Boiled Fruit Cake (Whole grain) | Simple Christmas Cake

Boiled Fruit Cake is studded with dry fruits and has a wonderfully moist crumb. It tastes better with age as the flavours develop fully with time.

There was a birthday in the family last week. Birthdays give a perfect reason to be indulgent, to experiment and to be a little liberal with ingredients that otherwise weigh you down with guilt. A cake had to be baked no doubt. A whole lot of cake recipes floated in my mind and I could literally see a slide show of birthday cakes with lovely frostings dripping and trickling down the cake. Play of imaginations was paused when the much-anticipated request for a healthy cake came through…….quite earnestly. It is birthday boy’s absolute prerogative to decide on his day and the request had to be heeded. A lot of recipes were reviewed; the only cake that fitted the “healthy” bracket was a Boiled Fruit Cake.
This is one of our favourite cake recipes for Christmas.

It is called the Boiled fruitcake because dry fruits, butter, sugar, and spices are actually boiled. This mixture is allowed to cool and then the flour is added.

The cake is studded with dry fruits and has a wonderfully moist crumb. It tastes better with age as the flavours develop fully with time.

Whole Wheat Flour Boiled Fruit Cake

Adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly

To make the cake “healthy” I made some changes in the original recipe. I swiped All-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. I   used ½ cup muscovado sugar. The cake had a dense crumb initially. After two days, the cake became really soft and moist. On the third day, it was a slice of heaven!

But if you prefer a lighter crumb, use 2 cups of all-purpose flour or  1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour.  If you do not have muscovado sugar or brown sugar, normal sugar will do. Add more candied peels for a richer flavour.


  • 1 3/4  cup whole wheat flour 
  • 2 ¾ cups dried fruits (golden raisins, black grapes, black currants, dried figs)
  • ½ cup unrefined  sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado sugar [or 1 cup brown sugar]
  • ½ cup (I stick) butter
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 free-range egg 
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (4-5 cloves, 2 medium size cinnamon sticks, a small piece of nutmeg, 3-4 green cardamom)
  • ½ cup sweet sherry/brandy/ orange juice(I used homemade beetroot wine)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Combine dry fruits, sugar, butter, spices, water and baking soda in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat till sugar dissolves and butter melts. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sherry/brandy/orange juice. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line the base and sides of one 8 inch round cake tin with parchment paper.
  3. Stir egg into the mixture. Mix well. Add flours, baking powder and salt. 
  4. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin. Decorate with blanched almonds. Bake for 1 ½ hour. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. The toothpick should come out clean.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven. Remove from the tin. Remove parchment paper linings. Brush the top of the hot cake with sherry. Cool in the rack. Wrap the cake in a foil and slice next day (or after two days).
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  1. Love the idea of making boiled cake...following you...Visit my space too...

  2. Splendid is all I can say. I am amazed at your healthy creations. The cake looks such a winner and the birthday boy/girl must be so pleased. (P.S. I have started adding whole wheat to my bakes too inspired by you)

  3. Happy birthday to the birthday boy! He must have been one happy guy to have been treated to such a yummy looking birthday cake! :) pretty decoration on top!

  4. I wonder if this would work with an egg sub and coconut oil? My mum used to make wonderful boiled fruit cakes and I would love to bake them as well. They seem to last a lot longer than other cakes as well (if they aren't gobbled up immediately that is ;) ) I have some spare fruit left over from making hot cross buns this year so I might just give this cake a go and see if I can't veganise it :)

  5. When is the water added?

    1. Hello, add water while boiling fruits.

  6. Can I use a loaf pan for this cake ?

    1. Yes, you may. The loaf pan should be big enough so that the batter gets enough space to expand and cook.

  7. Is the 1 cup brown sugar a replacement to muscavado and unrefined sugar ? Or is 1 cup a replacement for 1/2 cup of muscavado sugar itself ?

    1. Either use 1/2 cup unrefined sugar and 1/2 cup muscovado sugar or, just 1 cup brown sugar. Happy Baking!

  8. Do we need to cover the cake while baking since it’s to be baked for a long time?

  9. Please could you share the cup to gms measurements