The 50th Anniversary Issue

Our 50th birthday issue is on sale now. We're celebrating five decades of great food and travel with our biggest issue yet.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 27th November, 2016 and receive a Villeroy & Boch platter!

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

Ma Harvey’s Christmas cake

You'll need

500 gm (3 cups) sultanas 500 gm (3 1/3 cups) raisins 250 gm currants 250 gm finely chopped candied orange 180 ml (¾ cup) brandy or rum 200 gm (1¼ cups) blanched almonds 450 gm butter 450 gm brown sugar 9 eggs, lightly beaten 450 gm (3 cups) plain flour ½ tsp baking powder


  • 01
  • Combine dried fruit, candied orange and brandy or rum in a large bowl, cover and macerate overnight or longer if desired.
  • 02
  • Finely chop 150gm almonds, reserving remaining almonds to decorate. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, add eggs a little at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in fruit and chopped almonds, then add flour and baking powder and stir until well combined.
  • 03
  • Line the base of a 23cm square cake pan with a double layer of brown paper and sides with 4 layers of brown paper, grease top layer of paper. Cut another piece for the top, lightly grease, snip a few holes in it and set aside.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 130C. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth top and decorate with reserved almonds.
  • 05
  • Cover with prepared brown paper and bake on lowest oven shelf for 5 hours. Turn heat off and cool cake overnight in oven.

The Christmas cake
Having eaten more than our fair share of Christmas cake in the Gourmet Traveller office, we’ve made a little adjustment to the traditional recipe, substituting candied orange for the usual mixed peel. You should be able to pick some up at a good delicatessen, or you could just as readily use freshly grated orange rind. The use of fruit cake for celebrations such as weddings, Christmas and christenings dates back to the early 18th century when dried fruit was highly prized. A rich cake containing lots of fruit was a sign of the household’s wealth. You have to appreciate, too, that in times past, making a fruit cake was no easy undertaking. The fruit needed to be washed, dried and stoned, the sugar cut from loaves, pounded and sieved. The eggs beaten for around half an hour by hand and the butter washed in water and rinsed in rosewater. The cakes were often covered in marzipan and elaborately decorated. Perhaps this is why they were reserved for special occasions. It can be made up to six months ahead.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 people

You might also like...

Adriano Zumbo's Christmas recipes


Christmas pudding ice-cream

Holiday entertaining recipes


Raspberry and Mint Mojito

David Thompson's Thai recipes


Neil Perry: Prawn cocktail

Strawberry recipes


Serge Dansereau: Blueberry vanilla tart

Longrain recipes


Barbecue trout bundles with prosciutto and button mushrooms

Barbecue recipes


Serge Dansereau: Homemade lemonade

Fast spring recipes


Serge Danserau: Duck confit and potato terrine

Chorizo recipes


conversion tool

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.