A dark brown fruit cake with a slice taken out of it

Rum and raisin cake

  • serves 12
  • Easy

Fill your kitchen with festive smells, and take your time to make a wish as you stir up a make-ahead Christmas cake with a spiced, boozy twist


Bake this rum and raisin cake for a festive treat, then check out our Christmas cake, rum and almond fruit cake and rum and raisin bundt cake.

How to prepare the tin

Double-lining the tin with baking paper ensures that the outside of the cake doesn’t cook too quickly and dry out before the middle is done. Check the cake after 1 hour – if the top is browning too much, cover the top with a circle of baking paper, too.

Make it your own

We’ve gone for spiced rum and traditional festive flavours, including ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, but feel free to swap out the spices for ground cardamom, mixed spice, mace (or add these to the mixture). You could also use different nuts, if you like.

Low and slow

Fruit cakes are classic low and slow bakes that are densely packed with dried fruits and gentle spicing. The moderate heat ensures the cake bakes through evenly without the top and sides drying out. It also means you’ll fill your kitchen with the smells of Christmas for an afternoon. Grab a cuppa and embrace the festivities in your kitchen as the cake bakes – Christmas playlist optional, of course.

Stir slowly

Traditionally, the whole household would make a wish as you’d stir up the Christmas cake. Bring back a bit of that nostalgia and get the family involved in the baking.

Feeling festive

Getting ahead for Christmas is a great way of taking any unnecessary stress out of the holiday period. Take your time making the Christmas cake now, and it will be perfectly moist, rich and boozy by late December.

How to decorate the cake

This fruit cake is delicious eaten as it is but it can also be decorated with marzipan and fondant. Follow our easy guide using the classic Christmas cake recipe here.




  • sultanas or raisins (or use a mixture) 700g
  • glacé cherries 50g, quartered
  • mixed peel 50g
  • chopped dates 100g
  • spiced or golden rum 250ml, plus 2 tbsp and additional rum for feeding
  • salted butter 250g, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • soft light muscovado sugar 200g
  • eggs 4
  • vanilla bean paste 2 tsp
  • plain flour 200g
  • ground almonds 75g
  • baking powder ½ tsp
  • orange 1, zested
  • ground ginger 1 tsp
  • ground cinnamon 1 tsp
  • nutmeg a good grating
  • blanched almonds 50g, chopped
  • blanched hazelnuts 50g, chopped


  • Step 1

    Tip the sultanas or raisins, cherries, mixed peel, dates and 250ml of the rum into a large bowl, cover and leave to soak overnight. (You can speed up this process by tipping the mixture into a heatproof bowl and gently warming in the microwave or in a pan over a low heat. Cool before continuing as below.)

  • Step 2

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter a deep 20cm round cake tin and line with two layers of baking paper. Whisk together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition and adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture starts to look curdled. Whisk in the vanilla.

  • Step 3

    Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, orange zest and spices, and slowly fold in until just incorporated. Fold in the blanched almonds and hazelnuts, and the soaked fruit along with any soaking liquid from the bowl. Mix briefly until combined, then scrape into the prepared tin.

  • Step 4

    Bake the cake on the middle shelf of the oven for 2 hours-2 hours 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and pour over 2 tbsp of rum. Cool completely in the tin.

  • Step 5

    Once cool, remove from the tin and wrap well in fresh baking paper, then foil. Store in an airtight container for up to two months and feed with 2 tbsp of rum every two weeks.

Here are more Christmas baking recipes

Christmas Dessert Recipe For Custard Tart Recipe with Eggnog

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 673
  • Fat 27.7g
  • Saturates 12.1g
  • Carbs 81.3g
  • Sugars 63.8g
  • Fibre 3.4g
  • Protein 9.3g
  • Salt 0.6g