greased and lined 9-10 inch cake tin
  6. Bake in a moderate oven (170C/350F/gas mark 4) for around 2hrs 30 minutes – 3hrs, lowering the oven temperature slightly after the first hour. Test with a skewer  to see if it comes out clean. If it does, success!

Source: Theodora Fitzgibbon. A Taste of Yorkshire in Food and in Pictures.  Pan Books.

5 Responses to Christmas Cake

  • Jason

    Hi. Recipe looks great. I’m looking at making this for Xmas. When is the best time to make.?  How do I store it and how long will it last. Thanks

    • Colin Neville

      Best made in the autumn – around mid October. You can keep a rich Christmas cake like this, wrapped in a double layer of greaseproof paper and foil, and kept in a tin, in the lead-up to Christmas and for about three months after.

  • Jane

    Hi! I am wondering about the sugar in the cake recipe… brown or white or granulated or caster? Or any of the above?
    Thank you… I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

    • Colin Neville

      Suggest soft brown would work best in this recipe.

      • Jane

        Thank you!

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