A Taste of Heaven: Dark Christmas cake

By Sean Dunn

My first introduction to a cookbook was my Nanna’s prized Aunt Daisy Cookery. This notebook style tome was never far from the kitchen bench, and I still have this book, and use it regularly especially for cakes. It was tradition for me to be assigned the making of the Christmas cake, a job I took to enthusiastically. Although a lot of people make this well in advance, you can make it right before Christmas and it will be just as good.

There are a few recipes for fruit cake in the book, but this one remains my favourite because of the addition of blackcurrant jam, one of my secret weapons!


350 grams butter

350 grams castor sugar

6 eggs

500 grams flour

½ tsp salt, 1 tsp bicarb, 1 tsp allspice

1 tblsp treacle

6 tblsp blackcurrant jam

2 kg of dried fruit including, raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, apricots and prunes which have been marinated in the brandy

1 cup roast almonds

Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

Brandy, 2 cups (check for quality)


Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs one by one beating well in between. Fold in flour and dry ingredients, then fruit and treacle and lastly blackcurrant jam.

Set oven to 130 degrees fan-forced, or 150 non-fan. Line two cake tins with baking paper and spray with oil. Divide the cake batter evenly into the tins and place in the oven. Bake for 3.5 to 4 hours, turning regularly. If the top is getting too dark cover with foil.

Allow cake to cool and, if you like, sprinkle a little brandy over the top. Leave the cake to set in a cool dry place where the ants can’t get to it. To finish it you can ice it with the traditional marzipan and royal icing, or use quality glace fruits to give it a real quality finish.

This cake is designed to last for months, and in the old times before proper refrigeration would be eaten over the course of the year.

This cake is a huge improvement over store bought items, and if you involve your family in helping to make it then all the better. We all took turns at stirring the cake to put some love and positive energy into it.

Dear readers, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, blessings on you and yours, eat well and prosper! Cheers Sean.

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