Birthday fruit cake

This cake is 2½”/6½cm deep when cooked and 3”/8cm deep when iced.


For decoration

8”/20cm x 4″/10cm tin


  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/285°F/Gas mark 1.
  2. Line the cake tin with well greased baking paper.
  3. Place 1lb/450g mixture of dried fruit into a large bowl and cover with boiling hot water for ten minutes, then drain.
  4. While you wait for the fruit to soak, beat the butter until it’s soft, with an electric whisk. Now beat in the sugar. The beating incorporates air into the sponge which makes it light, this is an important part of the process.
  5. Whisk the eggs and then weigh out 5oz/140g of the eggs. Add the whisked egg to the butter and sugar a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Sift the flour on top of the butter mixture, then add the spices and salt. Using a metal spoon stir in the flour.
  7. Now add in the nuts, cherries, peel, dried fruit, treacle and zest and stir to combine.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin.  Using the back of a teaspoon make a 6″/15cm x 1″/2½cm channel down the middle of the cake.  This stops the cake raising too much in the middle.
  9. Put into the oven for 3 – 3¼ hours.The cake is done when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for ten minutes until a little cool and then remove from the tin and cool on a cooling rack.

To decorate the cake

  1. Once the cake is completely cool, cut it into a rocket shape.
  2. Warm the jam and using a pastry brush cover the cake in the jam. This helps the marzipan to stick.
  3. Roll out the marzipan and cover the cake with it.
  4. Mix some black and blue icing to make the sky and cover the plate or cake stand you are using.
  5. Mix some white and black icing to make the moon and moon craters and add to the cake stand.
  6. Roll the white icing out and cover the marzipan. Roll the blue and red icing out and cover the top and bottom of the rocket.
  7. Roll out the yellow icing and cut out a number one and stars, position on top of the cake and scene.
  8. Lastly using the writing icing add a name.


For a different cake, replace the glacé cherries and peel with chopped crystallised ginger.