Earl Grey Fruit Cake with Orange Icing

Earl Grey Fruit Cake with Orange Icing

An old family recipe from Karen Burn-Booth, jazzed up a little to make it suitable for a last minute Christmas cake. It's a low fat, easy to prepare bake, made with tea and flavoured with orange. It's really quite delicious.
Course Afternoon Tea
Cuisine British
Keywords cake, Christmas, dried fruit, Earl Grey, orange, tea
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Soaking Time 7 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 10 slices


  • 450 g mixed dried fruit with peel (I used 100g sultanas, 100g currants, 200g raisins, 50g mixed peel)
  • 175 g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 orange - zested & juiced
  • 150 g or 1 teacup of hot tea (I used Earl Grey)
  • 25 g butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 225 g self-raising flour (I used wholemeal)
  • 100 g icing sugar (optional)


  1. Place the mixed fruit, sugar, spice and orange zest into a mixing bowl. Pour over the hot tea, stir and cover with a plate. Leave to soak overnight or for up to 8 hours.
  2. When you're ready to bake the cake, grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin - I used a silicone bundt mould instead. Pre-heat the oven to 150℃/300℉/Gas mark 2.
  3. Melt the butter and add to the soaked fruit. Mix well, then beat in the egg. Sieve the flour and fold in a bit at a time to avoid lumps.
  4. Mix well, then spoon into the tin. Bake for 1 ½ hours until firm, risen and golden brown.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. If making the orange icing, sieve the icing sugar into a clean mixing bowl, then add just enough orange juice to make a very slightly runny icing. You can always add more icing sugar if it ends up too runny. Drizzle or spread the icing over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

Recipe Notes

Karen suggests spreading slices with butter, honey, jam or marmalade - that would be for the un-iced version. She says it's also delicious when eaten warm.

Always use hot tea, as this makes the fruit plump up more.