Stir Up Sunday: Christmas Cake Recipe

Stir up sunday: Christmas cake

This weekend we're looking forward to 'Stir Up Sunday'. As the last Sunday before advent, it is traditionally kept free for the family to take part in stirring the Christmas pudding and cake. This tradition is said to have been introduced by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. The tradition has since fizzled out after the extensive range of puddings available in supermarkets. We want to bring it back into fashion, take a look at our three top tips for preparing your 'Stir Up Sunday'.

  1. Remember to soak your fruit on Saturday, it needs to be left overnight so it soaks up all the liquid.
  2. Invest in some fresh spices, they will improve the flavour compared to the dusty old jars found at the back of the cupboard.
  3. You'll need to set aside the majority of your Sunday for chopping, mixing and steaming ingredients. Don't forget to ensure each family member has stirred and made a wish!

See below for our favourite Christmas cake recipe.

Tools: 15cm square tin | oven at 150C | cooking time 1.75 - 2.25 hours | makes 12 slices

Christmas cake
  • 350g raisins
  • 150g currants
  • 50 glace cherries
  • 75g chopped pecans
  • 200ml brandy
  • 150g butter
  • 90g dark sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp treacle
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger


  • Place the dried fruit and brandy in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and leave to cool. Once cooled, cover and let it steep overnight.
  • The next day, preheat the oven to 150C and grease and line your tin.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the grated lemon zest.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the treacle and almond extract.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together, then add into the butter cream mixture with the soaked dried fruit. Fold in the chopped pecans.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven until a skewer comes out 'cleanish'.
  • Once it is completely cool, remove the cake from the tin and wrap in foil. Store in an airtight container for at least 3 weeks to improve the flavour.

In the week leading up to Christmas you can decorate your cake ready for eating. Look out for next month's post sharing our favourite cake decorating ideas.

For Nigela's full recipe see here.

Tags: christmas cake, stir up sunday, weekend, Recipe, christmas pudding