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Australian Fruit Cake - a family recipe

A family recipe for Australian fruit cake - a moist, fruity cake baked in a loaf tin. This cup-measured recipe can be enjoyed by those on a dairy-free or vegan diet with a few tweaks.

Australian Fruit Loaf.

Australian Fruit Cake - a family recipe

Get ready to enjoy the moist, fruity delight of my family recipe for fruit loaf.

My mum has a recipe book she filled from the late 1950s, through to the late 1970s.

It's a bit yellowed in places and has a few cooking stains, but it's full of so much inspiration.

There are handwritten recipes, notes, and recipe clippings torn from newspapers and magazines.

This recipe is handwritten and called Australian fruit loaf.

She can't remember where she got it from, but many of her family emigrated to Australia, so she thinks it may have been passed to her by a cousin.

I guess I'll never know, but if brings back lots of lovely childhood memories of watching her make this tasty fruit loaf to memories or spreading it with lashings of butter. 


What's different about this recipe?

Scales are traditionally used to measure ingredients when baking in the UK, but this recipe uses cups.

Not cup measures, but teacups.

The sort of cups that have their own saucer.

If you don't have one, you could pick one up in a charity shop.
Prefer to measure using cups measures or scales? 

Fanny Craddock, the chef and household name in the UK from the late 50s to the 70s said a British teacup is 5 ½  oz or 155g for flour, 7 ½ oz or 212g of caster sugar.

You can't argue with Fanny!

Boiled fruit cake

This simple Australian fruit loaf is also known as a boiled fruit cake.

It's known as a boiled cake because the butter, sultanas, sugar, spice, and some water are boiled in a pot.

Once the mixture is cool, the dry ingredients are added.

Your house will smell divine as it bakes.

Ingredients for Australian Fruit Loaf Cake

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this teacup-measured twist on a classic fruit cake.
  1. butter
  2. water
  3. sugar
  4. sultanas
  5. ground mixed spice
  6. ground cinnamon
  7. ground ginger
  8. bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  9. plain flour
  10. self-raising flour
  11. egg

A bowl of raisins.

Variations to Australian Fruit Cake

Here are a few tweaks you can make to this recipe.

  • Nutmeg - instead of mixed spice
  • Raisins - instead of sultanas
  • Cranberries - for a Christmas twist
  • Mixed dried fruit - instead of sultanas
  • Orange zest - for an extra fruity burst

Can you make Australian Fruit Loaf vegan?

It's super easy to make this fruit loaf cake suitable for a dairy-free or vegan diet.

Just use vegan butter and a flax egg instead of a regular egg.

Block vegan butter is better for this.

To make a flax egg, grind flax seeds (linseeds) and measure 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons water and pop it in the fridge for half an hour until it's gloopy.

You can use this in place of one regular egg.

How long will sultana fruit loaf last?

Not very long as it's so good!

But seriously, you can keep it wrapped in baking paper in a cake tin for up to a week.

There's no need to put it in the fridge.

If it does get a little dry later in the week, try toasting slices and serving with a slathering of butter.

Can you freeze fruit loaf cake?

Fruit loaf cake is best frozen in slices.

Simply wrap each slice in freezer-friendly baking paper, then pop them in a freezer bag or tub and freeze until you fancy some cake.

Defrost in the fridge.

Have you tried any of my other vegan loaf cakes? They are so good!

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sultana loaf cake spread with butter.

How to serve fruit loaf

This moist fruit loaf is good served just as it is, with a cup of coffee or tea.

However, it's absolutely lush served slathered with butter.

As I said before, it's also really good toasted and spread with butter, which melts into the cake. Mmmmm!

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Australian fruit cake recipe pin.

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Remember and say hi. I'm always happy to chat and answer questions.

fruit loaf, fruit cake, sultana cake, raisin cake, Australian fruit loaf, Australian fruit cake
Yield: 8 slices
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Australian Fruit Cake - a family recipe

Australian Fruit Cake - a family recipe

A family recipe for Australian fruit cake - a moist, fruity cake baked in a loaf tin. This cup-measured recipe can be enjoyed by those on a dairy-free or vegan diet with a few tweaks.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 1 H & 15 MTotal time: 1 H & 25 M


  • 125g (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter
  • 1 cup (teacup) water
  • 1 cup (teacup) sugar
  • 1 cup (teacup) sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (teacup) plain flour
  • 1 cup (teacup) self-raising flour
  • 1 egg (or flax egg - see notes), whisked
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. Line a 2 lb loaf tin and preheat the oven to 150c/130c fan/300f/Gas Mark 2.
  2. Add the butter, water, sultanas, sugar and spice to a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once cool add the flour, baking soda, salt and egg and mix well.
  5. Pour into the prepared loaf tin (I buy greaseproof inserts for mine) and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (ovens vary)
  6. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean, it is ready.
  7. Enjoy!


