Extra Virgin Olive Oil Christmas Cake

Olive oil in fruit cake isn’t traditional but makes for a lovely change from the standard butter when used in a traditional boiled fruit cake recipe. It’s lighter and “brighter” (thanks to the herbaceous flavours in olive oil) and has an incredible tenderness and moistness that lifts a “plain old fruit cake” to a new level of deliciousness.

Use village press Barnea Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this recipe – it’s well worth it for the extra layer of deliciousness it adds to the cake.


Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
Total Time: 2 ½ hours
Makes one 23 x 23 cm cake


  • 1 ½ cups dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped mixed peel
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup brandy or dark rum
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup blackstrap molasses
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped glacé cherries (optional)
  • Zest 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Zest 1 orange, finely grated
  • 1 cup chopped toasted nuts e.g. walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brasil nuts
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond essence (optional)
  • 3 ½ cups plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Blanched almonds to decorate
  • Additional ¼ – ⅓ cup brandy or dark rum to finish


  1. Place dried fruit, mixed peel, orange juice, water and brandy or rum in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and molasses until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Stir in olive oil, glacé cherries, zests and nuts and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 170 °C. Grease a 23 x 23 cm cake tin and line with baking paper ensuring the paper comes 5 cm up over the edge of the tin )this helps prevent the top of the cake from overbrowning).
  5. Place cooled fruit in a large bowl and add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract and almond essence then fold in flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared tin and level out. Gently press blanched almonds into the top in a decorative pattern.
  7. Bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs. Watch carefully after the 1 hour mark to make sure the top isn’t over browning and cover loosely with a piece of tin foil if it is.
  8. Once cake is cooked, drizzle brandy or rum evenly all over – it will sizzle and soak in.
  9. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.