How to Make Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake

Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 2 Hr Total Time: 2 Hr 20 Mins

Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake is a moist, rich cake packed with dried fruits and spices. If you love traditional fruit cakes, you will adore this recipe from the celebrated British baker. The cake gets its name from the fact that the dried fruits are boiled before being added to the batter. This softens the fruits and intensifies their flavor.

Follow my detailed instructions below to make this classic cake at home.

What is Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake?

Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake is an old-fashioned treat made by simmering dried fruits like raisins, currants, prunes, and apricots in water, brown sugar, and spices. This releases the fruits’ flavors and creates a luscious syrup. The fruited syrup is then mixed into a rich butter cake batter along with eggs, flour, baking powder, chopped almonds, and more spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. The cake bakes up moist and full of fruit flavors.

Other Marry Berry Baking Recipes

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here’s why you should definitely try making Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake:

  • Flavorful Fruits: The boiled fruits become incredibly tender and rich in flavor, providing a delightful contrast in the cake.
  • Moist Texture: The method of boiling ensures the cake remains moist and dense.
  • Aromatic Experience: Baking this cake fills your home with a comforting aroma of spices.
  • Longevity: Properly stored, the cake keeps well, extending your enjoyment over time.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake

  • 397g Can of Condensed Milk: It adds sweetness and a creamy texture to the cake.
  • 150g Butter: It contributes to the richness and flavor of the cake.
  • 225g Raisins and 225g Sultanas: They add a chewy texture and natural sweetness.
  • 175g Currants: They provide a tangy flavor and chewy texture.
  • 175g Roughly Chopped Glacier Cherries: They add a sweet and tart flavor.
  • 225g Self-Raising Flour: It forms the base of the cake and helps it to rise.
  • 2tsp Ground Mixed Spice: It adds warmth and a blend of aromatic flavors.
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon: It provides a sweet and woody flavor.
  • 2 Large Eggs: They add structure and moisture to the cake.

Recommended Equipment

You will need the following equipment to make this cake:

  • A large saucepan
  • A wooden spoon
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A whisk or a fork
  • A sieve
  • A spatula
  • A 20 cm round cake tin
  • Baking parchment
  • A skewer

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake

Follow these instructions to make Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake:

Step 1: Getting Your Kitchen Ready

  • Preheat the Oven:
    Set your oven to preheat to 150°C (300°F) for conventional ovens or 130°C (266°F) for fan ovens. If you’re using a gas oven, set it to gas mark 2.
  • Prepare the Cake Tin:
    Grease an 18cm round cake tin and line it meticulously with baking parchment to ensure easy removal of the cake post-baking.

Step 2: Simmering the Fruits

  • Combining Main Ingredients:
    In a large, heavy-based pan, pour a 397g can of condensed milk and add 150g of butter along with 225g each of raisins, sultanas, roughly chopped glacier cherries, and 175g of currants.
  • Melting and Simmering:
    Gently heat the mixture, ensuring continuous stirring until the butter has completely melted. Allow the fruit mixture to simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the fruits feel softened, stirring continuously.
  • Cooling the Mixture:
    After simmering, remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Crafting the Batter

  • Preparing the Dry Ingredients:
    In a separate large mixing bowl, sift 225g of self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice, and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix them together to create a well in the center of the bowl.
  • Integrating the Eggs and Fruits:
    Break 2 large eggs into the well and pour in the cooled fruit mixture. Combine all ingredients meticulously using a wooden spoon until well integrated.
  • Filling the Cake Tin:
    Turn the final batter into your prepared cake tin, ensuring it’s evenly spread.

Step 4: Baking to Golden Perfection

  • Baking the Cake:
    Place the filled cake tin in your preheated oven and bake for approximately 1¾ – 2 hours. The cake should rise well and attain a rich golden brown hue.
  • Testing the Cake:
    To ensure the cake is baked completely, insert a skewer into the middle; it should come out clean if the cake is properly cooked.
  • Cooling and Serving:
    After removing it from the oven, allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing the parchment paper and transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

How Do I Serve Mary Berry’s Boiled Fruit Cake?

Mary Berry’s fruit cake is delicious on its own, but also lovely served with:

  • Whipped cream – Add a dollop on the side or use to top each slice
  • Vanilla ice cream – The cold creaminess pairs perfectly with the spiced cake
  • Brandy butter – Spread some on top for an indulgent treat
  • Tea or coffee – Enjoy a slice with an afternoon cuppa or after-dinner coffee
  • Cheese – Try tangy cheddar, creamy brie, or bold blue cheese with the fruit cake

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake?