  • To make a flax egg - whizz or blend flax seeds (linseeds) into a powder. In a bowl add 1 tablespoon of ground flax and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix and pop in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to thicken.
  • Once cool, the cake can be wrapped in baking paper and stored in a cake tin for up to a week.
  • If the cake gets a bit drier towards the end of the week, toast it and slather it in butter.
  • To freeze, cut into slices, wrap in baking paper and freeze in a freezer bag or tun. Defrost slices in the fridge.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

13.8 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.32 g

Carbs (grams)

63.16 g

Fiber (grams)

1.73 g

Net carbs

61.45 g

Sugar (grams)

35.84 g

Protein (grams)

4.96 g

Sodium (milligrams)

254.69 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

54.05 mg


  1. I must post a recipe for a fruit cake given to me by a Scottish cook. His 'secret' was to boil the fruit to keep it moist.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. OOps! Read the recipe this time, you boil the fruit, too...

    Silly me

  3. Hi MissLionHeart, Nevermind, I would still like to see the recipe. Hope you have a good weekend too!

  4. Dear holler. Delish! I just love fruit (and fruit and nut) loaf. My mum used to buy (well, she probably still does) a delicious one from the farmer's markets in Brisbane, Australia where she lives. She also makes a really nice one. Oh I'm blathering. But out of interest, I wonder why your mum called the recipe Australian fruit loaf? Oh and I'm terribly guilty of writing in cookbooks, but I usually do it in pencil!

  5. Cor, that looks fantastic. My mum has a recipe that's very similar and I always associate the wonderful smell of it cooking with spending time in the kitchen with her as a kid. Comfort food par excellence.

  6. You don't know how lucky you are. My Mum's not much of a baker. Cherish these recipes.

  7. Now all you have to do is to ferret out the secret ingredients that she doesn't write down. ;)

  8. Love the sounds of your mom's fruit cake. I love raisins in many different ways. You will have to pass this recipe down from generation to generation!

  9. Very glad you enjoyed the membrillo. Haven't tried it with stilton yet. Must do so!
    And a lovely picture of what I know is a very tasty cake. Spicy and not too sweet. Yum.

  10. This really sounds comforting, especially with the butter! I love the pretty plate you served it on. Ya know, my mom was the same with writing down recipes. I have her collection of magazine clips, newspaper articles and her cigar box full of recipes on pieces of scrap paper. My grandmother did the same thing. I cherish all of these pieces of paper! They did not have very many cookbooks, just the scraps of paper. But I made up for that with my collection of books. But like you I cannot write in them!

  11. It has been a while since I have had a fruit loaf/cake. This one sounds tasty.

  12. Holler, congrats on coming in 2nd at this month's Joust! Cool!

  13. Hi Little Miss Moi, My mum does actually have cousins in Australia, but I think she got this one from a magazine.

    It is such a great smell, isn't it Jen?

    Hi Lynn, I will definitely keep hold of this recipe as it is foolproof. It has never failed me yet!

    Hi David, I shall have to quiz her to see if she has secret ingredients!

    Hi Val, It is certainly a keeper!

    Hey Wendy, The membrillo paste was good. A really interesting flavour, not too sweet, but it had a depth to the flavour! A tang I suppose, a bit like fruit peel!

    That must be a great collection to look through Deb. It must hold a lot of memories!

    It is very fine indeed Kevin!

    Hi Deb, I am very proud of my 2nd place in this month's food joust! I'll just have to try harder the next time! Stiff competiotn though!

  14. I love recipes that have been passed down - they always work so well

  15. I've a weakness for a fruit loaf...this will be added to my "to do" list!

    Hope the 3R cake gives you as much pleasure as it did me

  16. Hi Carolyn, This is definitely my favourite recipe from my mum!

    Hey C.C., That cake looks amazing, I will definitely try it! I wonder if Lakeland do greaseproof liners for square tins?

  17. Hey could you tell me how much 1/2 block of butter would be?? The Indian quantity may vary....th4, the question

  18. Hi, Sorry to take so long to reply Sheila. 1/2 block is 125g of butter.

  19. well its 2010 and I have just made your loaf in New Zealand. (with the extra addition of glaced cherries) Smells good. Hopefully tastes good too. Its cracked on top but I think thats pretty normal for a loaf.

  20. Really nice but very crumbles big time when I cut it. Not sure why that is.

  21. Hi Vanessa, glad you enjoyed it. It has a tendency to crumble if you cut it while it is still warm, but cuts beautifully after that :)

  22. Also, do you really only use one cup of sultanas? I used one cup and your loaf looks like its diffinietly full of more?

  23. Hi Jacqueline,this cake is just lovely. As happens with fruit cake, it is even better after a couple of days.Once again thanks for sharing x.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x