Christmas Cake goes Camping

I remember a comment by an old friend who said that he always takes a big fruit cake camping. When too tired to cook, or just in need of a something sweet, a big fruit cake hits the spot. This mighty fruit cake went camping with us in September and saw a lot of the outback. It keeps very well and took over a month to eat. Morning tea and night time pudding all in one easy travelling  cake.

cake goes camping
Fruit cake goes camping.  it’s time to make the Christmas version.

Now it’s time to make a Christmas cake, using this same recipe. The list of fruits need not be followed to the letter. I prefer to use up any fruits in the pantry: in this cake I substituted dried cranberries for glace` cherries. You can’t go wrong if the weights are all the same.


  • 500g sultanas
  • 375g raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 300g mixed glace` cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 300g currants
  • 250ml (1 cup) brandy
  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 155g  firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 115g (1/3 cup) breakfast marmalade
  • 300g plain flour
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • Blanched almonds, to decorate
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) brandy, plus extra
  1. Combine the sultanas, raisins, cherries, currants ( or other dried  fruits on hand ) with the brandy in a very large glass ceramic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside, stirring occasionally, for at least 6 hours to macerate.

    macerating dried fruit in brandy.
    macerating dried fruit in brandy.
  2. Preheat oven to 150°C. Brush a round 22- 25cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and sides with 2 layers of non-stick baking paper to reach 6cm above the edge of the pan.

  3. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until combined (the mixture may curdle at this stage – this is due to the high proportion of eggs to butter: throw in a little of the measured flour which should stop this. It makes no difference to the result) Add the marmalade and beat until well combined. Add the combined flour and mixed spice, and fold until just combined. Stir in the sultana mixture. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Tap the pan on the bench top to settle the mixture. Arrange the almonds over the top.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  4. Wrap the outside of the pan with 3 layers of newspaper, rising slightly higher than the baking paper. Secure with kitchen string. This step is essential as it prevents the cake from drying out before it is cooked inside. A square tin is easier to wrap than a round one!

    wrapping makes all the difference.
    wrapping makes all the difference.
  5. Bake, covering with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning, for 3 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  6. Pour the extra brandy over the hot cake. Wrap the pan in a clean tea towel and set aside overnight to cool completely. Stores well, wrapped in two layers or more of foil,  and store in a dark cupboard.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Blanch your own almonds; it’s much cheaper, assuming you have some almonds on hand.  Boil a pot of water, add almonds to water for exactly one minute, drain in a strainer and rinse with cold water, then squeeze almonds from their skins. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The following link is a wonderful site for checking out basic cake making techniques. DIGITAL CAMERA

26 thoughts on “Christmas Cake goes Camping”

    1. I hate panettone- I know , strong words- and often use it in a bread and butter pudding. I was just podering the idea of turning it into panettone icecream cake and then read your link- AHA- eccola! Perfetto.


  1. Gorgeous, I always substitute glacé cherries for cranberries or well, anything really! Think I will make 2 cakes this year, one for our post Chrissy camping trip. Great idea!


  2. We are a family of dried fruit intolerants which is a bloody shame cause a brandy soaked fruit cake is one of life’s pleasures. We’ll go to Brunetti’s instead and buy a Panetonne. The odd sultana won’t bother us!


  3. You made me laugh thinking of a Christmas cake as a camping companion! Yet, as I thought about it, it isn’t that much different from travel oatmeal cookies that are overpacked with dried fruit and nuts – a kind of energy bar. Great idea and a long shelf life if kept sealed in a tin. You’ve also prompted me to start my own Christmas Cake…sadly behind schedule here. Great tips that I need to follow. Mincemeat next for all those little pies..


  4. What a great idea 🙂 Christmas cake, tea and the great outdoors. Sigh. I’m missing everything except the tea! The G.O. says he doesn’t like fruit cake but last year my aunt made my Nanna’s recipe in [small] muffin form and the G.O. ate 3! I have made Christmas cake before but never Nanna’s recipe (because I didn’t have it) and with a request from my stepson (who’s already eaten the Lions Christmas Cake he bought for Christmas), Dad saying he could manage a bit of fruit cake, the M.I.L. never says no to any sort of cake and now the G.O., I will make a test batch in muffin form, and then another if successful.


  5. I make a lot of fruitcake but never thought of it as a camping staple. I’ve got the Christmas cake fruit soaking now but I’ll have to make sure I cook an extra for the January camping trip – what a good idea! I know what you mean about it seeming a bit strange given the climate, but otherwise we’d only eat them in July, and what a waste that’d be 🙂


  6. A rich cake, indeed! I have never tasted anything like that, but I will try to make one myself, thanks to your description. I’m not familiar with self-raising flour, but I’m sure that’s a minor problem.


  7. Ahhh the good ol fruit cake. Reminds me of a time at work, we had a fruit cake up in the cupboard. Whenever we catered morning teas we always reasoned that, if there wasn’t enough, ‘there’s always the fruit cake..’ – but, alas, there was always enough and the fruit cake remained on the shelf. Until one day, we needed it, and when we brought it down from the shelf, there was only the facade of a cake! Some hungry colleague had been sneaking in and slicing off slivers for who knows how long! Or maybe they brazenly stole the whole cake in one hit. Who knows. It wasn’t me I swear 😉


    1. It was you! No food ever lasts in teaching staff rooms I have found over the years. Teachers are always so rushed and hungry. I used to live on chocolate just to get through the day.


Now over to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.