  • Creamy Toppings: A dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream complements the cake’s rich flavors.
  • Cheese Pairings: For a savory contrast, serve with tangy cheddar or creamy brie.
  • Warm Beverages: Perfect alongside a cup of tea or coffee, enhancing the cake’s cozy spices.
  • Holiday Beverages: Pair with mulled wine or cider for a festive treat.
  • Fruit and Nuts: Fresh apple slices or a selection of mixed nuts add texture and freshness.

Pro Tips to Make the Perfect Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake

  • Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality, moist dried fruits for the best texture and flavor.
  • Avoid Overbaking: Keep an eye on the cake and test for doneness towards the end of baking time to prevent drying out.
  • Cool Fruits Properly: Ensure the boiled fruit mixture is cooled to the right temperature before adding to the batter to maintain the right consistency.
  • Gentle Mixing: Fold the batter gently to keep the cake light and airy.
  • Storage: Wrap the cooled cake tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container to preserve its moisture and flavor.

Variations of Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake

Exploring variations of Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake allows for creativity and personalization in your baking. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Tropical Twist: Incorporate dried tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and papaya for a vibrant flavor profile.
  • Nutty Addition: Add a mix of chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds for extra crunch and nuttiness.
  • Chocolate Chips: Stir in dark or milk chocolate chips for a sweet, chocolaty surprise within the cake.
  • Citrus Infusion: Add the zest of an orange or a lemon to the boiled fruit mixture for a refreshing citrus note.
  • Alcohol Soaked: For an adult version, soak the boiled fruits in rum or brandy before adding them to the batter, enhancing the cake’s richness and depth.

How to Store Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake Leftovers

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and flavor of Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake leftovers. Here’s how to do it:

Room Temperature Storage

  • Cool Completely: Ensure the cake is completely cool before storing to prevent condensation.
  • Wrap Tightly: Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to protect it from air and moisture.
  • Airtight Container: Place the wrapped cake in an airtight container to further seal in freshness.
  • Duration: Stored this way, the cake can last up to a week.


  • Cool and Wrap: After cooling, wrap the cake as directed above.
  • Refrigerate: Store the wrapped cake in the refrigerator if your home is warm or humid.
  • Duration: In the fridge, the cake can last up to two weeks.

Freezing for Long-Term Storage

  • Wrap in Layers: First wrap the cake in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil.
  • Freezer-Safe Container: For added protection, place the wrapped cake in a freezer-safe container.
  • Label and Date: Mark the container with the date to keep track of how long the cake has been stored.
  • Duration: Frozen cake can last for up to three months.

How to Reheat Mary Berry Boiled Fruit Cake Leftovers

Reheating boiled fruit cake can restore its warmth and enhance its flavors, making it almost as good as when it was freshly baked.

  • Room Temperature: Allow the cake to sit out until it reaches room temperature for a naturally softer texture.
  • Oven Method: Wrap the cake in aluminum foil and warm it in a preheated oven at 300°F (150°C) for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Microwave: For a quick option, place a slice of cake on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat on low power for 30 seconds to 1 minute, checking frequently to prevent overheating.

Nutrition Information

Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake is high in fiber, antioxidants, and various vitamins and minerals.

Some of the main nutrients in a 1-slice serving include:

  • Calories: 250
  • Total fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 7g
  • Sodium: 85mg
  • Total carbs: 36g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 28g
  • Protein: 3g

The dried fruits provide fiber, potassium, and antioxidants like vitamins A and C. The nuts add healthy fats and vitamin E. Overall, it’s a nutrient-dense dessert when enjoyed in moderation.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Boiled Fruit Cake:

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

Yes! Boiled fruit cakes are perfect for making 1 to 2 weeks before an event or holiday. Just be sure to store it properly wrapped and in an airtight container.

Can I use different dried fruits?

Absolutely. You can customize the fruit mix, using any combination of raisins, currants, cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, dates, etc.

Is brandy or rum required?

No, the cake will be moist without any spirits. But you can brush some brandy or rum on top after baking for extra flavor if you’d like.

What type of pan should I use?

A round 9-inch cake pan works well. You can also use a 9-inch springform pan for easy removal. Avoid pandemics that have sharp edges that may brown the sides too much.

Can I ice the cake?

I recommend enjoying Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake plain, but you can add icing if desired. A light glaze or drizzle would work better than heavy buttercream.

Final Thoughts

Mary Berry’s boiled fruit cake is a timeless, flavorful recipe perfect for the holidays or any time you want an old-fashioned cake. Boiling the dried fruits beforehand really takes this cake’s flavors to the next level. Proper storage will keep it fresh for weeks, making this a great make-ahead dessert. For fruit cake lovers, this is sure to become your new favorite recipe. Enjoy!

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