Pineapple Christmas Cake
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: For 1 x 23cm; 2 x 18cm, or 12 x 10cm cakes
  • 1.5kg (52.9 oz) (3.3 lb) mixed fruit
  • 450g (15.8 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice
  • Zest of 1-2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or orange liqueur (or combination of the two)
  • 3 cups high grade (bread) flour (or feel free to use standard flour)
  • 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 225g (7.9 oz) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla, almond and lemon essences
  • 6 large eggs
For decoration (if you don’t plan to ice the cake/s):
  • 50g (1.7 oz) (1/3 cup) each glace cherries and blanched almonds
The day before mixing the cake:
  1. Put the dried fruit, undrained pineapple, orange zest, orange juice and liqueur (if using) in a large, preferably non-stick fry pan. Cover the pan and heat until the liquid boils, then simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  2. Leave in the pan overnight (I left mine for 3 days to give the fruit more time to absorb the liquid), or until cold.
Next day:
  1. Prepare the tin/s. Line with a double layer of baking paper. For extra protection, you can wrap a further layer or two of brown paper or damp newspaper around the edges of the cake pan/s so the sides don’t dry out.
  2. Mix the flour and spices together and put aside. In a very large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and essences until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, adding 2 tablespoons of the spiced flour with each egg. Stir in prepared (cold) fruit mix and remaining spiced flour. If mixture seems too soft, add extra flour until mixture just drops from the spoon.
  3. Put into the baking pan/s, leveling the tops. Decorate with blanched almonds and cherries if you don’t plan to ice the cake/s.
  4. Bake the 23cm cake at 150°C (300°F) for 1-1/2 hours, then 130°C (265°F) for about 2 hours longer (this will depend on your oven, but mine was cooked exactly in the time suggested). Bake the 18cm cakes at 140C (280F) for 1 hour, then at 130C (265F) for about an hour longer. Bake mini cakes at 130C (265F) for about 1-1/2 hours. Once the top of the cake is browned sufficiently (may be anywhere between half way or two thirds of the way in), you can lightly place some foil over the top to prevent further browning.
  5. The cake is cooked when a skewer pushed to the base of the middle of the cake comes out clean. Upon removing the cake from the oven, and while it’s still hot, you can brush it with extra liqueur if you like. Remove cake/s from pan/s when cold.
  6. Decorate as you please, either with royal icing or simply with blanched almonds and/or glace cherries.
Many recipes call for adding further liquid (juice or alcohol) to cakes in the lead up to Christmas. You simply make numerous holes in the cake with a skewer (from top to bottom) and then every week 'feed' the cake by brushing on the liquid. However, this cake is so moist, there's really no need to do that. But, should you find, for whatever reason, that it's on the dry side, this would be the solution.
If storing, for best flavour and texture, wrap the cake/s in two layers of greaseproof paper, then two layers of foil (or you can use tea towels) and leave to stand in a cool place for a few weeks. If preferred, wrap the cake/s in plastic bags and refrigerate or freeze. Do not leave cake/s in sealed plastic bags at room temperature, since they may become mouldy if the temperature fluctuates.
Recipe by The Kiwi Cook at